Cruel Beauty Audiobook by Rosamund Hodge

Posted by on Mar 22, 2014 in Reviews | 16 comments

Review of: Cruel Beauty Audiobook
Rosamund Hodge

Reviewed by:
On March 22, 2014
Last modified:November 10, 2015


Cruel Beauty Audiobook

By: Rosamund Hodge

Narrated by: Elizabeth Knowelden

Published by: Harper Collins 01/24/2014

Cruel Beauty Audiobook


4 Hearts rating image Hot ListensCruel Beauty Universe # 1

10 hrs and 17 mins

YA fantasy logo5

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom – all because of a reckless bargain her father struck. And since birth, she has been training to kill him.

Betrayed by her family yet bound to obey, Nyx rails against her fate. Still, on her 17th birthday, she abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, disarm him, and break the 900-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not 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. But even if she can bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him?

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

©2014 Rosamund Hodge (P)2014 HarperCollinsPublishers

Cruel Beauty Audiobook Sample

My thoughts


I added this book to my wish list as soon as I was done reading a review at Christy’s Love For Books. I really got intrigued by what she had to say about this new “dark” version of one  of my favorite fairy tales.

A retelling of a fairy tale they say? Not so fast! Despite the clear undertones of the well known tale, Ms. Hodge has clearly  gone beyond re-imagining  and has made a Beauty and the Beast of her own.

Promised in marriage to the very monster responsible for the enslaved of her people , Nyx Triskelion must now fulfill her destiny – through her eyes, we are taken to Aracadia and to a fantasy world ruled by a demon prince.

She’s ready to embrace her destiny, hoping that all the years of training towards her goal will prove sufficient to finally destroy her family and kingdom’s enemy, The Gentle Lord.

How can you let love get in the way of accomplishing the mission that was entrusted on you from the day you were born? How can you love the very being you came to destroy? In there lays the foundation for the love story, not an easy one, and a dark one at times.

Nyx accepted her fate long ago, but not without losing a little bit of her soul, so her anger and bitterness are well understood, not an easy task to pick between her heart desires, and the responsibility to free her people.

In another departure from the original tale, the heroine will find her heart torn between two loves. In a very ingenious spin, the author give us a triangle that adds the perfect amount of angst to the story, without overpowering or undermining the plot, but I won’t deny that it will tug your heart, and it has to, when an author creates such real chemistry between the characters, it’s inevitable.

The world building is amazing, the descriptive narrative puts you right there. The brilliant way in which she uses Greek mythology is fresh, and for the time I was listening to this story I was completely taken away.

What I loved the most is the complexity of the characters. I never expected to find this kind of duplicity, they’re flawed, and I love that!

The Gentle Lord and is comfortable and unapologetic about his cruelty and yet, you’ll find him charming. This is another reason I enjoyed the book so much.

Ultimately I think it will come down to your like or dislike for these characters what will determine your feelings for the novel, but you won’t be able to deny how well it was written.

Don’t miss your chance to download this audiobook for free at  Sync from May 22 – May 28

The Author

Rosamund Hodge


Rosamund Hodge Author

Cruel Beauty Audibook Narration


Elizabeth Knowelden

Elizabeth Knowelden NarratorMy first thought of the narration was how much older Elizabeth Knowelden sounded for the portrayal of Nyx, but not even 10 minutes into the narration I began to settle, and to accept her performance of  the 17 year-old.

With a clear english accent, Ms. Knowelden easily  transports your mind and heart to the setting.

I love her interpretation on Nyx. Her performance yields a very likable character. Her personality traits were delivered in very balanced manner. You clearly got the sense of her strong and determined temperament,  but at the same time she found a way to let her vulnerabilities come through her performance.

Her voice for The Gentle Lord although not as deep as would have liked for a male, was adequate enough, but I have to give kudos for accurately fleshing out his personality. His devilish tone was perfect, and the character’s charm was easily conveyed, without neglecting the beastly nature behind the voice.

The same goes for shade, a different voice, and another well conveyed  character.

This accurate portrayal of the characters lets you enjoy the story without any distractions.

All in all,  this is avery good and enjoyable performance by narrator Elizabeth knowelden.

Reviewed by:

Loupe Duffy Lupdilup

  • 4
    editor rating
Loupe Duffy
A mom, a wife, a friend, a happy ending addict, an Audiobook junkie, a wine lover and geek wanna -be. I'm constantly looking to be blown away.
Loupe Duffy

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  1. I’m not a big YA reader, but this sounds very adult. And I love new takes on classic fairy tales. This sounds like it could entice me to broaden my horizons.

    • I think you’ll like the beast..LOL He’s a little off the path for a YA book, and you right, this sounded a lot more adult than the audience it’s intended for.

  2. I didn’t read this one, although I think I may have a copy. The world building sounds wonderful and I am so glad you enjoyed it!

    • I think you would enjoy this on audio, the narrator gave it a more adult feeling, and she does a wonderful job bringing the world to life.

  3. Okay that sounds pretty blasted good! I love when authors take something we all know and twist and turn and make it into something all new. Thanks for the heads up Loupe!

    • If you indulge now and again in YA novels, I think you might enjoy this one. The characters were a lot more adult (actions) than what I normally find in this genre.

  4. Great review. I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while but with my current job, there isn’t a lot of reading time. However, an audio book would be perfect since I’m not dealing with people. I was a little nervous about the narrator but I’m glad to hear that in the end Elizabeth did a good job. Now all I have to do is figure out this whole Sync thing.

    • I really enjoyed it, and I dare to say probably more than if had read it instead. The Greek mythology bits were a lot more interesting when they were read to me, I think I might have found them tedious other wise…LOL
      Shoot me any question you have about Sync. If they don’t change anything, I know exactly what you need to do. I’ll be more than happy to help.

  5. This was a good one Franjessca. Very well written and the characters are unconventional. Almost too adult for a YA novel.

  6. I think you’re right–whether or not I like this will ultimately come down to my individual feelings about the characters. I’ve heard so many good reviews and so many bad reviews, that I’m just going to go for it b/c like you, I LOVE retellings of fairytales (they’re typically the only retellings I like). And I think I will like the characters from what I’ve heard about them (even from the naysayers). Great review!

    • Ecxactly Jessica! I happen to like dark characters, and it’s not that these a very dark, but they are definitely more conniving than what you find in you typical YA. The heroine is a little bitter, but she’s driven and strong..I like that…It’s almost like when you get a strong female boss, if she’s strong and forward they call her a bitch, but if is a male boss, they call him determined..LOL

  7. Yay! I’m SO glad you liked this! I absolutely LOVED the characters and their chemistry. I kind of wish this hadn’t been pushed as a retelling though, because I think it would’ve added more intensity to the ending.

    • I did! I loved the characters too. I’m glad I read your review before I read other’s where they didn’t like the heroine, and to be honest, I can’t see why..LOL
      Thank you!

  8. Beauty & The Beast is one of my fav fairy tales too and I like that this is a darker version, because I’m too old for fairy tales now xD. The only thing that keeps me away is the triangle issue. That’s smth I usually avoid when choosing what to read next.

    Either way, I put it on my TBR list :).

    • It’s my favorite too : ) This had a little bit more adult feeling. There’s a lot divided reviews, I liked the characters because they were dark, and the heroine was far from perfect, but a lot peeps didn’t, like that.
      If you do ever read it, I hope you fall with the peeps that enjoyed it 🙂

  9. I’ve been seeing this one around… I wasn’t sure if to read it or to listen to the audiobook… but your review convinced me… I’ll listen to this one soon. 🙂

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