Published by Balzer + Bray on 05-05-15
Genres: Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy, Young Adult
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.
(This is a standalone novel, not part of the Cruel Beauty Universe.)
Crimson Bound is so much more than a simple Red Riding Hood retelling – as with Cruel Beauty, Hodge has taken the original story and twisted it to something completely unique, and I loved the story she’s created. The writing is as atmospheric as I expected, and the plot had me hooked – I finished the book in 3 days (2 of which I was supposed to be doing uni work!).
I loved the first three-quaraters or so of the book, but as the pacing picked up and I found myself racing through the final quarter, I found it got a little more complicated to keep up with the twists and turns, which was a bit frustrating. Obviously leaving the reveals towards the end of the book keeps the pages turning, but it did feel a little like too much was dropped at the end, right when things are at their busiest.
Rachelle was an interesting character – although at times she was a bit too self-reflective and critical, she was also quite fierce. Not quite Manon Blackbeak, but no pushover either. There was a romance, which unfortunately was a love triangle, and which I didn’t particularly like. I liked the almost New Adult feeling – the fact that there’s sex, that the characters had pasts, – and I even liked both of the love interests but I didn’t think the love triangle was necessary. For me, one of the love interests was funny and interesting but not a viable partner, and so the triangle just didn’t make any sense.
If you like darker fairytales, this is definitely worth a read, but if you’re a love triangle hater, I don’t think this will convert you!
Buy it? This one would be worth buying in my opinion.
In a nutshell: An addictive story with writing to suck you in and plenty of twists.