Audio Book Review : Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

July 8, 2014 Audio Review, Book review 2 ★★★

This has been one of the most unusual books I’ve ever read. I didn’t love it (but I definitely didn’t hate it) and I know for sure I’ll remember it. My goodreads status on finishing was ‘ummhhh…that was different!” and that sums up my feelings for the book perfectly.

Audio Book Review : Cruel Beauty by Rosamund HodgeCruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Published by HarperCollins on 2014-01-28
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Narrator: Elizabeth Knowelden
Length: 10 hours 17 minutes
Buy on Amazon

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.

I downloaded this book as part of the free SYNC Summer 14 audiobook downloads and I don’t think I would have picked it up, if not for that program. But free audiobooks are irresistible for me, so I went for it. And I’m really glad I listened to it. Yes I didn’t love it as a whole but I did love parts.

The Highs of Cruel Beauty:

– It is a very unique retelling. It followed the original fairytale but with dark twists and lots and lots of imaginative detail

– A love story set in a castle! I love the setting and I love how quirky this romance is. It’s not your typical love story and that won me over.

– The prose is beautiful; I know that sounds like an over the top word but it is fab. The first line is “I was born to marry a monster” and it just grabbed my attention immediately. Even at times when I felt bored with the plot, I couldn’t fault the writing and if it had been a kindle book, I would have highlighted tonnes of quotes.

– Nyx is such an interesting character. She is bitter and twisted but not as half as jaded as she portrays herself to be. Inside there is a girl who wants to be noticed and loved and who wants to do the right thing. She is a smart cookie too and was one of my favourite things about the book.

– The plot is clever. I can’t deny it. Maybe too clever for me! However the way the greek mythology was entwined with the fairytale story was really effective.

– I loved the ending. I wasn’t sure what way it would go but I was totally satisfied with it.

The Lows of Cruel Beauty:

– At the start there is a large info dump. I very nearly DNF but was encouraged to read on by others who loved it.

– The pace was tricky for me. I felt bored at times and wanted things to move faster. – I got lost in places trying to figure out what the heck was happening. Somethings I didn’t understand (I never really figured out what the hermetic arts were) but I just went with the flow and had to let parts float over my head.

– And ditto with the world-building; I just got lost

– The twist wasn’t really a twist in my eyes. I thought it was fairly predictable.

On The Balancing Scales:

Overall I loved the writing, Nyx and the setting but the pace and intricate plotline changed the feel of the book for me. The highs and lows balance each other out and hence the middle of the road 3 star rating.


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: three-stars


Who should read Cruel Beauty? I’d recommend this to fans of high fantasy, fairytale retellings and to those who love Greek mythology. If however you don’t love overly complex plotlines, then I don’t think this is for you.


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2 Responses to “Audio Book Review : Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge”

    • trish

      I really feel this is a book I need to read again to fully appreciate it. I don’t think I quite ‘got’ it but I loved the premise and the characters.

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