Cruel Beauty (2014) Rosamond Hodge

Demons are made of shadow. Don’t look at the shadows too long or a demon might look back, (p 1).

CruelBeautyIn a land separated from all others and trapped under a parchment sky, one girl is raised to wed and kill their evil, immortal ruler.

The Gentle Lord is a the master of bargains. Nyx’s father was foolish enough to seek the Gentle Lord’s aid, he and his wife desperate for children. His wife conceived twins, one destined to wed the Gentle Lord, but the mother died in childbirth. All the Gentle Lord’s bargains twist in unpleasant ways.

Now, trained in the Hermetic arts, Nyx must wed the Gentle Lord, Ignifex, and seek the knowledge to undo the curse damning her country to attack by demons and Ignifex’s cruel rule. But the labyrinth she finds is unexpected and perplexing. And Ignifex is not the monster she expected.

Based loosely on the tale of Beauty and the Beast, this odd blend of myth and fairy tale is a unique fantasy that, despite some clunkiness,  ultimately rewards.

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