Cruel Beauty (audiobook)

10.3 hrs • 9 CDs • Unabridged
Target Audience: Young Adult (12–17)
Release Date: 01/28/14
Library CD Library Edition CD titles are packaged in an attractive, full-sized, durable vinyl case with full color art. Cloth Sleeves keep compact discs protected and in numerical order. 
- 01/28/14 9781482991420
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Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the BeastCruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

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.

Review Quotes

“A dazzling and clever retelling, Cruel Beauty is delightfully dark, lushly romantic, and utterly spellbinding. I adored it, and can’t wait to read Hodge’s next novel!”

Sarah J. Maas, New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series

“A completely engrossing tale.”

Alex Flinn, New York Times bestselling author of Beastly and Towering

“A marvelous and inventive book. Hodge creatively intersperses several well-known fairy tales into something that stands completely on its own. Nyx is a heroine comparable to The Hunger Games’ Katniss: she’s fierce, loyal, and a stalwart warrior. As far as debut novels go, this one is a winner!”

RT Book Reviews (4½ stars)

“Absorbing, beautifully complex…Engrossing.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Will have readers clutching the book and flying through the pages. Filled with mystery and romance, readers can connect to the story and feel the conflict, as well as the love. With roots in the classic fairytale, Beauty and the Beast, and mythological elements from the stories of Cupid and Psyche, this book is a well crafted, modern rendition that will resonate with a wide audience. Love is cruel, but also beautiful, and Hodge has created a story around that theme that readers will devour.”


“This adaption of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ combines Greek mythology, particularly the myth of Cupid and Psyche, with fairy tale lore to weave together a complex fantasy that is rich in detail, action, and hidden meanings. Nyx comes to embrace the darkness and the light that is within her and those she loves. Though some layers of the story unravel rather confusingly, this is a clever debut novel that delivers plenty of intrigue and romance.”

Children’s Literature

“Hodge’s story infuses elements of Greek mythology and classic fairy tales. The plot moves quickly, and the characters are well formed; their transgressions make them interesting and authentic. The complex relationship between Nyx and Ignifex is especially engaging. An entertaining read for teens who enjoy romantic fantasy.”

School Library Journal

“A compelling and convincing narrator, the feisty Nyx mellows and evolves as she relates the story. Based on ‘The Beauty and the Beast’ and borrowing ancient Greek gods and myths as well as folklore motifs, Nyx’s Arcadia is a fascinating if sometimes confusing, complex fantasy world. Sexuality is never explicit, but confrontations and sexual tension between Nyx and Ignifex propel the fast-paced romantic fantasy.”


“Elizabeth Knowelden narrates with an accent befitting Nyx’s education and privilege, and she uses sharp enunciation to convey Nyx’s resentment as she moves into the Gentle Lord’s castle and finds him to be different from what she expected. Knowelden’s subtle inflections add to the mystery and mood as Nyx explores her new home and builds her plans even as she grapples with her growing feelings toward the Gentle Lord and her ambivalence toward her mission. A fantasy that’s as much about self-acceptance as it is about the redemptive power of love.”


“What a stunning debut. This is a book you will want to read as fast as you can for the intricate plot and as slowly as you can to savor the gorgeous world-building and the ravishing love story.”

Sherry Thomas, author of The Burning Sky