Book Review – Cruel Beauty

Cruel BeautyCruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, wow and wow!
Finally a YA novel that promises what it delivers!

(Before I start I apologise for all spoilers, deliberate or otherwise.)

This book really is a hidden gem. On one hand I want to share its awesomeness with everyone and on the other I just want to hog it for myself. Not unlike the protagonist’s main conflicts…
Since I fear I will just gush on for the rest of the day, I’m just going to jot down the things I loved most about the book:
1. Ignifex, Ignifex and Ignifex. Not only is he drop dead gorgeous, witty and irresistible, he can also take one across the face with a plate. What more could you ask for in a guy?
2. The setting. Metafiction much? A parchment sky, houses with a mind of their own, a protagonist who thinks (for 5 seconds) that she lives between pages, a world in a world in a world…everything screams that the book knows its a book. A good technique to comment on the nature of art and all that jazz. The English student in me applauds it. The other side of me is guilty for being so geeky and over analytical. Also really liked the pacing – theres always some twist or the other being thrown at the reader.
3. The resolution of the “love triangle”. You might say that it wasn’t really a love triangle and I don’t really disagree. But I think of authors who meld two people into one to avoid the conflict of having the protagonist choose as cowardly (I’m looking at you Rick Riordan and P.C.Cast! As much as I love the stuff you write…) So I loved that Nyx chose Ignifex without hesitation. And I was happy (but not very surprised) that Ignifex and Shade were two halves of the same person. That makes more sense.
4. Nyx’s personality. She made me want to laugh out loud most of the time. I like the same things about her that Ignifex does – she doesn’t lie to herself, she is a strong personality and she has a sharp tongue. I also like that she doesn’t deny her family ties and the essential conflict of her life cause it would have been cowardly.

The things I didn’t like:
1. Nyx’ s appearance. I don’t have issue with the way Nyx looks mainly because I don’t know how she looks. It helps that the POV is first person, but other than being described as regal and Ignifex saying (halfway through the book) she has long dark hair, I dont know anything about her looks. I get that the reader should be able to imagine something, but seeing that the rooms are described in so much detail, maybe we could get Nyx’s eye color too?
2. The kissing. Um, could they please not kiss so much? I am all for romance, and I really don’t care that there is more romance than mystery, but theres only so much kissing I can take. They kiss for everything…maybe if there was more witty conversation for each kiss and or just steamy scenes instead?

In conclusion, I am ready to adopt Ignifex any time the author gets bored of him (eagerly awaiting the moment). Cruel Beauty is a great debut that had me hooked and begging for more. Also have to applaud the fact that Rosamund Hodge wrote a stand-alone novel instead of carrying on with the trend of writing a sickening series with prolonged conflicts. Sometimes we just want to read one book and be done with it. I can’t wait till she writes another book!


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