Book Talk: Cruel Beauty

8:25:00 AM

I'm just gonna leave this book cover here...
Come on! How could you not want to read the
jacket after seeing a cover like this?!
So it's April...and I’ve only posted about one of the books I’ve read so far this year. Whoops. Someday I’ll be a put-together human. But until that day comes, I’m just going to forge ahead, starting with my most recent read. I’m writing this on a Saturday, the first one in a while where I’ve had the opportunity to grab some Bruegger’s and coffee and sit down with a book. I dove into Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge and finished it in in one sitting.

After finding out that the novel was based on Beauty and the Beast, one of my first loves, I knew I had to read it. And, while it does bear the trademark similarities to a tale as old as time, I felt like the author wasn’t relying on that to help carry the characters or the storyline. The world feels appropriately distant because of it’s fantastical elements, but still within reach, in part because of the many allusions to Greek and Roman mythology that run throughout. I was familiar with some of the allusions, but I also took on a new appreciation for my e-reader, as I began to use the dictionary feature with frequency. I enjoyed the weaving of mythology into the story - it was particularly appropriate for the world of the protagonist, Nyx, who, like Alexander the Great, was raised hearing stories of the Greek heroes in preparation for the destiny that had been decided for her before she was even born. While Nyx can sometimes fall into cliche territory, she ultimately feels relatable.

I’m not sure if this next part counts as a spoiler, but I was thrilled to see a author that was able to navigate away from a love triangle situation, as well as create situations and relationships that felt real.

I enjoyed the one-and-done-ness of Cruel Beauty - it left me wanting more, but satisfied with the conclusion at the same time, and I always prefer that to a Disappointing Sequel. Starting and finishing this book on a Saturday felt like a palette cleanser, helping me to get rid of thoughts of my crazy stressful week and think about more pleasant things, like spells, staircases, and libraries full of books. And really, what’s better than that?

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