My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is her debut effort?! Fuck me and my writerly pretensions.
The story plucks out the father bargains daughter away to monster theme from Beauty and the Beast (or La Belle et la Bete) and then turns the self-sacrificing Belle on her head and makes her MAD at the world for the unfairness of it all. It’s brilliant. Nyx has been brought up to sacrifice herself because her father made a fool’s bargain. And because the monster in her future is also the wizard who oppresses the world, her father spent years training her in hermetic magic so she can kill the beast and free her people. Nyx has submitted to it because she has no other options and duty has been drilled into her. But girl is full to the brim with anger, resentment, and guilt at being so wicked at heart. It’s hilarious and touching and heart-felt. Nyx has a LOT of suppressed anger and when she finally meets the monster who tricked her father into bartering away one of his daughters, the Prince of Demons is faced with a wife who will spit on his face sooner than tremble in fear. They clash and they fight, and slowly, they become friends. Ignifex — not his real name, but the only one he can give her — is the first person to ever see Nyx for the flawed, angry, vindictive, kind, passionate person she is and love her anyway. It doesn’t wash away the thousands he has hurt through bargains made over centuries, but it bonds them in a way that make Nyx want to help instead of kill the evil trickster. Years of brainwashing clashes against a growing love, and Nyx has to choose between saving her world and saving her husband. It’s an intense read but very satisfying. By the end, you KNOW why Nyx and Ignifex love each other. They are wicked together. =D
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