Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Book Review: "Cruel Beauty" (Rosamund Hodge)

When your own father makes a bargain with a monster to marry you off to said monster, and that monster happens to rule the place where you live, like it or not, your fate is pretty much sealed.

Unless you're Nyx, a valiant, rebellious young woman who has never really belonged to the world in which she grew up. Now, with her impending marriage looming, she is even more aware of the dichotomy between herself and the family she has always known, as she prepares to meet her fate not empty-handed but with battle-trained hands designed to kill.

Who hasn't felt trapped into a situation not of his or her own making, and has chosen to become a victor instead of remain a victim in the face of even terrible circumstances?

Author Rosamund Hodge presents Cruel Beauty, a beautiful and intricately re-imagined rendition of the familiar childhood fairy tale Beauty and the Beast.

Hodge's story owes far more to the original French version by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and to an abridged and rewritten edition by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, both published in the 1700s, than it does to the familiar Disney classic with which so many of us have become familiar since its debut in 1991.

The characters in Cruel Beauty are lively and brilliantly created, three-dimensional and wholly unexpected in their dealings. Indeed, those familiar with the original fairy tale might find themselves caught off-guard by the divergence of this story from that one, and yet the divergence is welcome, the newness refreshing and intriguing.

Part fantasy, part fairy tale, part romance, part adventure story, interwoven with lush Greek mythology, under-girded with suspense at every turn, and intended for young adult (YA) readers but well-written enough to fascinate adults as well, Cruel Beauty is one of the most unusual fairy tale retellings I've had the pleasure of reading in a long time, and it's truly an honor to make my readers aware of its existence and excellence.

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Author: Rosamund Hodge
Title: Cruel Beauty
ISBN: 978-0-06-222473-6
Purchase here:

Disclaimer: The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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