Reading, Writing & Other Addictions

Facing Reality Through Fiction

Book Review: Cruel Beauty, by Rosamund Hodge

on 06/21/2016

If you, like me, enjoy retellings of classic fairy tales, especially if they are clever, like Merissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series, then you will love Cruel Beauty, by Rosamund Hodge.  This book explores how no heart is pure, and there is a little bit of a beast in all of us.

Nyx has always been told that she must marry the Demon Lord who makes his home in the tower ruins.  Her father bargained her life away before she was even born in order to make his wife happy.  His wife had desperately wanted children, so he made a deal with the Demon Lord. If the Demon Lord would grant them children, then one of their daughters would be given back to the Demon Lord as his wife. So, Nyx was chosen to be his bride. She was also chosen to destroy him and save her country of Arcadia from the Demon Lord’s evil bargains and demon horde. Resentful of her fate, and jealous of her sister’s blessed life, Nyx meets her fate with anger and intelligence, acknowledging that her attitude and hatred toward those who failed to save her, failed to love her, make her a suitable bride for a monster.  But her attitude seems to amuse her husband, as does the attempts on his life, and slowly, this woman who has never been shown love but has always been treated like a sacrifice, discovers what it is like to be loved and have another sacrifice for her.

Still, her mission remains: she must destroy the Demon Lord and save Arcadia.  But how can she save Arcadia after she sees the evil in their selfish hearts as they so willingly make their bargains, knowing what they will have to pay for it?  And how can she destroy the Demon Lord after she sees how much he has done to try to save her people, after she sees how much he is willing to do to save her?

Throw in a house that changes every time you turn around, much like the staircases at Hogwarts, though much more dangerous, and a servant called Shade, who isn’t much more than a shadow (literally), and you have an intriguing book that was firing my imagination long after I finished it.  (I even woke up this morning and reread the ending, after having finished it at 2a.m.)

I would suggest this book to anyone who enjoys a good fairy tale, or even just a good story.

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