Author: Rosamund Hodge
My rating: 5 of 5 Stars
When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.
Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?
Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.
Like Rosamund Hodge’s first novel Cruel Beauty, Crimson Bound was very atmospheric. The author created rich, full of lore world.
I love that she doesn’t just write retellings. She uses the original fairy tale as an inspiration and creates her own unique and alluring story. There were short chapters of legends throughout the main story and they added this dark edge.
“she wasn’t like any of the heroines in those stories”
Rosamund Hodge like no one can write unlikable angry heroines, full of guilt and self-loathing. Heroines that make bad and unmoral things. But I love them. I loved Nyx from Cruel Beauty and I fell in love with Rachelle. My friend Keertana had an amazing guest post with Rosamund Hodge on her blog. If you want to know why the author wrote such female characters, check it out here.
The aspect of the book that had the strongest impact on me was the unthinkable choice in front of Rachelle. She did an awful thing; yes she was tricked, but a person died because of her. Now she faces consequences.
“Every day for the last three years, she had thought she deserved to die.
She still didn’t want to. She wanted to live with every filthy, desperate scrap of her heart.”
I loved the dynamic of Armand and Rachelle’s relationship. At first she considered him a fraud and despised him for that. Later they formed an untrusted partnership which transformed into friendship and finally love. They are very different persons, but somehow they complement each other.
“Armand was the one who knew how to speak, anyway. He smiled and turned his words into knives that sliced out answers and distinctions. She was just the girl who plunged blindly ahead and doomed herself doing it.”
The romance wasn’t the main focus of the story, but it was unique. I’m in owe of Rosamund Hodge. To create a love interest who doesn’t have hands! I hope she would write NA or Adult. There were so many alluring possibilities in all her books which were not explored because of YA limitations. Though, in comparison to Cruel Beauty this book was surprisingly sensual and steamy.
“And then she felt it again: the sudden, sharp awareness of wanting to touch him, of the space between them as an open wound, of her own body being jumbled and awkward and far too separate when she could be pressed against him, waist to waist and chin to shoulder and her fingers sliding into that pale brown hair”
Rosamund Hodge created very interesting second characters. Erec was such a complex character. I can’t fully discuss him without spoilers, I just say that he intrigued and fascinated me. Despite his choices and his acts I couldn’t hate him, just like Rachel.
This book was surprisingly action packed. I expected something like Cruel Beauty in this aspect: a lot of mental battles, but nonexistent physical ones. But in Crimson Bound Rosamund Hodge gave the reader a lot of fighting scenes. I’m sure many readers will be thrilled. Since I’m not actually a big fan of action-packed books, this aspect was just ok for me.
Writers creating fantasy and retellings have to choose between romance and plot. More often than not they choose the latter and write plot-driven action-packed books. But I prefer romantic stories. I know, I know, they are criticized for shaky world-building or lack of action, but I love them. I will choose romantic story to action-packed book every time. Rosamund Hodge in Crimson Bound managed to deliver both aspects. Plot is very engaging; there are a lot of action scenes and the romance is wonderful.
The author created an original story with dark atmosphere and complex characters facing impossible choices. It’s beautifully written, thought-provoking and very entertaining. I loved this unique book and can’t wait what Rosamund Hodge comes up with next. Highly recommended.