Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund HodgeCrimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 5, 2015
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Horror, Retelling, Romance
Pages: 448
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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four-stars

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.

Rosamund Hodge busted onto my radar with her gorgeous cover and even more gorgeous writing in Cruel Beauty. Her debut is dark, luscious, complex, and incredibly sexy. With Crimson Bound, though it’s not a companion, as Hodge has had to stress repeatedly due to cover and title similarity, she tackles similar themes and tropes, coming out with a book that’s completely different in plot but just as gorgeous and intense as her debut. Crimson Bound swept me up in a strange, magical, scary world and didn’t release me from its binding until the final page.

Crimson Bound opens with a very loose Little Red Riding Hood connection. The heroine, Rachelle, has been told not to go into the forest, lest a forestborn mark her for the Devourer. As little girls do, Rachelle ventured into the Great Forest anyway and succumbed to the pretty words and trickiness of a forestborn. There’s something incredibly dark and creepy in the scene where he marks her; he does so in a predatory way with a fierce kiss. After being marked, Rachelle must kill someone in the next three days or else perish.

gif i am not a killer ouat

The darkness of the opening scene sets the tone for the book as a whole. Rachelle does not prove an exception to the rule of killing or dying, and that’s something I love about this book. Rachelle does kill, and she becomes bloodbound, even though she wanted to abstain and die instead. Though Rachelle believes she’ll go to hell for her evil deed, she uses her enhanced strength, speed, and fighting skills to protect people from the woodspawn. Despite the fact that she gets no thanks for this and doesn’t believe she can be redeemed, Rachelle wants to protect as many people as possible before the day she succumbs to the bloodlust and becomes a heartless forestborn herself.

gif i will fight ouat

The world building is really cool and creepy. It does take a few chapters to really come together, but I enjoyed it once I got into the flow of it. The setting takes its foundation from France, much the way that Cruel Beauty used ancient Rome. It’s not actually historical, obviously, but she borrows costumes, names, and elements of royal society. I thought that blend worked really well, making aspects of the world familiar to help ground the reader throughout the parts that were so unique and different.

Like Nyx, Rachelle is prickly and not prone to bonding with other humans. I adore the hell out of Hodge’s heroines. They’re not good at dealing with emotions and most people take them for rude bitches. For the people who care to look past the surface, though, they find that underneath the strength are all those repressed feelings. I mean, Rachelle’s never going to be the belle of the ball, but she’s a loving person who closed up because she thought no one could ever care about her after her wicked deed. These sorts of characters always get me.

gif everyone is right to be afraid ouat

The romance didn’t get quite get to super ship level, but I really liked it. What’s fun is that the bloodbound are really lusty, so Rachelle very much always starts with physical desire, but doesn’t know how to translate that into emotion. There’s a love triangle of sorts, but I personally think it’s one of the good ones. Erec and Armand call to different sides of Rachelle, and I think they’re a metaphor for her larger choices that she needs to make.

gif side to side ouat

Crimson Bound gets really creepy. There’s this one scene that made me shudder because EUGH. There were some aspects of the world building and plotting that did leave me confused, but on the whole I think it all resolved really well. Though some of the small scenes left me unsure what just happened, View Spoiler » I never lost sight of the larger plot. The resolution was powerful and made one of my least favorite tropes work decently well.

If you enjoyed the lush and sexy Cruel Beauty, don’t miss Hodge’s Crimson Bound. Rosamund Hodge’s prose is ridiculously wonderful, and I will read anything this woman writes.

Favorite Quote:

“Whatever possessed you to enter the room in that costume?”

“I wanted all my knives,” Rachelle said.

“My dear, I promise you the repartee is not that cutting.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif smile ouat

10 responses to “Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge”

  1. Meg says:

    I’m reading this after Every Move, this seals it.
    Meg recently posted…Buzz Worthy News: The Non-Apology May 4, 2015My Profile

  2. Juhina says:

    hmm i’ve had this on my radar because i’ve read the first one.. i did not know it has very loose similarities to little red riding hood! now i really want to check it out

    – Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf
    Juhina recently posted…Review: The Secrets We Keep by Trisha LeaverMy Profile

  3. Savannah says:

    I’ve been on the fence about this one for a while, because Cruel Beauty wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. I kind of wish Rosamund Hodge’s works would stop putting comparisons in the summaries… if it’s such a loose translation, then maybe don’t mention it. I probably would have enjoyed Cruel Beauty more if I didn’t have Beauty and the Beast in the back of my mind, you know? Still, great review! 🙂
    Savannah recently posted…Lay it All OutMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Yeah, I do know what you mean. I’d say that I found Crimson Bound a bit more approachable worldbuilding-wise than Cruel Beauty. I struggled with the first two hundred pages of that one until the OTP launched.

      I wouldn’t recommend reading Crimson Bound for the Little Red Riding Hood connection, honestly. I realize my GIFs are misleading, but the GIF inspirations came in this guise. It’s really just the opening scene that has any real Little Red Riding Hood to it. Marketing, people, however, know that readers respond to that sort of marketing, so they milk barely there connections.

  4. Super sad I passed on an ARC of this now. Sounds fabulously fun and diverting. Am tragically wading thru a few reads right now.
    Audra (Unabridged Chick) recently posted…The Antigone Poems by Marie SlaightMy Profile

  5. This one sounds lovely, as does Cruel Beauty. I think I’m the last person that still needs to read that one. I have it on audio and have heard it’s great in that format but it didn’t hook me. Need to just pick up a physical copy maybe.
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday – Due to Size, Still UnreadMy Profile

  6. Oh gosh, I have such a funny relationship with creepy books!! I loooove them but then I’m stuck thinking about them for days (and nights) after. I loved Cruel Beauty and have been looking forward to Crimson Bound, though I can’t say I knew much about it! Your review helped a lot and I really want to read it now. I’m glad you liked it.

  7. Haniya says:

    I just posted its review!! I LOVE Rachael!! Amazing book!
    Haniya recently posted…Crimson Bound by Rosamund HodgeMy Profile

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