Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (Cruel Beauty #1)


15839984Since 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.  As she searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.


Arrrgh, this book. One of my Goodreads groups chose it as a book of the month so I had high hopes. While the beginning was very blunt and jarring I became interested when Nyx started exploring the castle. It felt like a mini Night Circus, with each door opening up into a different world. A ballroom that turns into a pool of water dotted with floating lights. Libraries that rain on the inside. A room like the bottom of a large, dry well. The setting kept me interested.

But the more I learned about the heroine the more questions I had. She’s been trained to kill the Gentle Lord since she was young, but she hasn’t learned many ways to actually kill people. Or defend herself. Or get through any awkward situation. She vacillates between loving and hating in turns. I like how she owns not having a pure heart but does it have to be so fickle?

Near the end she makes promises to several people but only seems to remember the most recent one. “I told him he can trust me! But you want me to kill him? …okay, sure!” And the end is tied up by a deus ex machina, just like nearly every other book that mentions mythology.

So while I read the book quickly by the end it felt like a tattered piece of fabric in the wind, thin and disjointed.