Cruel Beauty - Rosamund Hodge

I got the audiobook from SYNC; they offer two free audiobooks each week!


It was quite some time since I last listened to an audiobook but I quite enjoyed it. I think the narrator, Elizabeth Knowelden did a great job! (But the spelling of the names might be off because I've never seen them written).


The story is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but I've very little experience with reading modern retellings of fairy tales, so I've no means to compare this work to others. Still, I quite enjoyed it.


Nyx is a sacrifice. Given up by her father in a bargain with the Gentle Lord, who has ruled and terrorized Arcadia for the last 900 years. Arcadia has been hidden from the world and hasn't seen the sun for that time. All her life she's been trained for her mission; she's to marry the Gentle Lord at her 17th birthday, seduce him and then destroy him and his house using hermetic powers. This is her mission, this is her life.


Nyx is far from perfect, she wants to like her sister (it's not her fault she gets to live) but she can't. She knows she should feel like it's her duty, an honour, to save Arcadia, but she just hates her father (and the evil-stepmother who's her dead mother's sister) for putting her in this situation.


But not long after she enters her new home, a magical shifting house, with mysterious rooms and magically appearing food (I did expect at least some singing furniture, but no such luck), she seems to forget her duty and a love triangle ensues. Yes, again *sighs*. I know this is a romance novel, so I shouldn't complain about the fact that there's romance in it, but I think the Stockholm Syndrome could have been more than enough to serve the story instead of this love-triangle which I can't stand. She should be looking for the hearts! (But not in a romantic way)


It's more than just Beauty and the Beast though, there's a lot of Greek mythology as well, and most of the names sound like they are either Greek or Latin, like Nyx and Ignifex. There's also Pandora's Box, name guessing, chambers with dead wives and magical mirrors.


Although I'd liked to see some more action the start of Cruel Beauty seemed to promise and the ending was a bit too much for me, I still enjoyed the book. I think I might check out some more modern retellings, not just from Beauty and the Beast...