Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.
With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.
But Ignifex is not at all 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. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.
Cruel Beauty is marketed as a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but I would categorize it as a Rumpelstiltskin retelling with a little Beauty and the Beast aspects thrown in.
Cruel Beauty has very few characters. You have your main female lead, main male lead, a father, an aunt, and a sister. These are really the only characters that make an appearance, at least until the very end. I really liked Nyx as the female mc. She was strong but not completely unafraid. I don’t care how long you have trained, studied, and prepared yourself for what was to come, you are still going to have some fear, especially if death was a good possibility. Ignifex was also such a fun villain. He was one of those evil characters that had no false hope that he was going to be freed and he didn’t act like he deserved it. He truly believed he was evil and didn’t care how Nyx saw him.
The things I didn’t like was that in the first night of being in Ignifex’s castle, Nyx was helped by his shadow, who happened to change into a solid man at night. So, obviously Nyx’s first response was to kiss him. You know, because everyone gives a kiss to random shadow people who are believed to be demons.
While the sister had her okay moments, I didn’t particularly like any of the side characters. Nyx’s father and aunt just made me angry. Nyx was going to marry an evil demon prince and all her aunt worried about was whether she would be able to satisfy him in bed.
I felt the plot was a little rushed. Several times the plot moved forward because something very convenient happened. For example, the kiss I mentioned above. Nyx randomly decides to kiss a shadow demon man and suddenly he can speak because of it. Without him being able to speak, the story would have stalled.
I really liked the way greek mythology was woven throughout the story. It really helped to flesh out the story.
I actually thought the ending was very random and once again, convenient. You will just have to read the book to understand what I mean.