Welcome to #14Debuts! Today I’m featuring:
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund HodgePublication Date: January 28th, 2014 Publisher: Balzer + Bray 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.
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.
I’m a fan of retellings, if pulled off properly. Jackson Pearce is a favorite of mine, and Epic Read’s Epic Chart of YA Retellings is something I’ve been working on lately. About halfway through Cruel Beauty, and really liking it so far!
Book Playlist for Cruel Beauty
Like a lot of authors, I write to music, and I have special playlists for every project. Here are some of the songs that I listened to (again, and again, and again) while writing Cruel Beauty.
1. The Mystic’s Dream – Loreena McKennitt
A clouded dream on an earthly night / Hangs upon the crescent moon / A voiceless song in an ageless light / Sings at the coming dawn / Birds in flight are calling there / Where the heart moves the stones / It’s there that my heart is calling / All for the love of you
This is the theme song for Ignifex’s house. The lyrics are vaguely appropriate, but I picked it more for the music: the vast, haunting sound of the song is just perfect for the vast, ever-changing house.
2. E. T. – Katy Perry
They say be afraid / You’re not like the others, futuristic lover / Different DNA / They don’t understand you / You’re from a whole other world / A different dimension / You open my eyes / And I’m ready to go, lead me into the light
I think there’s a law that if you write a story with a supernatural hottie bad boy, you have to listen to this song on constant repeat.
3. Across The Sky – Emilie Autumn
Close your eyes, regret nothing / You’re safe with me / Look into the shadows / Step into the mist / Search your land but doubt never / I still exist / Across the sky / I will come for you
This song absolutely makes me think of Nyx with her drive to search and discover and protect.
4. Dance With the Devil – Breaking Benjamin
Here I stand, helpless and left for dead. / Close your eyes, so many days go by. / Easy to find what’s wrong, harder to find what’s right.
And those lyrics right there are the central problem of the novel.
5. The Bird and the Worm – The Used
All alone he turns to stone / while holding his breath half to death / Terrified of what’s inside / to save his life he crawls / like a worm from a bird.
This is Ignifex’s theme song, obviously.
6. Sirens Of The Sea – Oceanlab
Leaving reason far behind / Nothing here is cruel or kind / Only your desire to set me free / Let us lie here all alone / Worn away like river stone / Let us be the sirens of the sea
At a certain point in the revisions, my editor told me that Shade needed to be hotter, and there needed to be more kissing with him. This song was pretty much the only music I listened to while working on those scenes, because nothing else had quite the same dreamy, dazed sensuousness.
7. Croatian Rhapsody – Maksim Mrvica
Purely instrumental! So there are no lyrics that remind me of the characters, and yet this song will always make me think of Cruel Beauty, because it’s wild and ferocious and bittersweet.
8. Shattered – Trading Yesterday
And I’ve lost who I am, and I can’t understand. / Why my heart is so broken, rejecting your love
This is one of my favorite songs in the whole world, and I just barely restrained myself from quoting the entire thing, because every line is beautiful and every line is a perfect match for Cruel Beauty. Okay, I guess I’ll quote a few more lines:
All this time spent in vain, wasted years, wasted gain. / All is lost, hope remains, and this war’s not over. / There’s a light, there’s the sun, taking all shattered ones. / To the place we belong, and his love will conquer all.
9. Vanilla Twilight – Owl City
When violet eyes get brighter / And heavy wings grow lighter / I’ll taste the sky and feel alive again / And I’ll forget the world that I knew / But I swear I won’t forget you
And this is the other song that is perfect, and I wish I could quote the whole thing. A song about loving and remembering someone, no matter how much else you forget.
As many times as I blink / I’ll think of you tonight
I love mythology, Hello Kitty, and T. S. Eliot. My debut novel is CRUEL BEAUTY, a YA fairytale fantasy where Greek mythology meets Beauty and the Beast.