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 hunt for the legendary sword that might save their world. Together, they navigate the opulent world of the courtly elite, where beauty and power reign and no one can be trusted. And as they become unexpected allies, they discover 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.
Let me start off by saying I think Rosamund Hodge has a great theme going with her different takes on classical fairy tales. In Crimson Bound, she managed to take the story of Little Red Riding Hood and twist it into a tale where Little Red Riding Hood is not some frail, weak, innocent little girl. I actually enjoyed parts of the mythology Hodge included, especially in regards to the blood bound and forestborn.
That being said, I have to admit this book is a mess. For one, much like Cruel Beauty, Crimson Bound takes place three thousand years after a pivotal event. This is noteworthy because it’s the first sign that Hodge lacks the ability to create separate books. Sure enough, as you continue on with the book, you discover the story line almost shadows that of Cruel Beauty. Yes, it’s true that Rachelle’s role in the book is as more of an antihero, but nonetheless, half of the book is geared around her trying to locate an ancient, mythical sword that can be used to save her world.
Also, I found myself struggling to become invested in the characters and the story itself. In fact, it’s not until around page 300 that I actually found myself interested by the events that were going on. Of course, this is short lived as the author loses her momentum in the final chapters. Even the obvious misleading description of Amelie and the revelation of who/what she truly is, is a let down. And the love interest between Armand and Rachelle, not only lacked chemistry, but also made very little sense. In fact, the most interesting thing about this book is Erec, who turns out to be more than the head of the King’s blood born, but also the forestborn who originally marked Rachelle. But even my in him wavered as he allows himself to be devoured by the Devourer, with Rachelle. His declaration of admiration and love for her left a sour taste in my mouth, as it made him look pathetic and weak, despite the fact he definitely cared more about serving the Devourer for eternity, than Rachelle.
Normally, I would assume this story just rubbed me the wrong way and perhaps that’s the case. But so did the first one. Since both had some very different issues with the plotting and pacing, I’ll reserve my decision on whether to continue with this author when/if she decides to publish a third book. Until then, I’ll give this three stars for the potential of the author and the story, as well as the creative twist on this classic tale.