Title: Crimson Bound
Written by Rosamund Hodge
Read by Elizabeth Knowelden
Published by Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 5th 2015
Genres: Fairy Tale Retelling, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Length: 11 hrs and 40 mins
Source: Los Angeles Public Library
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Challenges: 2015 Goodreads Book Challenge
An exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, from the author of Cruel Beauty.
When Rachelle was 15, 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 a vain 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 the two become unexpected allies, they discover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic... and a love that may be their undoing. Within a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?
“I don’t know how to review this book at all!”
I finished listening to Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge via audiobook a couple of months ago and my initial thought was: “I don’t know what to say.” I mean, at this point, I think I am in a love/hate relationship with the book for many, many reasons. Crimson Bound is a standalone book and is also a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. It is not in any way connected or a companion novel to Cruel Beauty but it has the same darkness and themes. I admit that I am a sucker for Gothic-like and dark themes and this book was just right up my alley. However, I wasn’t really blown away overall. Maybe because I was listening to it and I had a hard time following parts of the plot? Maybe.
As I mentioned earlier, Crimson Bound is a fairy tale retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. However, it is not close to the fairy tale story that we know. Instead, it uses the themes of Little Red Riding Hood interspersed with Greek Mythology and really dark, scary themes. The story has a lot of twists and surprises that I did not see coming (which is a good thing). Because I read it in audiobook format, I thought the narration was hauntingly good. I loved how Elizabeth Knowelden narrated it. I loved the voice that she used which added an otherworldly feel to the story. And yes, the story is otherworldly and very dark – quite unlike anything I read (unless you count Cruel Beauty written by same author). While the plot was unique, I had a hard time following the story at certain parts. It may be because I was listening to it but I had to go back a few times throughout the book to understand what was happening.
Crimson Bound is about Rachelle, a healer’s apprentice who got seduced by a forestborn and was marked. By being marked, she would have three days to kill another human and become bloodbound or die. She wasn’t ready to die and ultimately killed someone. Rachelle immediately regrets what she did and three years later, she is still finding ways to atone, to get her revenge. She finally finds the opportunity when she is instructed to the Armand’s guard. Armand is the king’s illegitimate son who was also marked by a forestborn. Rachelle uses this opportunity to hunt for the Joyeuse, the sword will kill the devourer.
While the characters were well fleshed out, I did not like the love-triangle that came out of nowhere. At the risk of spoiling the whole thing with a rant, I will just say that I was disgusted by what just happened in one of the chapters.
The story is chock full of adventure and villains and just plain weirdness but a lot of action and female badassery. I enjoyed the story but I wasn’t blown away.