Tuesday, January 6, 2015

January 6, 2015: 'Cruel Beauty'

Welcome to Book City
Date: January 6, 2015

Spoilers Ahead

Cruel Beauty
Rosamund Hodge

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

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.

City Calendar:
This is what happened during the week.
Nyx has a marriage ceremony to a statue that represents the Gentle Lord. She goes to his house. She falls asleep there and wakes with the Gentle Lord draped over her. She changed for dinner and leaves dinner early. The Gentle Lord during dinner asks her to call him Ignifex. His servant Shade turns into a human and shows Nyx where the Heart of Water is located. They kiss, letting Shade talk. Nyx explores the house. The next day, she sees Ignifex making a bargain with a childhood friend. She has to be held down while her friend makes the bargain. She finds the room that has her virgin knife. She falls when trying to get it. Ignifex catches her. They kiss. Nyx takes some keys from his neck. Nyx explores, finding a mini replica of Arcadia. Ignifex finds her in the room and locks her up with his dead wives. Shade finds Nyx and sets her free. Nyx finds a door and is hurt by the Children of Typhon until Ignifex finds her and rescues her. Nyx goes to the library. She finds Ignifex there. He takes her to an illusion of the outside world. She makes a deal with him to find his real name. She is shown the Heart of Fire by Shade. Shade makes her discover the truth. Ignifex saves her. He shows her the Heart of Air. The two kiss and have sex. Ignifex takes Nyx to her mother's grave. He gives her his ring which holds part of his power. She goes to see Astraia. Astraia makes her promise to kill her husband Ignifex. Nyx frees Shade. Nyx gets the Children of Typhon to attack Ignifex. She finds out the truth about Ignifex and Shade. She forgets when they join. She remembers before marrying Tom-a-Lone. She makes a deal with the Kindly Ones. She gets Ignifex and Nyx wander the world of the Children of Typhon. They leave and return to the real world. 
And that's what happened this week.

Personal Ads:
Sacrifice. Sister. Daughter. Niece. Wife. Hermetic. Came to kill Ignifex to avenge her mother and save Arcadia. Least cared for daughter. Loves Ignifex. 

The Gentle Lord. Demon. Protects Arcadia from the Children of Typhon. Bargain maker. Husband. Kind. Funny. Shade knows the truth but can't act. Ignifex can act but doesn't know the truth. The Last Prince. Loves Nyx. 

I like the retelling. The way the story of Beauty and the Beast is weaved into the story. I didn't expect the Last Prince twist. (I expected Shade and Ignifex to be the same person. It seemed to make sense because of the exact same face. The beauty isn't pure. The beast isn't always kind but typically is. The prince. (If you know the story of Beauty and the Beast, the beast is actually a prince turned beast.) This is weaved into the story. The way the author adds in these elements, without you knowing it, is amazing. It's seamless and fluid. You don't see the commonalities until you really think. 
The folklore is interesting. I liked how the Roman/Greek gods were added in. I'm a big fan of the Greek gods. (Percy Jackson, thank you.) I love the mythology. I can recognize enough myths. (The Persephone story. The Pandora one.) The mythology was weaved in. It wasn't rough but smooth. You weren't roughly jerked into these myths. You got enough of it but not overloaded with Greek/Roman mythology. We get the folklore of the area instead. Brigit. Nanny-Anna. Tom-a-Lone. We get these amazing folk stories. This book isn't exclusively one or the other. (Not that one or the other is bad or anything...) The folklore was different. But interesting all the same. It was different. I wonder if they are actual folk stories or not. 
Shade/Ignifex is an interesting character. He's complex. He has more sides to him. He's the dark and brooding Ignifex. Then a happy Shade. Then a funny, childish Ignifex. And a rough, forceful Shade. Both sides of this character has more layers. He has secrets he tries to keep. And a past. I love how he is two halves of the same whole. I love that. It is like separating the bad from the good, and vice versa. His back story is also really interesting. The last prince. The destroyer of the world. But also a silent watcher of the people. How this last prince turned into someone more dark and devious yet still caring about his people even though his people don't see it. 
The darkness in the characters' hearts is fascinating. They are both spiteful people. They aren't happy-go-lucky. (I would hate that, actually.) To me, their pain and past is what makes them lovable. Even if it seems the opposite. They have poison in their hearts. Most do. You want to see how they heal, if they ever do. You want to heal them. Not out of the challenge. Or the pity. But you want to change them, make them love and care. 
I didn't really like the ending. The ending seemed rushed. The ending seemed to rush over the truth. I wanted more back story. I wanted more of the world where Nyx is not a sacrifice. I wanted to see that. Also. When Nyx remembers Ignifex, I feel like that part was glazed over. How did she remember? Why? How did she know when to show up? It seems like perfect coincidence that Ignifex is returning from the stroll to see his subjects when Nyx is there. And I feel like the author didn't want a series, so she got the Kindly Ones killed. (Not to insult what she did write.) I didn't like that the overpowering was rushed. It should have been fleshed out and had more descriptions. 
Nor did I really the romance. While the two canceled out the poison in their hearts by being together, I don't like how the relationship formed. I will admit how I liked the two being together changed them. That's all I like really. The relationship seems to be formed over, not physical attraction, but something else. Nyx wanted to kill Ignifex, but she loved him for...what? Why did Nyx love him? His willingness to see her darkness and ignore it? Even though she threw knives his way? I'm confused. Is Ignifex one of those guys who enjoys being tortured by his loved ones? I'm not sure. Ignifex...I can't see what he sees in Nyx. Nor why Nyx fell for him. There is chemistry, though. I don't like it. It's the stereotypical heat you read about. Not gentle touches. Not cautious brushes. (Rhyming, I know.) I am a fan of cautious relationships. When the two don't throw themselves into the relationship. When they're friends first. (Or enemies. But it all depends.) 

Sunny with a 20% chance of rain

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