Pub: Balzer + Bray May 2015
Rating: 4/5 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.” -Summary, Goodreads.com
As much as I loved Cruel Beauty and fairytales I was definitely excited to read this book. I may disappoint by saying that it wasn’t quite as good as Cruel Beauty. Of course, this could be because I have a soft spot for Beauty and the Beast.
Let me start off by saying that Hodge still kills it with her beautiful world building, lush language and picture painting. Girl kills it. I even missed my train stop because I was so engrossed in it. Also, once again a beautiful embossed hardcover and jacket.
One of my only issues with Cruel Beauty was that I felt that some of her characters needed work, especially the second-level or background characters. Going into this book I felt that way but towards the end I changed my mind. I thought that Erec was multi-layered and so was his relationship with Rachelle. A mark of good character building (hello Orange is the New Black) is when the writer makes me change my mind more than once on how I feel about them. I definitely felt this way with Erec ad Rachelle. Towards the end you realize that Rachelle doesn’t always make the right decisions, that she’s flawed, and I love that. She’s human (well, not really). Without giving away too much, at one point she tells Amelie that she couldn’t have gone on without her, that she would have given in to the forest. And as a reader, I believed that.
A big gripe I had was the summary. This is compared as a re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood…but it isn’t. At all. I think they may have taken this angle to sell more books, but she really doesn’t need it. The forest and perhaps her aunt’s cottage were the only similarities. Some parts were a bit trippy and filled with odd creatures that reminded me of Alice in Wonderland but overall this stands on its own. Not to mention the summary didn’t even include Erec, who was pretty important… I also enjoy reading her acknowledgements because she always lists inspirations.
Crimson Bound had less musings on humanity and life lessons than Cruel Beauty but here’s one quote I liked: “This is the human way, she thought. On the edge of destruction, at the end of all things, we still dance. And hope.” (Hodge, 383).
Overall, I recommend and will continue to read her beautiful books. Any thoughts?