Wondering what’s going on with Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

cruel beauty

*All reviews I write are spoiler free*

Now with this book, you’d think it’d be proof that I’m catching up on the books I got for Christmas. But I can assure you, I’m not even close yet. I have wayyyyy too many books to catch up on over the past few months.

But at least this is a step in the right direction!

I didn’t actually expect to pick this one up anytime soon, but I’m in a weird book mood. I don’t feel like reading anything, but I still want to read. I’m just finding it really difficult to choose books, because I’m not in the mood for anything. I wouldn’t call it a reading slump, but it’s as close to an explanation I’ll get. But anyway, this caught my eye for the longest while choosing, so this one I have to review today.

So let’s talk about Cruel Beauty!

*sorry for the poor quality photo. It was taken late at night rather than in one of my usual photoshoots.*

Cruel Beauty

Title: Cruel Beauty

Author: Rosamund Hodge

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Series Status: The 1st book in the Cruel Beauty Universe (though books aren’t related)

Number of Pages: ย 342


(Found on back cover. View different synopsis on Goodreads)

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 to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, Disarm him, and break the centuries 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 tries to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. But even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, could she refuse her duty to kill him?

Based on the classic fairytale Beauty and the Beast.


A fairytale retelling and Greek mythology combined in one book?

Of course I was interested! They’re two of my favourite book topics!

While neither of these are the main stand-out topic of the book, they’re both definitely there. You can see the Greek mythology woven into the history of the story. You can see how the plot is inspired by Beauty and the beast. You can see how these elements have been woven together into their own story. It was actually quite fascinating to see how Rosamund Hodge managed to combine it all together.

So this book focuses a lot on a battle of emotions. Every character seems to be in debate with themselves in one way or another. Seeing the thought process of our main character – Nyx – added real feelings to the story, as you can almost see the war going on behind her eyes, just from reading the words.

And while I don’t see much of myself in Nyx, it helped me understand her place in the story. She was a different character than you usually see in the Young Adult genre. Sure, she’s sarcastic, witty, paranoid. But she also acknowledges that she has a darker side to her, embraces it even, when usually you see characters trying to fight it. But while I found Nyx (and possibly Ignifex) to be an interesting character, I didn’t care much for the rest.

One thing that did bother me through the book was that there seemed to be a lot of “info-dumping”. Everything would suddenly be explained at once, causing huge paragraphs that just caused mild confusion throughout the book. And though I understood what was happening, I could always wrap my head around why. To be fair, this could be because of my weird reading-slump-ish mood, but it didn’t seem that way. I mean, there was quite a few times I really got into the book and couldn’t leave it. But I did spend the majority of the book at least a little bit confused.

There was a lot going on, with this plot becoming this huge puzzle that gradually became more complicated. It became a story, within a story…within a story. And I think that’s what makes it confusing.

While the relationship didn’t have much of a build up, I was open minded about it, with it being a fairytale retelling. I could guess pretty well how that would turn out. Though I didn’t expect the plot to go the way it did. That did surprise me. Plus the magical element in this story really intrigued me, so this helped support the plot throughout.

I admire Rosamund Hodge for attempting the mix between fairytales and greek mythology, I really do. And even though I did have a few issues with the story, it was quite an enjoyable book.

Rated 3/5 stars

3 stars

Order from Amazon!

Share your thoughts!

Have you read this book? What did you think?

What other fairytale retellings would you recommend?

If you haven’t read this book, is it on your TBR?

Let me know in the comments!

Until next time…



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10 thoughts on “Wondering what’s going on with Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

  1. I read this one a while ago. And I think I gave it 4 stars at the moment, but the thruth is I don’t even remember it anymore. I remember enjoy in ng the story, but maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention (the audiobook narrator was really god tho) and reading reviews about it now makes want to revisit the book.

    Great review. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, yes, yes! I have yet to read “Cruel Beauty” but I have read Hodge’s other book “Crimson Bound” and the issues I had with that book are basically the same ones you had with this one. The info-dumping and the gradually confusing plot, you nailed it when you said that the “what” was explained but the “why” really wasn’t. That’s exactly how I felt with “Crimson Bound”! I had issues with it but overall enjoyed it, I even gave it the same rating as you gave this one. Awesome, awesome review Ashleigh. I’m super happy I’m not the only one with these feelings on Hodge’s books, since a lot of other people gave them 4-5 stars. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I’m in a bit of a debate whether to read Crimson Bound, because of the reasons mentioned. At the moment I don’t think I will, especially now I know the same problems are in that book too. But maybe I’ll feel like it one day. I’m glad you could relate though. And glad it’s not just me that find her writing confusing haha! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m having the same problem with whether I want to read “Cruel Beauty” haha. I’ll probably do the same thing as you, put it aside for now since I’m pretty positive I’ll feel the same way about it as I did with “Crimson Bound” but I still think it’s worth a shot. And nope it’s definitely not just you, I was wondering what was going on throughout reading! ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. There are many things I don’t like in books and one of them is info-dumping. It just feels like such a lazy way to get information across the the reader and it can be rather dull. This book was never really on my radar in the first place, so I think I’m just going to pass it.
    Good review though!

    Liked by 1 person

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