BOOK REVIEW – Cruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe #1) by Rosamund HodgeCruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe #1)
by Rosamund Hodge
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I do like a wife with a little malice in her heart.

A dark, twisted spin on a childhood fairy tale, this book has been on my radar for a long time now. I anxiously awaited it’s release, counting down the days until I would get to dive head first into a book that has a spin on the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast. I began to worry as the release date approached-what if my expectations were too high? What if I got excited for nothing? Why are the ratings already lowering??? I couldn’t have been happier with the result of the story and it was well worth the wait.

I was the girl who had broken her sister’s heart and-for a moment-liked it. I had left somebody in torment and liked it. I didn’t want to keep being that person.

Beautiful, poetic writing with a dark undertone to the whole story, we are swept into a world where the courageous Nyx is being sent to the ‘Gentle Lord’s’ house to be his wife-and to kill him to free all of Arcadia. All her life Nyx has known that she was going to be bargained off to the dark castle for the ultimate sacrifice. She has never complained or questioned her duty, all the while building up long term resentment towards her father, mother, and twin sister.

“You must betray one of us. I suppose which one you pick depends on whom you love the most.”

What I loved most about this story, though, is that Nyx didn’t whine. She didn’t complain. She never wanted to back out of her responsibility…until she fell for him. Until she fell for Ignifex, the man she is destined to kill in order to save the people she has vowed to sacrifice her life for. It was both admirable and heartbreaking to watch her struggle and determination to keep her vow all the while falling in love with the man that can’t live. The man that reigns over her land and her freedom.

If you desired someone, if he comforted you, if you thought he might leech the poison out of your heart, was that love? Or only desperation?

A tale of a soul-shattering love that could never possibly work, this book owned my heart. We have this broken shell of a man, a demon, someone completely incapable of feelings, for how many bargains has he made that ensure the demise of the people of Arcadia? Surely he is a heartless monster that could never fall for Nyx, his latest bargain…until he does.

He opened his eyes and stared up at me as if I were the door out of Arcadia and back to the true sky. “That’s what makes you my favorite.” He reached up and wiped a tear off my cheek with his thumb. “Every wicked bit of you.”

Honest to God, there are no words. I am literally a rambling, bumbling mess that can’t think of anything to satisfy how I truly felt about this book in just a review. There are no words to describe how beautiful this love story was…and more than that, it was a story of that desperate need to do what’s right, to do what she has always been trained to do. But how can she do that with this beautiful shell of man who is transforming before her eyes? Who inevitably has fallen for her as she has fallen for him? Can she kill this vulnerable demon who has grown to trust her and finds comfort in her embrace as things go bump in the night? Will she really be able to kill him?

“Where you go, I shall go; where you die, I shall die, and there I will be buried.”

I wasn’t lying when I said I was speechless. I have been so excited to write this review since Friday night, and here I am with a keyboard in front of me and no words seem to suffice. So I will just say this: this story was breathtaking, magical, and twisted beyond words, it bordered on tragic, making me tear up with the inevitability of what was to come, of what needed to be done….it was almost too much to bear. More than once I freaked out about the decision that Nyx was going to have to make…begging my Ipad to not let this possibly happen. And….there’s just nothing more to say. Although this review didn’t say much, this story speaks for itself.

“Though mountains melt and oceans burn, The gifts of love shall still return.”

A warning, though: if all you care about is the male lead or the progression of love in the story, this book is not for you. There is more than just two characters, and there is more at stake than just a budding forbidden romance. There is a backstory and mythical elements that shape how they act and what they do. It is beautifully built, but not all about the romance. It is about the choice of a young girl and the struggles she faces with the decision that has been thrust upon her shoulders-if you are not okay with this, then don’t bother.

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