Published by Balzer + Bray on May 5th, 2015
Genres: fantasy, 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.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of Cruel Beauty. One of my co-bloggers loved it. Most of my friends loved it. But it was just okay for me. I didn’t connect to it at all. I thought it was ridiculously overhyped as so many young adult novels are these days with social media and all. I hated being the black sheep but later reviews came in that were more critical and I am thankful for those.
Based on that, I actually considered not reading Crimson Bound at all. I gave Hodge’s debut 3 stars, but I still was very unsatisfied with it overall. I like to give authors second chances, though, and I liked the premise of this book more anyway, so I thought, why not?
I am glad I read Crimson Bound but it was not the novel I thought it would end up being. Early on, this was easily a 5 star book for me. I loved the writing and the atmosphere, and it felt like the book was written just for me. But then I started to lose interest a bit, the pacing went up and down, and I thought it got a bit repetitive with quests that led nowhere of importance. It happened right around 24% into the book, in case anyone is wondering.
I liked the characters. I liked the mythos and the world-building (although I was amused this was inspired by Little Red Riding Hood because it was nothing like it at all. Not the version I know anyway). I really liked the writing in this one, though I had some of the same problems I had with the author’s debut novel: lack of clarity in the writing, not enough imagery, and some unanswered questions (which are spoilers so I can’t put them here).
That said, I found it MUCH better than Cruel Beauty in almost every way. I know some will disagree, but because there was less romance in this one and more story, I connected more to everything that was going on. Cruel Beauty was ALL about the romance and there was nothing else. I’m not a big romance reader so it really didn’t work for me. There was much more depth to the world-building, though there was still that lack of sense of place which was just really odd for me.
The romance was sweet and innocent, and I loved that about it. Everything does not always have to be dangerous or forbidden. And I guess it could be said that there was a love triangle (to some) but it was pretty obvious to me that one of the guys was never even an option.
I still thought that it was a much better effort than Cruel Beauty though. It was magical and mysterious, and the story had the tendency to be freaking awesome. When it was good, it was great. It was never really bad, just underwhelming at times. As to whether or not I will read another book by this author, it depends on the premise. If I’m really into it, I will. Otherwise I will probably pass. Her writing is possibly just not for me. That said, I KNOW I am in the minority here, and I actually can’t wait to see more reviews for this as they come out.