Teen Book Club: Cruel Beauty

Cruel Beauty by Roasmund Hodge
Release Date: Jan 2014
Pages: 342

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Rate the book: Share It,  Skim It, Shelve It

All the teens agreed they would totally Share It with their friends. In fact, several of the teens have already started to pass their ARCs to people they think should read it. Even the boys, who granted didn’t finish it in time, really liked what they had read. One of the boys does better with audio and he’s hoping there will be an audiobook so he can hear the whole story.

Shade or Gentle Lord?

Again, they were all in agreement that the Gentle Lord was their favorite. We did discuss how they had like Shade for a while, but once his true personality starting coming out they were done with him. Although, a couple of them said they never truly trusted Shade. They did think the hate you-like you struggle Nyx had with the Gentle Lord snapped from hate to love really fast, but they still enjoyed their relationship.

Skip to next question to avoid Spoilers:
I asked what they thought about Shade and the Heart of Fire and if the scene made them like him any less. They thought over for about a minute or so, but they all agreed that it wasn’t a defining moment to any of them. They believed he truly thought she could handle it and needed to know the information it would give. Even though he had said it before, they didn’t think he was trying to deliberately hurt her/using it as a line to kill her.

 We also talked a bit about the Gentle Lord and his deals. No one blamed him for deals going wrong. After all, everyone knew that asking a favor from the Gentle Lord was dangerous. The asker may get what they wanted, but there was always horrible consequence.  In fact, he even tells you that when he is making the deal. Also, learning that the Gentle Lord was basically a puppet made it hard for the teens to see him as an evil man.

What did you think of her family (sister/father/aunt)?

Oh man, this is where the teens ranted the most. No one had anything really good to say about any of her family members. They all thought her sister was incredibly selfish the entire book. None of them could relate to her at all. They had a hard time seeing her as Nyx’s twin as she acted so much younger. They did agree a lot of her problem was that she was too sheltered, but none of them understood why she had waited so long to find out information about what was really to happen to Nyx.

As for her father, the teens thought he was number one jerk. They thought he was extremely cold hearted for never loving his child. Even when I asked if it was maybe because he knew she would die/gave a few scenarios, they wouldn’t would change their minds. They felt that knowledge should make him shower her with more love as their time would be cut short. Of course, considering he knew from the start he would have to give up one of his daughters didn’t help any with his likability

Skip to next question to avoid Spoilers:
The aunt was another one that had them ranting. They hated that she was the mistress. Even though she was only related to the father via marriage (dead wife’s sister)  they were a bit grossed out, especially since in at the end she was pregnant with his baby. I’m not sure why this creeped them out so much, especially since this isn’t that uncommon, but they were very adamant that they hated it.

Favorite Scenes?

  • When Nyx saves the Gentle Lord from the darkness and then asked her to stay. And that he came to her every night after. (This was a top fav)
  • Nyx and the Gentle Lord at her mother’s grave and she threatens to hit him over the head with the bottle
  • When Shade shows her the Heart of Water. I really like how it was described.
  • When the Gentle Lord takes her to the Heart of Air. It’s the one thing she could never get to on her own and showed how much he trusted/loved her at that point.
  • At the end, when she clings to him. She can’t remember anything beyond that fact that she should hold onto him.

Let’s talk about the ending.

I’m going to try to be as vague as possible here, but there will be some spoilers mentioned. The teens were a bit confused by the ending, but overall they really liked it. They were worried he wouldn’t remember her and were glad that wasn’t the case. I did ask if they were upset that he didn’t stop and listen to her solution, but most of them felt like it was a now or never situation. That if he had stopped and not acted he would have never had the courage again to do what was right. Although her solution may have been easier, they felt it had to happen how it happened.

 

Program 4-1-1

  • When: October 24th, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
  • How Many Teens: 10 teens; 2 boys/8 girls ranging from Grade 8 – 10
  • Cost/Supplies: $42 for 11 pints of ice cream; BIG THANK YOU to HarperCollins for supplying us with ARC copies.

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