There should be a title here, but I've got nothing.

Cruel Beauty - Rosamund Hodge

(This might be a little spoilery, not too bad, and I've used tags, but if you've not read it and want to go in blind, well, you might should skip this one)


So in my post yesterday I used the lyrics from White Christmas and the song Sisters. My use of that was, obviously, because at that point (83%) there was some serious sistery stuff going down. Now, I don't have a sister, so I don't really know that dynamic personally. I do have an older brother, so I get the sibling dynamic, but I do think there is something very different about the different sibling combinations (older bro/younger sis, older sis/younger bro, sisters, brothers, more than 2, etc, etc) and how those shape us. (It's a family dynamic thing and, as I've learned in my work, all families are crazy. Yes, mine is too. Yup, so is yours. Trust me.) So, that said, when I say "there was some serious sistery stuff going down" some of you will have a deeper understanding of what that means than I did since that's not part of my world view.


What am I trying to say here? Let's try this again...


Ok, so this book, it's about: Sisters, Family, A Hero's Journey, Growing Up, Responsibility, Living Up to Expectations, First Love, Undying Love, Sacrifice, Mythology, Fairy Tales, and, and, and...


That's a lot. Like a LOT a lot. Now, looking at that you might think it's a complete muddle, and it kinda is, but it also kinda works. As others have said, the language and imagery in this book are wonderful. The world the author creates is rich and complex and interesting, though it's not entirely clear as there are so many elements involved.


Personally, I didn't really have a problem with it. For me, what was there was so descriptive and entrancing that my imagination filled in or drifted right by any holes and I just floated along (like walking on a pool of water surrounded by small lights...heh).


Where it starts to fall apart for me a little is in the relationship with her sister, actually. There's so much of that relationship that drives the book, that drives Nyx and motivates her, but it was very hard to understand why, honestly. Based on what I read and what I was able to interpret about Nyx's family,


I cannot fathom why she would sacrifice the one person in her life who has loved her unconditionally for those ungrateful assholes. I mean, I get it if the motivation is to save Arcadia. If the motivation is you may have to sacrifice your happiness because of the greater good. But, to make it you have to sacrifice yourself for the people who have hated you, betrayed you, made you feel less than, well...fuck that! 

(show spoiler)

 That's a load of crap. 


(bringing it all back around now...)


That's why, at the beginning of this "review" I talked about the sister dynamic, because all I can think is the reason some of the motivations and actions didn't make sense to me is I don't have a sister and don't understand that bond.


'Cause, if it were me? I'd tell Astraia to go fuck herself, insufferable pain in the ass that she is. I mean, Nyx could have still saved the day, gotten the guy, lived fairly happily ever after if Astraia and shut her fucking cake hole and quit trying to interfere. Ugh, really didn't like that character.

(show spoiler)



All that said, this is a very creative Beauty & the Beast retelling (with elements of Bluebeard, Rumpelstiltskin, Greek/Roman mythology, Celtic Folklore, among others) that I really enjoyed. It could have been tightened up. The pacing could have been worked on a little and the characterization of some could have been better [cough]


(show spoiler)

[cough], but all in all a really enjoyable read.