Released: January 28th, 2014
Read: December 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Hardcover, 352 pages
Description from GoodReads: 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.
Review: I've always loved the sort of mystical Arthurian time period of books like Grave Mercy or Fairest, and Cruel Beauty just clicks with it.
The story is well-paced and keeps you interested by twisting the story a little further and further (not unlike the staircase on the cover) until it unravels at the end. Which was a little confusing. Actually scratch that, it was very confusing. Maybe the next book will clear things up a bit.
Familial relationships in this book are seen as very important, including the awfully taut ones that Nyx has with her father, sister, aunt, and even her dead mother. Even though she hates them throughout the book, she still feels a sort of obligation and love to them, which doesn't seem to be requited.
Altogether, it's a pretty great book!
"Where you go, I shall go; Where you die, I shall die, and there will I be buried."
"He is a monster, and maybe I am a monster for pitying him."
"From nothing into nothing how swiftly we return."
"... Lose myself in the embrace of the one person who had ever seen my heart and claimed to love me after."
Read if You Liked: Grave Mercy, Ella Enchanted, Beauty and the Beast, Graceling
Optimistically yours, Ola