Hodge, Rosamund. 2014. Cruel Beauty. United States: Balzer + Bray.
Rating 4 stars
(review in Indonesian, click here)
(review in Indonesian, click here)
Well, this is the problem if I write a book review after finished reading it TWO MONTHS ago. I almost forgot the effect of this book to me, it leaves a vague feeling now. And I’ve read many books in these two months (some of them I’m crazy about), so I’m not really euphoric anymore about Cruel Beauty. But anyway, let’s start the review which I’m sure will be a mess kind of review.
Basically I loved it, even adored it for crying out loud. The main character is this young woman, who I had decided as my most favorite fictional female character so far, Nyx Triskelion. She’s not portrayed as a perfect beautiful lady with a kind heart and softy feature and blablablaaa. On the contrary, Rosamund Hodge created Nyx as a character with flaws and darkness in her heart. Nyx is not like other female characters in books I’ve ever read and I absolutely LOVED it! Safe to say, the highest point of this book is on the description of the well-developed character of Nyx.
“I used to believe that if I just tried hard enough, I could learn to love her without resentment, but finally I had accepted that it was impossible.” - Nyx
There’s always been malice in Nyx’s heart ever since her father delivered the bad news, that she must marry the demon prince who rules the city of Arcadia, The Gentle Lord, when she reaches seventeen. Before Nyx and her twin, Astraia, were born, their father made a bargain with The Gentle Lord to give away one of his child who will be born later to The Gentle Lord in returning the favor of his wife’s pregnancy. In her seventeenth birthday, finally Nyx must face the fate her father had chosen for her, and she goes with the intention to kill her husband wannabe.
Cruel Beauty is Beauty & The Beast meets Greek mythology. How is it possible, right? It’s so different with any other romance novels out there. Furthermore, it’s definitely nothing like any other Beauty & The Beast retellings. It’s so awemazing!
I never thought the story would hook me that good. Think about it, what kind of story that could emerge from the mix of those two very irrelevant elements? Surprisingly, a very wonderful kind of story, guys! And it’s beautifully written too! It’s kind of similar with Cassandra Clare’s style, I guess. Nevertheless, Cruel Beauty is Rosamund Hodge’s one phenomenal debut indeed. Also, I owe a very big ‘thank you’ to this book because it makes me want to know more about Greek mythology and I grew interest to start reading Percy Jackson series (which I’ve read over and over these past two months because I’m unhealthyly obssessed with it).
Cruel Beauty is written so beautifully (I know I’ve said that already, but I want to say it again anyway) and the world-building is also magnificently described, it’s way too cool I don’t know how to express it! I was so ready to throw a 5-stars rating for this book, but there’s one thing that made me not too happy about. So here’s the thing, there are a few aspects in a story that will instantly turn me off. To name a few, like love story between student-teacher, incest love story, and love at first sight or insta-love. Unfortunately, Cruel Beauty is categorized in the third one, insta-love. While I really adored the interaction between Nyx-Ignifex, I just couldn’t swat my feeling that there’s something missing in it. I didn’t feel their passion and fiery love heat (and I sound terribly cheesy right now but I don’t care, hahah). So yeah, that’s the thing with insta-love, it’s not too romantic.
“Where you go, I shall go; where you die, I shall die, and there will be I buried.” - Nyx
I personally thought it’s a fatal flaw, because it’s a romance novel afterall. It should be perfect in the romance-between-two-main-characters part, right? All in all, Cruel Beauty deserves a very full 4-stars rating because of these following reasons; Nyx Triskelion is the best female character ever, it’s written so so so beautifully, and I couldn’t put this book down until I'm finished, it stole my bedtime.
“I love you more than any other creature, because you are cruel, and kind, and alive.” - Ignifex
“Demons are made of shadow. Don’t look at the shadow too long or a demon might look back.”
“She dared to cry? On this day of all days? I was the one would be married by sunset, and I hadn’t let myself cry in five years.”
“For one moment I wanted nothing but to lock my fingers in his pale hair, to kiss him until it was his breath that moved in my throat, until his peace was mine. I wanted it like breathing.”
“But my family I had always had a duty to love, no matter how they had wronged me.”
“The anger and cruelty had always been part of me, and Ignifex knew that very well.”
“But we’ll pretend we know how to love.” I smiled at him. “And someday we’ll learn.”