Overall Rating: 2/5
Quality of Prose: 2/5
Quality of Story: 1.5/5
Quality of Characters: 2/5
Ability to Make the Audience Think/Feel Differently: 0/5
How Long It Took Me to Finish: 4 days
A 1 Sentence Summary
Betrothed to the Demon Prince from birth, Nyx travels to his enchanted castle to be his bride and to get close enough to him to kill him and free her people from his captivity.
My Favorite Quotes
“I had been waiting, all my life, for someone undeceived to love me.”
(You can tell by the quality of this quote (or lack thereof), that there were no impressive or notable quotes in this novel that I loved.)
What I Loved About It
I usually love fairy tale retellings and I especially love Beauty and the Beast, but this particular retelling just seemed contrived and far-reaching. If it wasn’t marketed as a retelling of beauty and the beast, I probably wouldn’t have even guessed that it was meant to be one. The only similarities are that the heroine is locked in a castle with a seemingly evil man who she eventually falls in love with. The comparison stops there.
The whole hermetic magic part of the plot and the mysterious and magical castle setting just seemed so silly to me and put me off from the very beginning. The plot itself seemed tortuous and gratuitous and not the magical and intriguing fairy tale retelling I expected. I also didn’t find the Demon Lord or his mysterious shadow, Shade, to be attractive characters.
The whole time I was reading this book, I thought of my favorite folk tale retellings, Wintersong and The Wrath and the Dawn (if you haven’t read them, go read them right now. Right now!), and how I wished Cruel Beauty was more like them. I honestly didn’t even know this was a book people actually read and liked (I checked out the Kindle copy from my local library’s app after reading the summary and had never heard of it before then) until I looked at Goodreads after reading it. I honestly don’t see the appeal at all.
What My Students Could Learn From It