Book Review 45: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Posted on October 29, 2014 «
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Book Review 45: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty

Author: Rosamund Hodge
Narrator: Elizabeth Knowleden
Published on: 2014-01-28
Pages: 352
Length: 10 hours, 17 minutes
Series: Cruel Beauty Universe #1
Genres: fantasy, romance, young adult
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My Rating: Thumbs Up
Also in this series: Gilded Ashes: A Cruel Beauty Novella

My Rating: Thumbs Up



Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge was the second of several audiobooks I downloaded this summer via the SYNC Free Downloads event. As I have mentioned before, I don’t listen to many audiobooks as my commute is 20 minutes each way, but the idea of a retelling of Beauty and Beast and striking cover caught my attention.

Right from the start of the audiobook I was captivated. I loved Elizabeth Knowleden’s narration. Her voice set the tone for the dark sad tale that unfolded over several weeks on my drives to work.

My favorite parts!

  • Nyx. She minces no words. She’s honest about her situation and her father’s motives for “selling” her to Ignifex. She is not some angsty, woe-is-me character. It was quite refreshing.
  • The world of Arcadia. Hodge does a beautiful job of painting this world that lives apart of everything else. It is trapped in a sort of purgatory. I imagined this snow globe of a world about the size of Wicked Witch’s in the The Wizard of Oz movie—clouds swirling—just barely being able to see the city.
  • The vivid history. All through the story, I wanted to know more about the shadows, the Resurgandi and the Hermetic arts. Knowing the world had existed for several thousand years, I feel like the history that Nyx was familiar with may not have been the whole truth. There’s definitely more and I’m dying to learn more of what’s in the books in Ignifex’s library!

My least favorite part

It was the ending. I think, maybe, that partly has to do with the fact that I was listening to the book while driving. It was confusing. I wonder if the ending would have made more sense if I could have read it at my own pace–going back, as needed, to reread sections.

Overall, I enjoyed Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. I loved the spunkiness of the main character and the world that she lived in. I enjoyed it so much that when I found there was a companion novella I purchased it the first chance I could. (Thanks to Tanja and Glass for alerting me that it existed!) I give Cruel Beauty a thumbs up!


5 responses to “Book Review 45: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

    • I did enjoy the narration, but the ending seemed really weird and hard to follow. I saw that the next cover was revealed last week and a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood should be interesting.

      Terri M. LeBlanc
      Second Run Reviews
      Twitter: @2ndRunReviews

  1. Definitely agree about the ending, I had to go back and reread that section to really make sure I got what was happening. I can really see that being frustrating in the audiobook. I also like how Nyx speaks her mind.

    • Nyx is an amazingly blunt character and it seems rare to find a non-wishy-washy heroine lately.
      Terri M. LeBlanc
      Second Run Reviews:
      Twitter: @2ndRunReviews