Cruel Beauty is 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!
At birth, Nyx was fated to marry The Gentle Lord. Her father made a desperate deal with a nefarious demon, and the result was that she would die while her twin sister would live. Jealous of her sister and frightened by the arrangement, Nyx is determined to kill the Gentle Lord instead of the other way around. Newly wed, Nyx searches in her new abode for clues as to how to kill her husband. Along the way she comes across a new friend, a potential enemy and the knowledge that there’s more to her despicable husband than meets the eye. (BALZER + BRAY, Feb., 352 pp., $17.99, ISBN: 9780062224736, HC, 13 & Up)