Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Rating: 3.5/4 out of 5 stars
After reading Uprooted and Heart's Blood, I wanted another Beauty and the Beast retelling and so I finally picked up Cruel Beauty.
Unfortunately, Cruel Beauty didn't live up to the other two for me. It didn't have the depth and coherence of the other two and there was something that kept me from really sinking into the story, though I can't totally put my finger on it.
The characters didn't quite do it for me. Nyx kept pushing everyone away, and that worked on me, too. I couldn't get close to her and as much as I wanted to warm up to her, I had a hard time connecting. She was so down on herself all the time for being cruel, but her actions didn't really line up with this. It all worked together to create a vague character that I couldn't ever really connect with or even remember clearly.
Her romantic interests also suffered from this vague personality and, like Nyx, while I wanted to like them they too kept pushing me away. I could never fully settle in with trusting them or even knowing who they really were. When everything was finally revealed, it felt more destabilizing instead of less.
I'm also not sure how I feel about the ending, but I won't say anything more on that.
Then there was the story, and this I did really like. The magic was evocative and gave me just what I was looking for when I wanted more Uprooted. Exploring the house and unraveling the mystery gave me what I was looking for when I wanted more Heart's Blood. This is the kind of story where once everything is revealed I can spend a lot of time thinking over it all and savoring how all the pieces fit together.
Cruel Beauty came very close to being a great book for me. The structure is good and a few tweaks and a little more fleshing out and I think I would have easily loved it. I think I will enjoy it as a reread, now that I know what to expect out of the characters. I'm wavering between a 3.5 and a 4, but I think a re-read could bump it to a four.
Looking for another book like this?
You might like: