Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Release Date: May 5th, 2014
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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!~
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