I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies.
Warning: This was almost a five star review so there will be lots of fangirling and on the review on the main blog has lots and lots of Beauty and the Beast gifs.
I’ll admit it, I’m a little bit of a Beauty and the Beast ho. I can’t help myself though. Belle was the only Disney princess that could read and their relationship wasn’t based on instant love. So anytime there’s some random YA retelling of this classic fairytale I’m totally okay with it.
Only this Belle doesn’t read, unless it involves learning how to kill the beast (just unintentionally quoted“The Mob Song” there). However, she doesnt’ try to kill him in an annoying girl power way. She realizes just how unprepared she is for the situation is, and that’s what I think I like best about this one.
That the main character has realistic expectations for herself. She’s also sort of a bitch which I love. Why do I love the fact that Nyx is willing to say cruel things to people, because she fully acknowledges she’s messed up and she actually has reason for being damaged goods unlike about 98% of the protagonists out there. Plus, her nastiness isn’t as horrible as other characters nastiness that is described as being spunk. Nyx outright accepts the fact that she’s well…not a nice person.
What I found to be particularly interesting about this book was that Nyx’s twin sister is the type of character you usually see as a main character in a YA book. Or the Beauty and the Beast fairytale in general. Being a B&B whore, I’ve read several versions of the fairytale and watched the behind the scenes features on my DVD copy of the Disney version and the Beauty character is almost always sweetie sweet. Disney’s Belle, really is one of the bitcher versions of Beauty and that’s saying something.
I really think the character of Nyx, is what made this book for me.
Of course, I also liked the banter between Nyx and one of her love interests too.
Yes, this book has a love triangle. And honestly the whole triangle thing wasn’t really that offensive to me. Though one of the legs of the triangle just was almost sort of irrelevant.
I did like the fact she characterized Shade like this surprisingly enough. I think it’s because I sort of suspected what was going on before the grand reveal though. Honestly, the characterization that bothered me in a way more was the Ignifex character.
Oh, I liked Ignifex a lot. But he felt like a well formed character, almost too well formed for someone who was only supposed to be essentially half a person or demon or whatever he was.
That was probably one of the biggest cruxes that this book had, was how everything wrapped up. I enjoyed reading it, but after stepping away from the book I saw its true self.
And there were flaws in this book. Like the fact it moved at a snail’s pace till the last fourth where is just sort of exploded. However, once again I gave it a past because the Beauty and the Beast fairytale pacing is waaaaaay off too. I think keeping that perspective allowed me to enjoy the book while I think others who don’t keep this in mind might find it to be a turn off.
That’s the thing about Cruel Beauty, it really isn’t going to be everybody’s book. Those who like it or going to love it those who don’t….well….
It will be an okay experience, but not great.
In addition to be heavy with the romance, Cruel Beauty takes place in an alternative history where the Greco-Roman religion still rules. It’s sort of info dumped on you at times and while it works at the same time you wonder why its even there. It works in a very strange way.
Strange would probably be the best way to described this book. While it’s enjoyable, there are flaws and you can see them. But unlike usually where flaws have me wanting to punch something, I still enjoyed this one a lot. I really don’t know what it is about this book but it has so far been my best read of this year.