Title: Cruel Beauty (Goodreads page)
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Romance
I seem to have a love/hate relationship with this one. Let me explain.
This book surprised me. I thought I knew how it was going to end. I mean psshhh it’s a fairytale retelling. I thought I knew exactly what was going to happen next, how it would probably be the same as all other Beauty and the Beast retellings I’ve ever read (the girl meets the evil guy, they fall in love, the evil guy becomes the GOOD guy, la la la la end of story… yeah, you get the picture). But I assure you, every time I tried to guess what was to come next, I turned out to be wrong. So wrong that I eventually gave up trying to guess.
I must say, for a stand-alone, I was overly impressed by the character development present (despite their indecisive emotions) in this novel. I felt as if each character was made of many layers, and they weren’t just paper people, if you know what I mean. Despite their indecisive emotions, their feelings were real.
Talking about feelings, honestly Nyx. Just make up your mind.
‘I love you, sister, I’ll do anything for you.’ ‘Or that’s what I want you to think, I actually hate you.’ ‘Did I say I hate you? I mean I love you.’ ‘Jks, life update: I’m thinking of betraying you.’ ’Nah, I changed my mind. I’d never do that.’ ’Actually…’
IT NEVER ENDS.
She contradicts herself. She gets confused. I get confused.
And I guess this is what really threw me off from enjoying Cruel Beauty. It was just so damn confusing. Not only is this attributed to the confliction in Nyx’s feelings, but also to the way this world was introduced. I felt as if the world-building in this novel was forced, especially during the beginning when we are briefly introduced to the characters before being told about the beliefs and values that shape this particular world. In the end, I found myself not as immersed in the world, and the details about it developed further on went completely over my head, which I think definitely contributed to my overall rating.
A similar feeling about the ending. I just… didn’t understand it. At all. So, so, so confused!!
I feel like this review is just a whole bunch of incoherent thoughts, but overall I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fairy tale retellings and has a special interest in Greek mythology. Honestly, there are a number of conflicting opinions on Cruel Beauty, which leads me to think that its another one of those hit or miss kind of stories. Whilst reading this book, I couldn’t help but notice the slight similarities between this debut and The Wrath and the Dawn (though the worlds in both novels are totally different and I found the latter far more enticing), so definitely give that one a go if you enjoyed this one!