Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge – 2016 Abraham Lincoln Nominee [Book Review]

Cue Celine Dion…

“Tale as old as time…

Song as old as rhyme…

Beauty and the beast…”

Did that bring back memories of your favorite Disney movie? Of a beautiful ball gown sweeping across the floor? Of a beautiful story of love and magic?

Don’t expect that from this retelling.

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There are many reviews of Cruel Beauty out there. I’m late to the party, so sue me, but I have to get this out. I am NOT the only one that did not enjoy this book. That made me a feel a bit better. Though I feel a lot of people “liked” it because they felt like they were supposed to. It’s almost expected when something gets this much hype. I kept reading in hopes that I would eventually like it. Instead, I gave up. My time is worth more than finishing this book.

Harsh? No. My hopes were raised ridiculously and then dashed upon the rocks. The beginning was intriguing and beautiful. The description was wonderful and I could imagine this dazzling world perfectly. Girl refusing to be a sacrifice for her father’s mistakes? Awesome. Yay girl power! Girl admitting she has a dark heart and not asking everyone to feel sorry for her? Check! Pretty, pretty dresses? YAASS! Nyx sounds awesome!

Then we meet Ignifex (a.k.a. The Beast) and everything just goes downhill. He is supposed to be scary. He’s not scary, he’s a creeper. And hot? What? No. That’s not how this story works. Then he has his shadow enslaved to him. Said shadow can become corporeal and only talk at night? That might be interesting…

Except…

HOLY INSTA-LOVE TRIANGLE.

Nyx can not make up her ever loving mind. For the life of her. “I love him, but he’s mean.” “No, I love him more. Oh no, he’s bad.” Just. Stop.

It devolved from retelling into a horrid love triangle. Wretched. If that wasn’t enough, the combination of Greek mythology that did not fit with the setting was very confusing. It was almost like an extra add on at the end. There were too many ideas and not enough story. Nothing blended together well. I found myself struggling to turn the pages and hating that I was spending my time reading this. I honestly don’t care what happened at the end, if I stumble upon it one day, then I do, but I won’t go seeking it out.
Maybe I’ll give another one of her novels a chance, but I have plenty of other retellings on my list to get to!

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