Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publishing Date: January 2014
Genre: young adult, fantasy, science fiction, mythology
Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.
With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.
But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.
Nyx’s purpose in life was decided before birth: destroy the Good Lord and free her people from him and his demons. She’s trained to find the hearts of the four elements and bind them, for no mortal weapon will kill the demon king. But once she’s trapped in his ever-changing castle, she begins to have doubts about her task, and wonders who, exactly, is the one at fault for her kingdom’s misfortunes.
An interesting retelling of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty will be one of those books readers will either love to pieces or, like me, find it to be too much. While it’s understandable for Nyx to be an angry, revengeful sort of character — destined for a life she did not choose — she comes across as stubbornly annoying. The anger she feels to her family seems unjustified, apart from her father, and the impulsive and rather silly things she does against Ignifex are childish and not at all calculating like her killer instincts would seem.
I also had a difficult time understanding the world of this story. It combines mythology and fantasy and science fiction so much so that I lost track of what was considered a tale and what was considered real and factual for this world. It also felt like there were so many powers in this world, there was no limit. Every power needs a limitation.
This book was not for me, although I wish it was. I simply could not get into it.
Thank you, Edelweiss, for providing this book from Balzer + Bray for review.