Title: Crimson Bound
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Genre: Young Adult, Retellings, Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, 448 pages
Publishing Information: May 5th 2015 by Balzer + Bray
Source: ARC for Review
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 read Cruel Beauty a few months ago and fell in love with Rosamund Hodge’s writing style. She does a beautiful job of writing dark and compelling retellings that have a unique setting. I was really excited to pick up Crimson Bound, which is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, and I ended up greatly enjoying the world that Rosamund Hodge created.
Crimson Bound starts off with a prologue of Rachelle’s life when she is fifteen years old and is receiving training from her aunt on how to use magic to protect her village. Although Rachelle has everything she needs, she longs for adventure and a bit of danger — soon enough, she commits a horrible mistake and loses everything that she once had. Three years pass by and she finds herself living a life in which she serves the King and fights evil creatures. When Rachelle is picked to help guard the King’s son, Armand, they quickly learn that they have to work together to save the world from dark magic and a returning evil force.
Within a few pages of reading this book, I was completely pulled into Rachelle’s story and wanted to find out about the mystery surrounding various events. This book is quite complicated though in terms of the number of characters and tales woven into overall plot so it did take me a few chapters to fully understand the world that Rosamund Hodge created. Once I fell more into the rhythm of the book, I began to really enjoy reading about the magical elements and dark forces that were emerging in Rachelle’s world. I particularly enjoyed learning about the Devourer and trying to figure out the secrets surrounding his return.
The characters in this book are well-developed, complex, and full of surprises. I quickly learned that nobody was who they really seemed at first. The main characters, Rachelle, Armand, and Erec are all intriguing characters with dark pasts. There is a large amount of tension between all the characters and it isn’t until the very end, when everything is revealed, that you truly understand the nature of their relationships.
My two main issues with this book are the pacing and the romance. At times, the book dragged a bit, especially towards the beginning. However, once I got more than halfway through, the plot quickly picked up. In terms of the romance, even though I liked Armand and Rachelle separately, I just didn’t entirely love the idea of their getting together. They fall in love quite early on and I just wasn’t convinced by their dialogue with each other; there are quite a few moments when their declarations of love just seemed a bit forced.
Fans of Cruel Beauty and other darker retellings will really enjoy this book. Crimson Bound is full of twists and will definitely take you on an intense journey. It is beautifully written and takes a unique and magical spin on a tale that we’ve all heard before.