Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Posted May 1, 2015 by Carmel in Carmel, Fantasy, Reviews, Young Adult / 29 Comments

Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
Published by Balzer + Bray
Published on: May 5, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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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.

Creative Young Adult Cover Love

I stumbled upon this novel while visiting Kim’s blog (Book Swoon), and I have 0 willpower vis-à-vis wolves, so the LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD retelling aspect intrigued me, and honestly, who could say no to that cover!? Rosamund Hodge dazzled me with her creativity, writing, and whimsy, although I did find the story rather busy because as a stand-alone a lot needed to be packed into one volume. I could have done without the love triangle, and the Devourer’s defeat at the hands of a knitting needle set a new record for the lamest killing tool in all of Fantasy.

The author’s world-building and lore were the highlights of CRIMSON BOUND. I enjoyed untangling the unknowns of Rachelle’s universe, and what it meant to be a woodwife, bloodbound and forestborn. There were flashbacks of how Zisa & Tyr held the Great Forest at bay the first time as well as several different versions of their legendary triumph which is where the riddle of Joyeuse & Durendal—the two swords capable of slaying the Big Bad Wolf—originated. It was quite exquisite how all of the fragments came together, and many of the characters had poker faces that would fool their own mothers.

The Rachelle / Erec / Armand romance was completely unnecessary, and gave me the impression that it was included simply because a book can’t truly be considered Young Adult without a triangle which is so not true by the way. The heroine seemingly realized that she loved two guys overnight, and both were kooky choices. I liked d’Anjou & Vareilles as individuals, but as suitors neither really lit my fire. One was evil while as the other was a saint which made the options too radical for my tastes; I’m a boy next door kind of girl, however perhaps fans of the good/bad trope will be ok with it.

The threads coalesced nicely as the story came to a close, and there were plenty of surprises that made me say “Ooh!” The barriers that Rachelle had to surmount were varied, and came from within as well as without. After the protagonist’s two part stand-off with the lindenworm; I was salivating in anticipation of the bloodshed that would surely ensue when she faced the Devourer. I’ll admit that it was clever, although after a novel-long search for a sword, I would have preferred an epic battle that ended with decapitation or evisceration as opposed to the tidy reality of Hodge’s conclusion. It was too easy.

CRIMSON BOUND had big teeth, but its bite was a kinda weak; recommended with reservations.

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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29 responses to “Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

  1. I’m very excited about this book. I have thing for little red riding hood retellings. I’ll have to go tentatively into this one for the issues you bring up about it. Thanks for the review!

  2. There’s just something about the authors writing that has the ability to take me away with her descriptive and almost lyrical writing that keeps me turning the pages. Rochelle, as a heroine, was dark and gritty and walked a gray line which I thought was a nice and unexpected change for ya. I was hoping for more, epic battle time too though in this one. And what? You did not like the knitting needles part? Great review, Carmel 🙂
    Kim { Book Swoon } recently posted…The Waterborne Blade by Susan Murray

  3. AH, I am seeing so much love for this book but I just cannot get into it! I made it to 50% and haven’t picked it up in a week!

    I must not have hit the point with the love triangle, and that is really disappointing that it’s there at all. 🙁 Honestly, when Erec was first introduced I thought he was the only love interest. haha

    Glad you see you liked this one, overall!
    tonyalee recently posted…Mini Reviews | April 2015

  4. It’s irritating when romance happens overnight, especially if a triangle is involved. Speaking of which, surely there aren’t still people who believe this to be a YA must? Lol 🙂 But if the world is expertly built, which I think is the case, I’ll try it anyway. It’s a dang compulsion! 😀
    Ramona recently posted…Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar

  5. Jessica from a GREAT read  

    Nice review! Seeing mixed feedback on this one. But since I loved Cruel Beauty I still plan to read this! Though the idea of a love triangle for the sake of having a love triangle does annoy me. Getting tired of that, especially when it’s so forced. There are so few good love triangles that actually make sense. But oh well. That’s an ages long discussion for another day! LOL! Great review! Glad to hear that despite a few mishaps this was an enjoyable read! Great review!
    Jessica recently posted…Follow Friday

  6. At first I completely avoided Cruel Beauty. It just didn’t seem like something I would enjoy all that much but I do love the sounds of this one since everyone keeps raving about it during this blog tour. Although I’ve heard mixed things about which book is better (Cruel Beauty or this one) i’m intrigued enough to finally start them! Fabulous review Carmel 🙂
    Lily recently posted…The Summer After You and Me: Review

  7. Ah crap! Pardon my french, but c’mon love triangle really. Agrr I’m pulling my hair out. I was so expecting this one as I knew that Rosamound is amazing with retellings and all, but why love triangle. I’ll have to sleep on it and probably read it later on. Great review.
    Tanja recently posted…Review: Confess by Colleen Hoover

  8. I was wondering if this was somehow connected to Hodge’s debut novel, but apparently they’re only similar in covers and in being a fairy tale retelling. While I haven’t read any of her works, I heard the first one was really good. And maybe this wasn’t as good as it should be. That ending does sound disappointing. But since I love fairy tale retellings, I think I would definitely read Hodge’s books. In fact, I have the first one so I should be able to read that some time soon.
    Francine Soleil recently posted…Musings: Looking Back at Old Reviews

  9. Have you read Cruel Beauty? There is a completely unnecessary love triangle in that one, but it makes a lot more sense than what’s going on here.

    AND YES, death by knitting needles – not the coolest way for a baddie to go out! Glad you enjoyed it least, I wish there were more wolves though. ):
    Amber Elise recently posted…Book Review: Crimson Bound

  10. Why on earth must a love-triangle exist in every single YA book!? The world building sounds pretty good. But, you’ve sort of put me off the end of the book. I enjoy a good epic battle! Great review Carmel! :]

  11. I liked this one, it made me think on many aspects of Cruel Beauty but it was an interesting read and I liked to see the ideas of the author too. I think I had a bit the same feeling about it. Nice review!

  12. Nicole from Feed Your Fiction  

    I’m reading this one now – I’m about halfway through. (You might want to put a spoiler tag on the weapon used – now every time I see one in the book, I’m thinking I know what’s going to happen!) I agree that it is a lot to be stuffed into one book. I’m interested to see that there’s a bit of a love triangle – so far I haven’t felt a HUGE connection between her and either of the guys, so we’ll see how that pans out. 🙂
    Nicole recently posted…Top Ten Books I’ll (Probably) Never Read

  13. I agree that this was pretty busy, although I actually thought the knitting needle was pretty cool! Maybe more so because of its backstory though, and less as a killing weapon. The Zisa and Tyr flashbacks were my favourite part of the whole book; Hodge’s writing in those sections was absolutely beautiful.
    Danya recently posted…Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge