Friday, August 21, 2015

Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

 Crimson Bound 

Synopsis: When Rachelle was fifteen she was good - apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But when Rachelle was fifteen she was also reckless - straying from the forest path in the pursuit 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 giver 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? 

Date Published: May 5, 2015
Published By: Balzer + Bray
Number of Pages: 441
Rating: 4/5

I loved Rosamund Hodge's debut novel Cruel Beauty and was stoked to read her follow-up Crimson Bound, her retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. While I didn't fall in love with Crimson Bound like I did Cruel Beauty, I still thought it was an ambitious and well-written fairy tale retelling. 

I guess I'll start off by talking about the problems I had with this book. I found it a little hard to connect with the characters. Rachelle is a total badass, brave and resourceful but her character seemed a little confused to me. I wasn't sure if she liked being a warrior or if it troubled her. She seemed to go back and forth a lot. I understand a person could feel both things at the same time but I don't think it was portrayed very well. I found the love interest Armand to be a little bit boring to be honest. I didn't get a great sense of chemistry between the two and Rachelle made the inexplicable switch from loathing him to falling in love with him. Just all of sudden one night, she's like 'I'm in love with him.' And I was just like 'Really? Where the hell did that come from?' So the romance fell a little flat for me.

Another problem I had was that there is a lot of mythology in this book about the Great Forest and the Forestborn and the Bloodbound and the Devourer that it is a little hard to keep straight. There are two legendary warriors with two legendary swords, all with names I can't remember. It's all supposed to tie together in the end but, to be perfectly honest, I had no idea what happened in the end. Not a clue what was supposed to be going on or why it was happening. 

You're probably wondering why I gave this book 4 out of 5. I gave it a higher rating because I admire Rosamund Hodge's ambition in telling such a complex story with a lot of different moving parts and I love her writing. I just think Cruel Beauty worked a lot better than Crimson Bound. 

You know what I wish? I wish Crimson Bound had been a series instead of a standalone. At the very least, a duology because I think that would give her the space to develop the world and the mythology a little better. It was all just so dense and tightly packed into one novel that it was difficult to unravel. 

I am still a fan of Rosamund Hodge's work and I am eagerly awaiting her next book, which will actually be the first book in planned series. I think Hodge's undeniable creativity will be better suited to a series instead of standalones. 

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