Saturday, September 10, 2016

Book Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

What it's about:

         Nyx's world is ruled by a bargain-making trickster demon known as the Gentle Lord.  Before she was born, her father made a bargain and was fooled into giving up one of his daughters on her 17th birthday--to become the Gentle Lord's bride.  He chose Nyx and has been raising her to defeat the demon ruler and get revenge for the death of her mother.  However, once she gets inside her bridegroom's mysterious residence, things start to change, and Nyx has to figure out how to end the ruler's hold on the land while also reconciling her growing feelings towards him.

What I thought:

         First off, I'd like to say, Hi, my name is Emma, and I'm a sucker for mythology, fairytales, retellings, and lore. 

This book had all of that, which is why I think I liked it so much. I literally read it within 24 hours.

It's sort of a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but it brought in elements of Greek mythology like Pandora's Box, mentioned the Kindly Ones (another folklore name for fairy/fae/fair folk), and I'm pretty sure it referenced both the poem Tam Lin AND one of my favorite creepy fairy tales, Bluebeard.

The worldbuilding in this story is really cool. I liked that they incorporated that into the history and ended up explaining how and what and why the world was the way it ended up. I adored Ignifex's tower and all the exploring and discovering that Nyx did. I would *love* to go exploring in this house (sans demon-blob, of course).

I was a little more iffy about the characters. At first, Nyx was a little too obsessed with how coddled her twin sister was. Like..we get it, your dad's a jerk and you're mad about it. Move on. She does eventually move on and gets a little better. I really liked Shade and Ignifex, though. The whole dynamic there had me guessing about who was who and what ended up happening was really neat. The relationship building was cute and I liked trying to solve the mystery before we actually figured it out in-story.

The magic system also intrigued me, and I liked how it was described and explained. It reminded me of alchemical-based magic systems, and I thought it was really unique and gave the world an interesting vibe.

Overall, I did really enjoy this. I didn't love some of the characterization, and sometimes the plot was paced a little unevenly, but that was easy to ignore due to the engaging story and mystery!

Rating: 4.25 stars

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