Cruel Beauty ~ Rosamund Hodge
I’m not really a fan of romance, but I do occasionally read ya novels centred on it. I had an eye on this book before it was even released. It was one of those books which gave me a ‘gut feeling’ which is never wrong about books. This time was no exception. The book was lovely and dark, just how I like it.
The Story – 5/5 stars:
The main story is very interesting to read. I really enjoyed this book mostly because of the clever plot behind it. The story did start off a bit slow with all the loathing and so on, but the mystery is what kept me reading. Everything just fits so perfectly in the plot, the author has really thought it out! The mythology part of the story of course is a treat as I love those kinds of things.
I have to admit – the ending was rather unsatisfactory for me. Why did it feel unsatisfactory for me? Well…
I am a realist and the ending where they didn’t have a very steady or secure future was a bit unsettling for me. Sure Nyx would go on and study, but what about Lux? Like he said, he was a prince/demon all his life so where would he go now and what would he do? Would Nyx’s father really let her marry some random ‘peasant’? I guess it seemed to hint in a way that they may run away? But if they did – where would they run? Yeah, I know how they’re all “I don’t care what happens as long as I’m with you”, but is that really a good ending? Well…the uncertainty just spoiled it a little bit for me but since when were endings good, eh? Anyway, that’s just my opinion. I may have interpreted it wrong, but that’s just what I got from the ending.
*END OF SPOILER*
So yeah, that’s my reasoning. Other than that, it was a good story.
The Characters – 3/5 stars:
I liked most of the characters, they were pretty good. In fact, I think they deserve their own little sections!
Nyx: What a great character to see! If I were to label her somehow, I would say she was a ‘breath of fresh air’. Nyx is by far not the perfect heroine you could come across. She is full of flaws and that is why she is so likeable – she seems to be more realistic unlike all those other ‘oh so perfect’ characters I see in many books (yes, Sonea, I am looking at you). The best part is that you can actually relate to her – I’m sure many people can relate to loathing themselves at some point in their life for wishing things which were rather wicked or hating others yet not wanting to be a bad person.
Ignifex/Lux: Ohh dear! This guy was definitely a perfect match for Nyx (authors very often get it wrong)! At first he seemed to be a complete monster and the fact that he was only described this way from the beginning is done effectively to slowly change the main character’s opinion along with the readers as the story progresses. I really like it when novels bring out the idea that there is often not just black and white – there are grey areas too; this was done well after you see and learn of Ignifex’s true reason for doing what he does.
Romance (yes, I do know it’s not a character): The romance was a ‘meh’ for me, but don’t mind my opinion in this area! I don’t really like romance (I know, I know. It’s a big part of this story but still), I was in this book purely for the story. I didn’t mind the romance TOO much, but I thought that it developed a bit…well rapid? I don’t know, I just didn’t really believe it too much (then again, I don’t really get this whole love thing which is one of the reasons I can’t wait for this author’s next book). The chemistry between them was good though and my favourite parts of the book was their bickering. Overall, this summarises the romance:
Shade: This guy is just plain weird. I mean really, what is wrong with him? I know he’s a part of Lux, but still… I really didn’t like it how Nyx decided to suddenly ‘love’ him and then altering that ‘love’ between Ignifex and Shade. 1. It wasn’t love, it was lust and 2. Fickleness is annoying.
The rest: Horrible creatures, although that was Hodge’s main intent. My problem with them was that all the characters became too similar – all corrupted and evil. Although that is pretty much how the world is today… Sad, really.
Structure and form – 4/5:
This book has really been structured well. The pace is good and everything is revealed at an effective tempo. The world building..hmm…it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t brilliant either. The house was the main focus of the world building and I liked the idea of it being a one giant, crazy, messed-up maze. The uselessness in the exploration was rather boring though.
The character building of Ignifex was quite nice, but Nyx did become repetitive after a while. Shade was….well Shade – a shadow and basically nothing interesting. The author’s move to alter Astraia was an interesting yet not a wise one as it didn’t differentiate her as a character any more and hard to hate for her ignorance. You also had to keep a closer eye on her after the alteration of character. No one in this book could be trusted, it seems.
Overall – 5/5 stars:
At first as soon as I finished the book, I thought I would have said it was 4/4.5 stars. I decided then to instead give it 5 stars because of this reason – this book was actually really GOOD. I read it in 2 days (I could have read it in 1 day if I read all day, to be honest; heck, I even stayed up until 3am until my eyes hurt yet I still had just under 100 pages left to read) – this is VERY rare. Not all books entangle me in their plot so much that I can’t stop reading; sure, when the story is kind of good, I do read it non-stop, but WHEN I HAVE FREE TIME. This book in contrast made me not care and just want to read, it was that addictive.
Read it. It’s a good book. You can just ignore the romance and focus on the story which will be worthwhile to unravel.
And that’s all, folks! Thanks for reading!
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