Hey Guys! So I just finished Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge and wanted to post a review as soon as I could. This book is a Beauty and the Beast retelling and I gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars. **There are spoilers ahead**
This book gives a very unique twist to the Beauty and the Beast story. There is no talking furniture but the castle itself is ‘alive’ and changes a lot. There is also a lot more magic and a more complex ‘curse’ which surrounds this story. There is a Rumpelstiltskin aspect to this story because the main character, Nyx, has to guess Ignifex’s real name.
I loved the main character, Nyx and really enjoyed how we felt her confusion as she tried to break the curse and avenge her mother. We also follow her experience as she falls in loves and tries to fight her emotions. I also liked Ignifex and was glad that we got more of a backstory to his character.
I hated Nyx’s sister, Astraia. At the start of the story she is portrayed as an overly happy and naive character. Then towards the end we learn that she is fake smiling and being happy for the sake of her family. I understand that she is sad and angry about her mother’s death but she does not even try to understand her sister’s feelings and plans. Also at the start, Nyx has to marry Ignifex because of the bargain her father made and her sister is spared. Then at the end Nyx goes to marry the scarecrow as offering to the god in place of her sister so Astraia can go get married to someone she wants to.
I also did not really like the character, Shade. I feel like my dislike for him is mainly because I am very confused between him and Ignifex and their relationship and how they connect. I felt like he had mixed motives (which is later explained in the story) and that Shade was very manipulative.
The end seemed rushed and it made it very confusing especially when the ‘curse’ is broken. I feel like the book should be a little longer to allow more plot development and so the end is not so rushed. However, I did enjoy the last few pages and how it ended.
So when the curse broke, it made Shade and Ignifex split in half and then join together. This was very confusing because this new person which is made up of half Ignifex and half Shade is the prince (I think). Also, at the end, Nyx ends up with the prince and breaks another curse/bargain. Once again I am unsure who the prince actually is.
Another annoying/confusing thing in the book was that Nyx was in love with Ignifex all throughout the story but when she goes to break the curse she kisses Shade and is in love with him. Then at the very end when she runs away to the castle and meets the prince she is in love with him (who I think is half Shade and half Ignifex).
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