“Cruel Beauty” by Rosamund Hodge

image I recently finished reading Cruel Beauty, Rosamund Hodge’s debut novel. It’s a young adult fantasy combining a retelling of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast and Greek mythology.

Her mission was to kill him. Her destiny was to love him.

Since birth, Nyx has ben betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom – all because of a reckless her bargain her father struck. And since birth, she has been training to kill him.

Betrayed by her family yet bound to obey, Nyx rails against her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, she abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, disarm him, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not 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. But even if she can bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him?

As I was searching for agents to query, I found Hannah Bowman from Liza Dawson Literary Agency. In an attempt to better understand what projects Bowman takes on, I looked through her client list where I found Rosamund Hodge’s name along with her novel Cruel Beauty.

I was immediately interested when I saw that it was a retelling of one of my favorite fairytales. When I got it home from the library I saw that there was an unexpected bonus – Hodge wove Greek mythology into the story! While I read, another bonus popped up – it was a dark fantasy!

My three favorite things to read: fairytales, Greek mythology, and horror.

Luckily the writing and the story idea didn’t disappoint. I read it in 2 days. It was an easy read that kept my attention so that I didn’t want to stop even to go to bed. The growing romance and changing hearts of the characters was believable and well-drawn. It was fun to have a heroine who had so much bitterness and hate in her heart. Someone who wasn’t pure.

Cruel Beauty sparked my imagination. I have to admit that a part of me is disappointed that I missed the opportunity to write   something like this, but I’m glad it’s been written and published because now I at least I can read it. It raises questions in my head about my own writing. Not bad questions, just things to consider.

imageRosamund Hodge also has an e-novella available – Gilded Ashes. It’s a retelling of Cinderella’s story and is set in the same world as Cruel Beauty.

imageComing out in the Spring of 2015 is her 2nd book, Crimson Bound. It combines 2 fairytales: Little Red Riding Hood and Girl With No Hands. It’s not often I hear about another person who’s heard of that 2nd fairytale. I’ll have to wait until Spring to see how she pulls it off. I’m really looking forward to it and would love to add Cruel Beauty to my book collection in the meantime.

Do you have any fairytale retellings to suggest?

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About Katie St. John-Shin

I believe in living life and not letting it pass you by. I mean, come on, if you really want to do something but don't have the courage to do it so you let the opportunity disappear, you may regret it for the rest of your life. How can you know what you're capable of unless you go for it? Like every writer, I naturally plan on becoming a world-famous writer. I love reading, writing, fitness, coffee, watching my favorite movies/shows, listening to music, and trying new things even if they're sometimes terrifying. I'm a stay-at-home mom, a writer, and a POP Pilates instructor. I didn't think I'd succeed at that last one but I did it! I confronted my fears, dealt with things I didn't want to deal with, and completed the training! POP Pilates classes are coming soon to mid-Nebraska!
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