The thing I love about this column is not only is it a celebration of characters we love but an introduction to characters people can love. I’ve recently fallen in love with this book character, along with the entire story. I think I fell in love with the character’s attitude and his similarity to Howl, from Howl’s Moving Castle. I have a personal weakness for redemptive characters with hidden sides. They are even better when they are in a strange retelling of Beauty and the Beast with various mythologies mixed in. Today I present to you Ignifex.
Who is He?
Ignifex (not his real name) is the antagonist in Rosamund Hodge’s Cruel Beauty novel. Ignifex is a demon called the Gentle Lord and the people of Arcadia fear him. He makes devilish bargains that backfire on the people who make them. For 900 years, people have tried to figure out how to defeat him. Ignifex is like most demons: cruel, handsome, and full of secrets.
Ignifex has red, cat-like eyes.
“He was my enemy. He was evil. He wasn’t even human. I should have been disgusted, but just like the last time, I couldn’t help myself any more than water could stop itself running downhill.”
Why So Crushworthy?
There is something about a character who gets vilified without the truth being known. They are the tragic hero who gets duped by fate and turns into the world’s greatest monster. Ignifex is this character but he also plays the nonchalant demon extremely well. His uncaring attitude about the deals he makes with mortals stems from knowing that these deals are made with greed and hatred. Ignifex has seen so much human darkness that it’s made him jaded. He has stopped caring about being perceived as evil as well. His flippant attitude and Casanova style remind me of Howl. Howl lost his heart and Sophie helped him find it again. In Ignifex’s case, the heroine is trying to destroy him and free Arcadia. However, it isn’t long before she starts seeing what lies beneath the evil façade.
I’m happy that Cruel Beauty is female led, but Ignifex is just so interesting. My soft spot for characters of his type was ready to be hit. His hopelessness of never being free of his curse makes him vulnerable. It’s amazing to see his transformation when he starts to have hope that he no longer be a demon. He starts to truly love and respect Nyx. Some scenes really did remind me of when Howl’s human side made him gentle and protective towards Sophie. Ignifex showed off the cockiness I love, as well as scoring points for seeing Nyx as an equal. There are many more quirks that make this character crushworthy, but I suggest you read the book.