Release date: May 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads
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?
I initially gave this book four stars, but the longer I took to write this review, the less enamoured I was. I really enjoyed reading it at the time, but a few weeks later not as much is standing out to me.
I can’t say it’s really a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. It’s more like one image from the fairytale was used as a prompt for a completely unrelated story. That being said, it was a decent story. It just isn’t a fairytale retelling.
This is the sort of book that would appeal to people who enjoy plot-driven novels featuring stubborn female characters on a mission to save the world. And probably a lot of other people. (I’m not very good at this.)
What I liked:
The writing was really solid. Crimson Bound was really easy to read, and I breezed through it.
I liked Rachelle. She did something awful, and she is trying to make reparations. She let pride win out over the things her elders had taught her and she paid the price. As a Bloodbound, she uses her heightened physical abilities to destroy threats from the Great Forest, choosing to protect humans as penance. I felt that she was a believable and sympathetic main character, but looking back I can also see that she was a bit flat. She had a single minded goal that she pursued, and she didn’t experience that much growth as a character.
I liked the juxtaposition of the Christian-inspired religion of the city and the pagan mythology that still flourished in the more rural areas. I thought the mythology and magic surrounding Woodwives and the Forestborn was interesting too. Woodwives use charms and talismans made from everyday items to cast spells, while Forestborn individuals draw on the power of The Devourer and the Forest. Forestborn can essentially curse humans to become Bloodbound, wherein they start to change into a creature that is not quite human. Bloodbound and Forestborn are stronger, faster, and more violent than humans, which makes them figures to be feared.
I also really appreciated the depiction of a main character with a physical disability. Armand is a bastard prince and has become a double amputee before the story begins. He wears two silver hands, and the struggles he faces both with and without them are explored. Wearing them causes him physical problems and restricts his movements, but he faces shame and people’s pity when he doesn’t.
What I disliked:
There wasn’t anything I really disliked. As I said in the general comments above, I suppose my biggest disappointment was that it was so forgettable.
Have you read any books by Rosamund Hodge? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!