Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge: Audio Review

Posted September 1, 2015 by Emily in book review / 4 Comments

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge: Audio ReviewCruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Narrator: Elizabeth Knowelden
Published by HarperCollins on January 28, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Family, General
Pages: 352
Format: Audio
Source: Purchased
Buy on AmazonBarnes and NobleThe King's English

Betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom, Nyx has always known that her fate was to marry him, kill him, and free her people from his tyranny. But on her seventeenth birthday when she moves into his castle high on the kingdom's mountaintop, nothing is what she expected—particularly her charming and beguiling new husband. Nyx knows she must save her homeland at all costs, yet she can't resist the pull of her sworn enemy—who's gotten in her way by stealing her heart.

Audio review: I got this audiobook as a free download from YA Sync either this summer or last, I can’t remember. I started it on a road trip, and ended up finishing it a bit later. The narrator was tolerable at first. Her British accent was pretty heavy, and since I’m bad with accents, I had moments where it was difficult to understand what was going on. Her voices for other characters were okay as well. However, by the end of the book, I found that listening to the narrator was almost unbearable. Her voice was incredibly quiet and soft, to the point that it sounded like fingernails on a chalkboard. If I’d had a physical copy of the book, I would have finished it in print.

Book review: I have no idea why I put this book off for so long. I started an eARC of it forever ago, and just never finished. It finally took the steady progress of the audiobook for me to really commit to it.

I love this retelling. It’s a dark mixture of Beauty and the Beast as well as some Cupid and Psyche mythology. From the moment Nyx entered the Gentle Lord’s house, I was on edge. Nyx is vulnerable, but completely iron-clad as well. She takes ridiculous risks, but when your expectation is that you won’t survive anyway, why not?

The bargains struck by the Gentle Lord are the absolute best part. Talk about magic and wishes coming at a price. The thing that kills me is that everyone knows someone who has been cheated by these bargains. And yet, they all think they are different. It’s absolutely brilliant and heartbreaking.

I sincerely thought I was going to hate this love interest. I’m not into the bad boy romance, especially when the love interest is intent on killing the heroine. But, this totally worked. Without giving away pretty much the entire plot, I was rooting for Nyx and her happiness from the very beginning, even though it was a completely unlikely match for me. I think what did it was that every scene with Nyx and Ignifex was a perfect fire of banter and tension. Truly, this was some good dialogue.

The story comes to a wonderful climax and ending that I devoured. I appreciated its commentary on forgiveness, loss, pain, and the lengths we will go to in order to set things right. All in all, a very satisfying retelling.

A dark, chilling retelling of Beauty and the Beast with a mythological twist, Cruel Beauty is perfect for fans of dark fantasy such as Sarah J. Maas, Jodi Meadows, and Lani Taylor

4 responses to “Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge: Audio Review

  1. Ooh! I loved Cruel Beauty as well even though, like you, I wasn’t sure if I would like Ignifex. I listened to the audiobook off of SYNC last year and then immediately bought the hardcover 🙂 I hope her next book is as good… I still need to read it. Great review!

      • Hi! Sorry for the late reply 🙂 The narrator’s voice, to me, didn’t seem to fit how I imagined Nix’s voice. Also, as you said, her accent was a bit much. By the end, though, I was used to it. Still, I feel as if they could have picked someone better! Reading the book in print is ten times better 🙂

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