Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Once upon a time, a line of kings that did not allow the barbarians to invade ruled the land of Arcadia. One day, it all changed. Demons took over the land and held it in its grasp. The lord of these demons – The Gentle Lord – made deals with the people of the land. One deal in particular involved a young couple that desperately wanted to get pregnant, but couldn’t. The young man struck a deal with the demon lord. His wife would become pregnant with twins, but one of the twins must be given in exchange to the Gentle Lord as his bride when she reached the age of seventeen. The man agreed and his wife became pregnant and gave birth to twins. The first came out easy, but the second twin took the life of her mother. So it was determined that the first twin would be given to the demon lord…

Nyx has known her duty to the land of Arcadia her entire life. She is to marry the Gentle Lord and find a way to destroy him and his fellow demons hold on their land. She is to avenge her mother’s death. She’s known and trained for this duty her entire life. But there is hate in her heart. Hate for her father for liking her sister over her, hate for her sister for killing her mother, and hate for her aunt for sleeping with her father.

The Gentle Lord is different than what she has come to know. He is still a demon and a lord of bargains, but he also has some dark secrets of his own. On their wedding night, he gives two rules to his new bride; one, the key he gives her opens certain rooms in his palace. Those are the only rooms she is allowed to enter, but he cannot protect her from what’s inside. Two, every night she will be given the chance to guess his real name. If she fails to guess correctly, she will die. If she guesses right, she will free him from his masters.

I was really excited to read this book. When I got the email from Goodreads telling me about it in February, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. It sounded like a Beauty and the Beast retelling. But when I actually started reading it, it turned into something completely different. It combined Greek gods with demons, and a little bit of Rumpelstilltskin into the mix. It was a good mysterious fairy tale. My only complaint was that the ending was confusing. She helps destroy the Gentle Lord who actually turns out to be half of the lost prince? And then time is restarted? What??

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Great story, I just wished the ending had been more concise.

Bookshelf worthy? The cover art is amazing. I would love to have this on my shelf.

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