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Cruel Beauty Hardcover – January 28, 2014

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray (January 28, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062224735
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062224736
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (295 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—Nyx Triskelion has known for most of her life that she must marry Ignifex, the "Gentle Lord" who terrorizes her world, due to a bargain her father made before her birth. She also knows that once married, she must destroy the evil despot and the demons under his command. For years, Nyx has been training in the Hermetic Arts, the method by which she is supposed to kill her husband. Yet when the time comes, she cannot shake the desire she develops for him. It does not help that she was raised as barely more than a sacrifice, unused to the idea of love. Despite her attraction to Ignifex, Nyx makes several attempts on his life (all of which are easily thwarted). Hodge's story infuses elements of Greek mythology and classic fairy tales. The plot moves quickly, and the characters are well formed; their transgressions make them interesting and authentic. The complex relationship between Nyx and Ignifex is especially engaging. An entertaining read for teens who enjoy romantic fantasy.—Kristyn Dorfman, The Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn, NY

From Booklist

As part of her father’s ill-considered bargain, 17-year-old Nyx has been betrothed to the “gentle lord,” the prince of demons who destroyed the line of Arcadian kings and now torments the villagers. Coached by her father and underground patriots, Nyx plans to kill the gentle lord, the beast she comes to know as Ignifex, and release Arcadia from his evil power. Nyx discovers, however, that Ignifex struggles with his own demons, and against her will and steely determination, she falls in love with him. A compelling and convincing narrator, the feisty Nyx mellows and evolves as she relates the story. Based on “The Beauty and the Beast” and borrowing ancient Greek gods and myths as well as folklore motifs, Nyx’s Arcadia is a fascinating if sometimes confusing, complex fantasy world. Sexuality is never explicit, but confrontations and sexual tension between Nyx and Ignifex propel the fast-paced romantic fantasy. Grades 8-11. --Linda Perkins

More About the Author

Rosamund Hodge grew up as a homeschooler in Los Angeles, where she spent her time reading everything she could lay hands on, but especially fantasy and mythology. She got a BA in English from the University of Dallas and an MSt in Medieval English from Oxford, and she now lives in Seattle with seven toy cats and a plush Cthulhu. Visit her on the web at

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Customer Reviews

I loved Ignifex, and the relationship he and Nyx have.
The NerdHerd Reads
The ending of the book was also a little confusing too and I didn't quite understand what exactly happen and HOW we ended up there.
Book Nerd
The characters in this story are very complex, as in real life.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By K. M. Martin VINE VOICE on January 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
CRUEL BEAUTY was an interesting reading experience for me. I am not sure what I think about the story. There were parts of the book I found tedious and I found myself putting the book down frequently to go do something - anything - else. But there was something, beyond my commitment to Amazon Vine to read and review all the books I pick, that kept me picking up the book again.

This book bears some similarities to Beauty and the Beast. Not in the characters though. Beauty was loving, selfless and honorable while Nyx was angry, resentful, and conflicted. Beauty was raised by a loving father; Nyx's father raised her to be a tool for his vengeance for a mistake that he made. Nyx never felt that he loved her or even saw her as a real person. The Beast was the victim of a curse; Ignifex was the victim of his own bargains.

The story takes place in a fairy tale world cut off from the real world. It is ruled by a demon called the Gentle Lord. Because of a bad bargain her father made, Nyx is required to marry the Gentle Lord which is a fate that frightens her. She has been trained to assassinate him which her father and his group believes will free their world to be part of the real world again.

When Nyx enters the castle she discovers her new husband who tells her to call him Ignifex and learns that she can be free if she guesses his name but will die if she guesses incorrectly. As they spend time together, Nyx begins to fall in love with him despite her vow to kill him. After all, he is the only one who sees all of her, both the evil and the good, and loves her anyway. But she also meets Shade who is Ignifex's shadow and who only becomes human at night. His kindness and willingness to help her to the limits of his ability makes Nyx fall in love with him too.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Alicia on June 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover
CRUEL BEAUTY, were do I even begin?

I have such mixed feeling about this one! While I liked it, I didn't love it like I thought I would. When I seen a retelling of Beauty and the Beast that sounded as beautiful and amazing as CRUEL BEAUTY did, I was jumping up and down!! I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Which I'm really surprised I waited as long as I did to read it!! Beauty And The Beast was/IS my favorite Disney fairytale of all time!! There's some fairytales that come close, but nothing as much as I love Beauty And The Beast! So I was hyped to get lost in the story. But sadly, something about CRUEL BEAUTY did not work for me. :/

I listened to most of it on audio, while I read some of it from my physical copy. It was only my second audiobook ever, so it was a little different listening to it then reading the whole thing. And I wasn't a fan of the narrators voice and her story telling. So that could of very well have played a part into me not loving CRUEL BEAUTY. Now, that said, I did NOT hate CRUEL BEAUTY, not even close! I really enjoyed it, but not like I thought I would, and definitely not loved it like I hoped for.


I'm not a huge fan of Mythology, and some of the parts were A LOT a little confusing for me. With enchanted room after room, all the back story that played into this novel, and the plot that kept changing course, it just got to be too much for me. I guess I got overwhelmed by the amount of info that was dropped on us at one time. I still can't really tell you why most of the things that happened in CRUEL BEAUTY happened. What was the cause and reasoning? I can't answer that either. Nope, that's how much I got lost in the story, and not the lost like wow, this is amazing!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Bookphile TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Cruel Beauty was the type of book that sucked me down into its pages and never let me go. I devoured it, eager to know what would happen next, yet I was sad when it was over and there was nothing left to read. It was one of those rare reading experiences where I was totally engrossed and totally satisfied.

The setting of this book is one of its strongest points. I had such a solid sense of place that whenever I opened the book's pages, I felt like I was transported to a different world. The book is an interesting mixture of Greek mythology incorporated into a fantasy universe, and it really worked. Each element of the setting seemed to make sense within the context of the story, and I especially loved the Gentle Lord's mansion, the descriptions of which leap off the page due to their lushness. The sense of atmosphere was so strong that I could not only picture the world, I felt like I could hear it and smell it as well. I love it when a book makes me feel this way, and I always make note of it because it's something that doesn't happen all that often.

If I have one caveat about the book, it's that some of the elements of Nyx's relationship with Ignifex (aka the Gentle Lord) are problematic. If this book weren't set in a fantasy world, they might have rubbed me the wrong way, but given the supernatural elements and the fantastical setting, I thought it made sense within the book's context for Nyx to react as she does. Neither of them cause harm to the other, but they don't initially have what I would think of as a healthy relationship.

This is partially due to the volatility of the two main characters, an aspect of the novel I also liked. Nyx is filled with terrible thoughts and violent emotions, which I found very realistic.
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