Since birth Nyx has known she will be sacrificed to the Gentle Lord because of a bargain her father made, and she loves yet resents her sister, Astraia, as she is the daughter her father chose to live. On her 17th birthday Nyx is married to the Gentle Lord and is sent to live with him in his castle. However, she has a plan, as with her Hermetic powers she must find a way to break the 900 year old curse on the people of Arcadia. But the Gentle Lord, also known as Ignifex, and the castle are not what she imagined and she finds herself drawn to him as she does not have to hide who she is. Is Nyx able to complete her mission to destroy Ignifex even as she grows to love him?
Cruel Beauty is an enjoyable YA book but I found it hard to connect to and it seemed too complicated. The book is kind of based on Beauty and the Beast but only loosely, and I felt it was more inspired by Pandora and other mythologies.
I found it hard to like Nyx as she was not a nice person, I could understand why but it did make it hard to connect to her, plus she was so conflicted and the whole book was her having an inner battle with herself. Ignifex is a mysterious character as you could see how evil and heartless he is yet at some points he was sweet and kind of compassionate, and he reminded a lot of The Darkling from the Grisha series.
This is a good book but it was let down by the characters, I would recommend Cruel Beauty people who want to read a Beauty and the Beast retelling with a unique mythology.