Published by Balzer + Bray
Published on May 5th 2015
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
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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.)
I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
You’d be entirely forgiven for thinking that Crimson Bound had something to do with Hodge’s first novel, Cruel Beauty.
- Both books reference red on the cover.
- Both cover make use of the initials CB
- Both books use the same font for the title
- Both books feature a spiral on the cover
- With a girl wearing red
- running up/down the spiral staircase
Yes, you’d easily be forgiven for thinking, at first glance, that these books were related, or at least similar.
You wouldn’t be entirely wrong.
While Crimson Bound is not part of the Cruel Beauty universe, it does have some remarkable similarities between the pages as well:
- Both books feature an independent, fierce headstrong teen female lead
- Who needs to explore the building she is trapped in
- To find something that will save her world from destruction.
- Meanwhile, there’s a love triangle
- Between a cocky boy and a gentle one
- And they are both so beautiful it hurts.
- One of them is meant to be off-limits
- But she dithers backwards and forwards between both of them.
- The gentle one appears to betray her.
- She gives herself to the cocky one.
- The sex is her first time
- And it comes out of ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE. Like, one moment, hello, next moment, BANG. SEXYTIMES.
- In the end she betrays her people to save them.
Yep, you’d be entirely forgiven for thinking these books were somehow related.
But they’re not.
Crimson Bound is told from third person point of view and the worldbuilding is deeper and more complex than Cruel Beauty’s. It’s also half inspired by Little Red Riding Hood and The Girl with No Hands, which is itself a batshit INSANE fairy tale, so Crimson Bound is kind of half batshit insane itself. It doesn’t stick to its own worldbuilding rules (once early on and then once much, much later into the book), which is very frustrating, because apart from that there’s some really beautiful ideas (bound by a crimson thread! A Wild Hunt of forestborn, some kind of demi-god creature), recurring motifs (the forest, the sun and moon), and prose in there.
Rachelle’s a likeable protagonist. I always like the baddest good guy trope, the character who’s a good guy but does the dirty work of bad guys the real good guys won’t do. Rachelle complains a bit about being bloodborn but she really revels in the excuse it gives her to be bloodthirsty.
Like Cruel Beauty, I just get the feeling Crimson Bound wasn’t entirely thought out, planned ahead, or fleshed out as I would want the end product to be.
And this is how I see the Devourer. Unfortunately it wasn’t half as epic.