By: Celine | May 2, 2015 | (41) Comments

Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund HodgeCrimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Release Date: May 5th, 2014
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
Goodreads | Purchase

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.

I have read Hodge’s debut novel, Cruel Beauty, twice, one time disliking it and one time loving it. They were very different reading experiences, but one thing remained the same: Rosamund Hodge knows how to build a complex and intricate world, and she can write. She continues this trend with her latest, Crimson Bound.

I fell in love with Crimson Bound from the very first sentence. Hodge’s writing is distant and atmospheric, wild and lush. There is a certain quality to it that completely immerses you in the world she’s created, and it works so well. With every page I turned I could see the Forest from the corner of my eyes, patterned shadows of leaves and wind howling through the trees. There’s the constant, pressing dread of the Devourer, bringer of eternal darkness after eating both sun and moon. The writing gripped me.

The story, as I’ve come to expect of Hodge, is also intricate. She masterfully weaves together the plot and the lore of the world she’s created, and everything just works. Rachelle is a bloodbound, having been marked by a forester when she was young and having to kill someone to save her own skin. Since that moment, she’s belonged to the Forest, making her stronger, faster and universally feared. Now, she knows there’s a threat: the Devourer is on the rise, and no one but Rachelle seems to take this seriously. So she embarks on a quest to find the one weapon with which she can kill the Devourer.

Despite the beauty and complexity of Crimson Bound, there were a few problems I had with it. It, unlike Cruel Beauty, is written from a third-person POV, creating an emotional distance between the characters and the reader. The characters, in my opinion, aren’t fully developed. Of course we do get insight into these characters, mainly Rachelle, but there was just that final bit missing that would have made her feel undeniably real. Because of this, I also wasn’t a fan of the romance – after all, it’s all about two characters connecting, and if those characters aren’t developed to their full potential, the romance will miss that spark. However, the romance isn’t the focus of Crimson Bound – Hodge never lets it overshadow the plot. Rachelle’s quest is always the most important thing, and she doesn’t let herself get distracted by boys.

In all, I thought this to be rather good. Crimson Bound is sure to captivate readers with its complex story and atmospherical writing. While the characters could use a little more development and spark, Crimson Bound is a solid novel that fans of Cruel Beauty will appreciate – and who knows? Maybe those who weren’t a fan of Cruel Beauty will also love this. I know I did.

~Thank you Balzer + Bray for the review copy!~

4 Stars
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Celine is 17 years old and from the Netherlands. Quite obviously, she loves books! She has been a reader for as long as she can remember, and she believes she will be a reader forever. Celine is also obsessed with food, and loves singing along to music as loud as possible, dancing and doodling on nearly everything.

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41 Responses to Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

  1. Ah yes, totally sitting in the same boat as you! I really enjoyed the uniqueness, but I didn’t connect with Rachelle. The romance was a bit strange, but I did really like Armand, haha.
    Great review, Celine!
    Cyn @ Book Munchies recently posted…Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund HodgeMy Profile

  2. Tanja says:

    I loved Cruel Beauty so now I really have high expectations for Crimson Bound. That’s the main reason I’ll stay away from it for a while, just until everything calms down a bit. But I must say that I’m so so happy that it still has that dose of Rosamund I loved in the previous one. I cannot wait to feel it again. Lovely review 🙂
    Tanja recently posted…Review: Confess by Colleen HooverMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      Ah, I can totally understand that! Sometimes your own expectations can ruin a book for you. And yes, it’s definitely very Rosamund, haha.
      Thanks Tanja <33

  3. Ksenia says:

    Fantastic review, Celine! I’m dying to read this book! I agree that Hodge’s writing is atmospheric and lush. I didn’t know Crimson Bound is written from a third-person POV, I often feel disconnected with characters in this case.
    Ksenia recently posted…Review: The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle KennedyMy Profile

