Monday, September 30, 2013

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge + Featured Freebie

Cruel Beauty
Release date: January 28, 2013
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance/Fairy Tale Retelling
Series: N/A

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

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.

As Nyx 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.

My Rating: 5 Roses

Dark, thrilling, romantic, and full of secrets. This book was beyond amazing. Cruel Beauty was magnificent, brilliant, so wonderful that I can't even put it in words. But, I'll try. The fact that it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling already gave it a point in my book, since that's my favorite fairy tale. But, it went so beyond that.This book was perfection. I loved every bit of it!

I have to say that the world building was downright awe-inspiring. The world that the author created was darkly magical, ethereal, and just amazing. Despite how complex the world of this book was, I couldn't find a single hole in the world building. It was breath-taking how beautiful the world of Cruel Beauty was.

The character development was also note worthy. Every single character had so many dimensions and felt like real people. No character was entirely good or bad. Every one of them had their own assets and flaws. I really liked that about this book. With the flawless world building and character development, this book is one that draws you in and makes you part of the realm.

Nyx was one kick ass heroine. She's ruthless, somewhat cruel, and somewhat selfish. She resents her family and betrays one of her loved ones. She was not an entirely good person. And that's what was great about her. Despite her flaws, she was still a likable heroine. She was loyal to her kingdom and determined to do what was best, even if she had to sacrifice for it. She was remarkable strong and truly earned her happy ending, fighting tooth and nail to achieve it. I really liked her. I thought she was a brilliant character.

Ignifex was very similar. Despite his original status as the antagonist, he doesn't stay that way. He's cruel, selfish, and uncaring of others' pain. But, he's also protective of what he loves, sweet when he wanted to be, and, in the end, willing to sacrifice for love. Not to mention the literally split aspect of his personality. What do I mean by that? I can't say without ruining the biggest surprise in the book. But, it was one hell of a secret and it's revelation made so many little things that didn't quite make sense, suddenly have so much meaning to them. He was awesome and amazing and I totally adored him.

The romance was perfection. Nyx and Ignifex were really each other's perfect match. They are both strong, formidable, and, despite their flaws, had their redeeming qualities. And that allowed them to balance each other out. The romance was dark, sweet, and absolutely wonderful. I loved these two together.

As I said before, the other characters were so complex. From Nyx's sister and father, to Ignifex's servant, every character was dimensional and interesting in their own right. Even when I really didn't like some of them, I though they were great.

The plot was fast paced and I was utterly riveted the entire way through. The dark magic, the secrets, the surprises, the betrayals. It all had me on the edge of my seat. The secrets that were revealed were truly shocking and the revelation about Ignifex's past totally blew me away. The story was fantastic and the ending was perfect.

Cruel Beauty was a magnificent, wonderful, brilliant YA romance. I LOVED IT! It was dark, romantic, and full of surprises. If you're looking was an amazing YA book that defies expectation, this is one you'll want to read.

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*I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Featured Freebie:
Today, I have a YA paranormal romance that sounds good: Spirited by J.A. Hunter. Go forth and get it for free!

When the Archers move in next door to Ally Dahl, things aren't as they appear. The arrival of Reed Archer sets Ally's heart and life into constant confusion. When she finally learns of his ghostly secret she is forced to face a life of danger, death, and facing her worst fears. Being tossed into a world she never knew existed to be with a man she can't touch may prove deadly, but in the ghost world, love never dies.

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