Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

The thing I love most about this book was the world, Arcadia. It was a really cool fantasy combo of Greek/Roman mythology, Beauty and the Beast, elemental magic, and a whole lot more awesomeness, creating a world like never seen before. At first it’s pretty straight forward. A result of a terrible bargain, a teenage girl, named Nyx, must marry the evil ruler of her land, Arcadia. Now, Arcadia isn’t your average place. It once was part of our world, but an evil demon king (the same one Nyx is supposed to marry) took it over and moved it away from all other places (meaning, no one comes and no one goes). Nyx of course, is not in the slightest happy with her fate. I mean, would you want to marry a demon king? Probably not. So, she is trained as an assassin, with one mission; kill the demon, called the Gentle Lord, and save her kingdom. In doing this, she will sacrifice herself. But when she meets her husband, he isn’t what she expected. He doesn’t kill her or enslave her. He’s condescending, yes, but not outright rude and certainly not mean. And his detachable shadow, whom he uses as a servant is quite attractive. However, Nyx knows her mission: trick the Gentle Lord into trusting her, then end his reign. But as Nyx spends more time in his domain, she begins to question the righteousness of her mission, and realize that maybe the person she thought was her downfall could be her savior. This debut has pretty much everything; rich, yet funny dialogue and descriptions, romance, unique and interesting characters, and a great background. The one thing I found that it lacked was a good ending. I felt the end was not what I wanted as a reader, nor a solid one that wrapped things up nicely.

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