Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge 

I bought this book a couple of months ago and it is the penultimate book on my July TBR pile  (yay!). I thought the cover was very pretty and the premise seemed quite interesting.
From the blurb:

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom all because of a reckless bargain her father struck. And since birth, she has been training to kill him.

Betrayed by her family yet bound to obey, Nyx rails against her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, she abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, disarm him, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle a shifting maze of magical rooms enthralls her. As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. But even if she can bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him?

This is a really interesting take on Beauty and the Beast. The story takes place on an island called Arcadia, which was part of the Roman Grecian empire. 900 years ago a curse was placed on the island, cutting Arcadia off from the rest of the world, and ending the line of Kings who had ruled over the land peacefully for centuries.

The Gentle Lord, Ignifex, is believed to have placed the curse. He is an imortal demon prince who makes bargains which grant people’s wishes, but ultimately end up killing them or causing harm. 

Nyx’s father made such a bargain eighteen years ago; his wife was unable to have children and she desperately wanted to provide her husband with a son and heir. Ignifex said a son was out of the question, but his wife would have twin daughters by the end of the year. The price would be that one of these daughters must marry Ignifex on her 17th birthday. 

Nyx has been preparing for her marriage all her life; she must get the Gentle Lord to trust her, and then kill him, ending the curse  on Arcadia. 

When Nyx finally meets her husband he is not what she expected, and she finds herself drawn to him. Will she be able to keep her promise to her family, and betray her husband?

I liked the twist on the classic Beauty and the Beast story, and the Grecian/Roman elements. I also loved the fact that the main character Nyx was quite bitter about her circumstances.  Nyx’s twin Astraia is loved and coddled by their father; the price of his bargain is paid by Nyx alone, and she resents her sister.  

I found the character names quite difficult to deal with. For the most part these were Grecian in origin, but I’ve no idea where Ignifex came from or how to pronounce it. I was talking to my husband about it, and he said it sounded like some sort of medicinal ointment. Flaky scalp? Try Ignifex.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments; have you read this book? What did you think about the character names?

Cheerio!

Stephani Xxx 

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4 thoughts on “Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge 

  1. I read this a couple months ago and actually really liked it! It surprised me. The names didn’t bother me that much and I think they gave the story a nice touch. But could I pronounce them all out loud? Probably not hahaha.

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