  4. To be completely honest, I was a bit iffy on Cruel Beauty, but I’m still really interested in giving this one a try because LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD. ♥ I’m actually auditioning in a play (Into the Woods) for the role of Little Red Riding Hood in a few weeks, so this will definitely be an interesting pre-audition read. 😉 Thanks for sharing, and, as always, fabulous review Celine!
    Zoe @ Stories on Stage recently posted…Vanishing GirlsMy Profile

  5. Oh YAY YOU LIKED IT!! I’ve only seen negative reviews so far and I was getting soooo worried, because I really loved Cruel Beauty. Well, ACTUALLY, I had a hot and cold relationship with Cruel Beauty. Like I was dubious at the beginning and in love by the end, so yes. x) I’m still definitely going to read this one eventually! And I love 3rd person, so I’m kind of looking forward to that.
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…Weekly Fury #48 // my post went viral (!!!) 100 books (!!) and April Wrap Up (!)My Profile

    • Celine says:

      Ooh, really? I have to admit I haven’t seen a lot of reviews for this one at all. Really curious what you’ll think of this one, so definitely let me know! 😀

  6. I can’t WAIT to read this. I already have Cruel Beauty and haven’t read it yet, hahah. I’m making my sister buy this one for my birthday 🙂
    Emily @ Loony Literate recently posted…It’s a Loony Life (10) – the HSC is kicking my buttMy Profile

  7. I dnf-ed Cruel Beauty!! Maybe I’ll try it again and end up loving it just like what happened to you. Haha! I have e arc of this book but still untouched. I’m too scared that I won’t like it. But thanks for this review, it gave me a little nudging. I might binge Cruel Beauty then read this one. Great review Celine! 🙂
    Paula M. @ Her Book Thoughts! recently posted…ARC REVIEW: Love, Lucas by Chantele Sedgwick + Giveaway!!My Profile

    • Celine says:

      Haha, yeah Cruel Beauty was pretty strange for me in that way. I hope that if you do read it, you’ll like it 🙂 I do think this is pretty different from Cruel Beauty so maybe you’ll have more luck with this one!
      Thanks <33

  8. Melanie says:

    It’s so great that you enjoyed this one, Celine! I’ve been hearing that this one isn’t as good as Cruel Beauty which is such a shame but definitely expected if the story was written in 3rd person. I personally am not a fan of 3rd person at all so I’m defs lowering my expectations when I go into this one.

    Lovely review, hun <33

    • Celine says:

      Yeah I have this strange relationship with 3rd person – I usually think the writing is more beautiful but I don’t really connect to the characters. There are of course a few exceptions, but still 😛

      Thanks girl <33

  9. Lyn Kaye says:

    I am shocked that this is told in third person. If nothing else I loved how Cruel Beauty had a lot of emotional turmoil from the MC during the story. It really help to flesh out the darker mood of the novel.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Nest N’ News: April Wrap UpMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      Yes, I was pretty surprised too! I think 3rd person worked pretty well for the writing but I didn’t connect to the characters like I did with Cruel Beauty.

  10. To be honest, from the summary, I kinda did not see the similarity between this book and Little Red Riding Hood. But I think I’m still going to read it since it’s interesting!

    Great review, Celine!
    Tiffany @ The Bookish Thought recently posted…Review : Meant to Be by Lauren MorrillMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      I think the similarity is most clear in the beginning of the book, because after that it starts taking its own path. But it was still really good 🙂
      Thank you Tiffany <33

  11. Lovely review! Gosh, this books sounds absolutely incredible. I’ve had Cruel Beauty sitting on my shelf for quite some time now, only I haven’t had the time to read it… yet. But her writing style and fairytale-esque storylines sounds like something I would love. I’m glad you like this one!
    Kara @ Diary of a Teen Writer recently posted…Sunday Weekly Wrap Up (60) & Stacking the Shelves (40)My Profile

  12. I still have to read Cruel Beauty and I do hope to remedy that before my copy of Crimson Bound arrives here, because I got it preordered because it sounds so intriguing!

