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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

The romance of Beauty and the Beast meets the adventure of Graceling in a dazzling fantasy novel about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny. Betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom, Nyx has always known her fate was to marry him, kill him, and free her people from his tyranny. But on her seventeenth birthday, when she moves into his castle high on the kingdom's mountaintop, nothing is as she expected—particularly her charming and beguiling new husband. Nyx knows she must save her homeland at all costs, yet she can't resist the pull of her sworn enemy—who's gotten in her way by stealing her heart. For fans of bestselling authors Kristin Cashore and Alex Flinn, this gorgeously written debut infuses the classic fairy tale with glittering magic, a feisty heroine, and a romance sure to take your breath away.…

Cruel Beauty

by Rosamund Hodge

Overall Book Review:

Beastly is so last year. And obviously author Roasmund Hodge knows this, because in Cruel Beauty I felt like she one-upped Beastly in several ways. One of these being the way she slips bits of mythology into this story, which made the tale seem more plausible, rather than less. The mythological parts made this story feel historical and fantastical at the same time, which is something I haven’t seen since I read the book The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (a great read, by the way).

In the past few years fairy-tales have been making a pretty big comeback. Recently it seems like this has tapered off a bit though, and is being taken over by science fiction and zombies. At least we always have the classics to fall back on, right? This book has a romantic side, and a little bit of a violent side also. The heroine, Nyx, knows she is the heroine from the very beginning of the book, which is an interesting twist. She has feelings of jealousy towards her sister, and some anger towards her father, who put her in a dangerous situation and is just letting her flail about, trying to rescue herself. But even though she is supposed to be strong for her family and for herself, she has faults and doubts–like any normal human would.

Throughout the book Nyx is portrayed as a strong girl who is prepared to defend her own life, but when an unexpected hero arrives to save her, she finds she has a bit of trouble letting go of the persona she has clung to for so long. I know I would feel the same way if the environment I lived in was suddenly changed. This is a wonderful story of a girl who is independent, strong, and all in all a wonderful fictional role-model. If you are an adult looking for a read that is youthful (it is a young adult book, after all), but not overly childish, this would be a good pick.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  1 mild obscenity.

Violence/Gore:  Two scenes of fantasy violence involving a dream and some bloodshed; a character threatens another with a knife several times; suicide is mentioned; a death threat is warranted; several violent and scary scenes are mentioned briefly; childbirth is described with some blood; a character is described to be held captive against her will; dead bodies are briefly described in two scenes; a man is mentioned to have killed several women.

Sex/Nudity:  Adults kiss; marriage is forced upon an unwilling female; sex is referred to as “wifely duties” and “being ravished”; a woman is mentioned to be a virgin.

Mature Subject Matter:

Suicide, death, personal crises, forced marriage.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Adults drink.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Books and reading have always been an important part of my life. When I was very young, my grandma was the library director at our local public library. Years later, after she had retired, I became a librarian at the same library and worked there for several years before taking a part-time job at a local coffee shop, which gives me more time to do what I love, to read and to review books! A few of my favorite authors are Aimee Bender, Diane Chamberlain, and Curtis Sittenfeld however, I will read almost any book I come across! In my spare time you can find me reading (of course), volunteering at a wildlife animal rehab, or hanging out with my two house rabbits.