Sash: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Release Date: January 28th, 2014
Balzer + Bray, 342 Pages
Sub-genre: Historial Fiction/Retelling
Source: Bought the Audiobook
Age Group: Young Adult
Voice Actor: Elizabeth Knowelden

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 feelings on Cruel Beauty are hard to explain – but let me try. This book is a strange mash-up of mythology, historical fiction, and a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I guess maybe I went in thinking this was going to be more along the lines of Beastly by Alex Flinn, just set in a different time period – but that is definitely not what this book is.

For me, the mash-up of the mythology and the retelling just didn’t work, though the writing itself was gorgeous. Cruel Beauty had too many facets to it and all of that actually confused me to the point of boring me. It almost felt like I had been dropped into the middle of a book – I was so lost and nothing ever made any sense. I totally understand the appeal for mixing a retelling with something like mythology (Cinder is a great example of a retelling mashing with Science Fiction) but for me, it just didn’t work here.

I’d like to read more by this author – seriously, her writing is divine – but for me, the story was the issue.

  • June 5, 2014 - 7:27 am

    April Books & Wine - Awww, I am sad you weren’t into Cruel Beauty, but I get it. Do you think you would have been able to follow the story better if you read a physical copy and not the audio?ReplyCancel

    • June 8, 2014 - 10:06 am

      Sash and Em - I think the audiobook definitely played a part in how I liked the book, April. The voice actor had a british accent (which doesn’t bother me at all) but I think her soft tone + the accent + my confusion = too much for me. I’m not one to put a book down so I kept on, even though it took me 3 weeks to finish it. And that’s really something because I LOVE audiobooks (especially with my commute). There have been a few books where I love it because of the audiobook and don’t like it because of the same factor! -SReplyCancel

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