Cruel Beauty Discussion 

Cruel Beauty Discussion 

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Because my favorite princess story is Beauty and the Beast, I absolutely had to read it. I was in no way disappointed by what I read. Cruel Beauty follows Nyx, a girl who has been bartered away to marry the man who killed her mother. She is sent to the castle with a mission to kill the Gentle One, the man she is marrying, and free her lands. In the castle, she realizes it will be much harder than she thought.

The book had characters that changed and grew as the story moved along. It was a beautiful thing to read. All characters weren’t perfect, and that was another beautiful piece added to the story. Each and every one of them had their flaws, but their flaws didn’t overpower their ability to do good (except for maybe Nyx’s father who is a completely horrible man). The plot line was interesting and held my attention throughout the entire book.

The following contains major spoilers so I suggest hiding in a corner and reading this book before you continue reading.

When the love triangle emerged, I was a little distressed. Nyx seemed to be perfect with both men presented! When Shade (a butler who is also a shadow) hurt Nyx, I figured that the love triangle was solved and Ignifex (the man that Nyx marries) would be the one she ends up with. Oh, was I wrong! Nowhere in my mind had I even considered the two men being to same person. I really enjoyed this surprise and how it was handled. In the end, it made perfect sense and all the loose ends were tied up.

Speaking of the end, that was another wonderful surprise! When I first started read that portion I was a little disappointed that it was all a dream. What’s the point of reading an entire book about a dream? Luckily, it wasn’t a dream at all. The world was entirely altered. It was amazing watching Nyx run out and find Lux. It was so sweet how they fought to be together even when the odds were against them.

When I finished the book and was talking to my friend about it (she hasn’t read it and probably never will but is such a good friend that she listens anyways), I had a realization. I had been ranting about how stupid the people were to trust the Gentle One’s bargains. They knew that no matter what, their deal would always come back to bite them. After a little bit of thinking on the subject, I figured that we aren’t much different. Satan is always tempting us with things that will only satisfy us for a moment while God has things that will last forever, but we still sometimes choose Satan.

So as you may have noticed, this was a pretty good book. What were your thought on it? Did you like how Shade and Ignifex were the same person? What do you think about my metaphor? I would love to know!

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Curses and Smoke Discussion 

Curses and Smoke Discussion 

I know that Curses and Smoke by Vicky Alvear Schecter isn’t a very popular book, but I did enjoy reading it and I have many thoughts. I didn’t really get into the book until about page 180, but that was because of personal preference and not book quality. The book was set in ancient Pompeii right before the volcano erupted. It followed Tages, who is a slave, and Lucia, who is the daughter of the man who owns Tag. Lucia is about to be married off away but falls in love with Tag a few weeks before her wedding. While the book was set on love (the back cover has love in bold letters), I didn’t really feel too much romance in the story. The conflict was because of love, but the story had much more to it.

The following will go into details about my feelings on specific subjects. Do not read if you don’t want to be spoiled:

So as I mentioned above, I didn’t really get into the book until about page 180. Because of this, most of the things that stuck out to me were near the end of the book. The action towards the end of the book really caught my attention. To get an idea of how I read this: pages 0-180 were read in a week, pages 180-whenever the end was too less than 24 hours. I read like this sometimes and it can really mess up my veiw of the book.

By the end of the book, I had a lot of emotions attached to various characters. Reading the book over a long period of time also helped with this. I feel like Quintus really got a bad rap most of the time. He was simply uneducated in the feeling of empathy. Nobody really tried to help him understand why he was hated so much. If everyone else would’ve just given him a chance, he would’ve been much more likeable to everyone. Quintus was trying to be better, he just wasn’t sure how to be. Castor was adorable. I didn’t really feel a connection to him until the very end of the book when he starts to call Tag “Apa” and was being completely adorably about it. It felt like while Tag had lost a father, he also became one and that was very important. Speaking of Tag’s father, I didn’t really feel a connection to him. He and Metrodona were just characters that felt added in. Yes, they had an important role in creating the conflict of Lucia and Tag’s love, but the weren’t ever really around. A few more scenes with them would’ve been nice.

I especially like the little parts above some to chapters that said things like “two weeks before” or “two hours before”. They were obviously meant to lead the reader to believe they were counting down to the explosion of the mountain, and I bought it. I had slight suspicions on them when reading, but couldn’t come up with any other solutions so I just accepted them as they went. I didn’t expect it to be leading up to Lucia dying at all! If I could’ve guess for either Lucia or Tag to die, I would’ve said Tag. He cared for the well being of other people so much that he could’ve died protecting Lucia, not the other way around. I was ready for people to die (because, you know, Pomeii was a city buried alive) but I didn’t expect it to happens he way it did at all.

So yeah, it was fun. What were your thoughts on the book? I would to love what other people thought and keep the discussion going. Who knows, maybe my opinions will change!