Narrated by: Elizabeth Knowelden
Published by Balzer + Bray on Jan 28, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Format: Audiobook from YA Sync
Find the book: Amazon, Goodreads
Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom—all because of a reckless bargain her father struck. And since birth, she has been training to kill him.
Betrayed by her family yet bound to obey, Nyx rails against her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, she abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, disarm him, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.
But Ignifex is not 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. But even if she can bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him?
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.
I haven’t really read many fairy tale retellings, but if this book is any indication, then I need to start seeking them out. Although, to be fair, while this is marketed as a Beauty and the Beast retelling, it is quite far removed from that story.
Nyx has had a difficult life, knowing that she was to be married to the Gentle Lord since she was little. As a result, she’s not a happy person, and harbours a lot of anger towards her father and sister, most of which seems rightfully earned. And yet Nyx never gives up. She’s strong, even when facing an unknown future, and never once trembles with fear.
Her inner strength made her interactions with Ignifex quite entertaining. She’s a spitfire to be sure, and he finds this to be a great source of amusement. And so, most of their conversations are filled with witty barbs and banter.
I was quite impressed with the beauty of the storytelling. I listened to this on audiobook, and found myself picking it up every chance I had. The narration is smooth, and the voice fit that of a fairy tale. The slight accent fit the otherworldliness of the story, and I was overall swept away.
While the story is only loosely based on the original fairy tale, this is a gorgeous and entertaining story in its own right. The setting was unique, the storytelling was amusing and the characters were very well developed. I was quite impressed with this book, and would highly recommend it.