    Glad to hear you really enjoyed it, despite not connecting fully with the characters and that the romance never felt like it overshadowed the plot!

    Great review Celine!
    Pili @ In Love With Handmade recently posted…Saturday Pages: Mini-reviews for Rogue & Magonia!!My Profile

    • Celine says:

      Ahh, hope you’ll love it! Hodge’s writing style is simply gorgeous and the world building is intense so I could forgive my lack of connection to the characters 🙂
      Thanks Pili <33

  13. Kirsty-Marie says:

    Yeah, that is always my problem when it’s written in third person, I mean, there are the exceptions, but most of the time it’s the same. 🙁 I still loved her though, I wasn’t that into the romance either, but like you said, it wasn’t the focus and it never overtook the story, so I didn’t mind it that much. One things clear though, any other books she writes, whatever they’re about, I’m reading.
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: The Lie TreeMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      Agreed with all of this. I’m sad I didn’t connect more to the characters and romance but Hodge’s writing and superb plotting ensured that I’d read any book of hers!

  14. Johanna Richards says:

    Nice review, Celine! So great to see that you liked this one so much. The cover is so gorgeous!!

  15. I’m really loving the new look! I was so surprised when I wouldn’t get any e-mail notification from this blog until i decided to check and realized it was under construction. I’m loving it 🙂 Now onto the review. I really like this cover and I have heard a lot about this series. I need to add it to my TBR. I was never sure if I should add it or not but as always, your reviews help a lot!
    Genesis @ Latte Nights Reviews recently posted…Review: Black Iris by Leah RaederMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      Haha, thanks! We’ve been pretty busy but we’re really happy with the new design 🙂 And aww, thanks! I hope you’ll like it 🙂

  16. Christy says:

    That’s funny how you had such different experiences with Cruel Beauty. I loved it the first and only time I read it. lol. And yup, I enjoyed this one too. Rosamund certainly knows what she’s doing.
    Christy recently posted…Crimson Bound by Rosamund HodgeMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      Haha yes, the first time around I had some problems with it but the second time everything just sort of clicked. And yess, Rosamund’s plotting is just amazing.

  17. So glad to hear you enjoyed this book Celine, although I’ve heard a few criticisms about Rachelle’s character, as snarky as she sounds. I’m actually quite surprised this one is in third person, as Cruel Beauty was the first. Still can’t wait to read it though! Lovely review girl <3
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes Review: Diverse & light thrillerMy Profile

  18. Benish says:

    I did like Crimson Bound, but Cruel Beauty was my favorite out of all of her books. This is one fantasy novel I could re-read though, lovely review <3
    Benish recently posted…ARC Review: 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger ♥My Profile

  19. Hah! I wasn’t a fan of Cruel Beauty at all, and absolutely loved this one, which was a surprise. I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps 3rd person works better for me than 1st person does, because it just felt more whimsical and atmospheric this time around. Sorry to see that you didn’t connect that much to Rachelle! 🙁 She was a pretty good heroine in my opinion, although a bit more polishing would have made it much better, that I agree.
    Faye le Potato recently posted…Review: Threats of Sky and Sea by Jennifer EllisionMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      That’s funny, because most people say it’s the other way around – 3rd person doesn’t work as well for them. But I agree, there’s something about 3rd person that made this more atmospheric. I usually find that novels written in 3rd person have better writing, or for me at least, but that I connect less to the characters! 🙂

  20. From The Witch Snitch (
    I just discovered this series and added it to my to-read list. When this happens I’m always like – how did I miss this?!?! Gonna follow you! Come check me out.
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  21. Haniya says:

    I agree with you!! The romance was well not romance… 😀 D’anjou just disappeared and Armand, the most confusing character!!
    Haniya recently posted…Crimson Bound by Rosamund HodgeMy Profile

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