For today’s Fiction Friday, Stephanie, Kati, and I all read “Cruel Beauty” by Rosamund Hodge so we could bring you a joint book review! For those of you who have never heard of this book, it’s a retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale with mythological elements, as well as its own unique spin.
HEIDI: What did you both think of Cruel Beauty?
KATI: I really liked it. But the main character did drive me crazy in the one scene near the end.
STEPHANIE: I loved it! I’ve always loved Beauty and Beast, and I loved that this was true to that story, but I also felt it added some unique elements. But, I also think I know what drove Kati crazy and I agree!
HEIDI: I liked it quite a bit, too. I loved that it was Beauty and the Beast, but that the heroine wasn’t super pure of heart and sweet. It was a nice change.
KATI: I also loved the Pandora’s box references.
STEPHANIE: Yes–I loved the way she tied in mythology. I really liked the characters. I don’t know about you two, but in the beginning Nyx was so difficult, I wondered if she was kinda supposed to be the beast.
HEIDI: I wondered that briefly, too! But then I decided they were both a mixture of both.
STEPHANIE: Aw, yeah.
KATI: But she really did feel like a product of her environment. Her family was pretty awful.
STEPHANIE: I agree with that too. I didn’t blame her for how she was. Her family sucked.
HEIDI: I thought it was a little unfair how they were to her aunt, though. It seemed like it was a really bad thing for Nyx’s father to remarry, and I couldn’t figure out why.
STEPHANIE: I just thought it was weird…
KATI: It does seem weird to marry your dead sister’s husband.
HEIDI: Yeah, a little weird and icky, but it had been years…sixteen, right, since Nyx’s mother died?
KATI: After 16 years, I still wouldn’t want to marry Sean. ; p
HEIDI: Watch it, there, lady! I would haunt you both! >: (
HEIDI: So…what did you think of Nyx and Ignifex’s growing relationship? Did it feel believable to you? I think sometimes those hate-turned-to-love romances don’t always work, but I thought this one did.
KATI: I liked it. It felt believable.
STEPHANIE: I thought it was unexpected and well done.
KATI: They felt very similar to each other. Plus, they loved each other for their faults, too.
HEIDI: I loved that neither one of them thought the other was perfect.
STEPHANIE: I agree–I thought the romance was best too!
KATI: For me, it was a toss up between the romance and the setting.
STEPHANIE: Oh, yeah, I thought the world building was awesome.
HEIDI: Oh, I thought of my other favorite part – I LOVED the deals that were made, the trickster part of Ignifex.
STEPHANIE: Yes! I thought that was really cool–although it was depressing, but I liked it!
KATI: I did like them, but some of them were so sad.
STEPHANIE: This was another thing I liked, I feel like a lot of books that have strong characters have weaker plots, but I felt like this book had a great combo of plot and character.
KATI: Good pacing, too.
HEIDI: I agree. Great plot, unique, strong characters, and, even more unique, it’s a standalone book. Did you have a favorite character?
STEPHANIE: Oh, good question. I feel like it’s a toss-up.
HEIDI: Definitely Ignifex for me.
STEPHANIE: I really liked Ignifex. He was interesting, and I liked how he treated Nyx. But, I also thought Nyx was a great character.
KATI: She was a great character.
STEPHANIE: Here’s my final question: Would you recommend this book?
Kati: Of course. It was well written, with believable characters, great setting, and a great pace.
HEIDI: Definitely! Two thumbs up! I think anyone who enjoys romance, or fairy tale retellings, would love this book.
Kati: Or mythology.
STEPHANIE: For sure! I agree with it all!
How about you? Have you read this book before? Do you have your own favorite retelling?