Again, I want to come back to my review later as I think about this book. The first time I read it, I did not like it as much as the last three timesAgain, I want to come back to my review later as I think about this book. The first time I read it, I did not like it as much as the last three times I did. Probably because it was not what I expected and I had trouble with the first person narrative, which is told from a heroine who is not as likable as she should be. However, I persisted and I am glad I did, because this is one of my general all time favorite books and it's quite original and odd.
Again, I'll come back to it, but it's a lovely fairy tale story about a girl who is wed to a monster and how those dynamics work out. It's not a simple story. It's layered, though not quite as much as Crimson Bound, which is my favorite of the two. But knowing this is a debut novel is A WONDER, because not many people write a debut novel as good as this one and then go on to write a much better novel the second time around without repeating themselves and Rosamund Hodge is one of the most original and inventive writers working in YA. I love her work.
Although many readers like Cruel Beauty more than Crimson Bound, I am not one of them. I've read Cruel Beauty several times, but I do not like it as mAlthough many readers like Cruel Beauty more than Crimson Bound, I am not one of them. I've read Cruel Beauty several times, but I do not like it as much as I do this lovely pastoral fantasy that is full of so much depth and complexity that it would be impossible to explain it all on Goodreads. This is Rosamund Hodge's second novel, and I am truly amazed. This is really not the kind of book I love, but I love this book for all the things it did and tried to do. It is an amazing piece of fiction.
Set in France, it's about a girl who must face the Devourer, a pastoral monster of THE WOODS. Oh, how I loved this, this theme, this premise, this setting up of a world at odds with nature. So much complexity that I read it a half dozen times just to remind myself that layered fiction is possible in the YA market, that something this beautiful and complex can be done.
Hodge, who is Catholic, as am I, uses motifs of that religion to add even more complexity, and again I was amazed.
Nothing is just what it appears. It is all very much more. I've been wanting to write about this book for weeks, but I am still not able to say what I want and so this will be my first thoughts and later, when I have more time, I'll attempt to tell what this book is about.
What I love about Hodge is that she takes a myth, fairy tale and so forth and uses it as a step to something else. She never relies on YA tropes, she never relies on just telling a love story, though she always tells a love story. Her books are literature.
And her characters, well, they are always complex, dealing with ambivalence and the weight of their history. You come to understand them and what they are facing by forgetting heroics and trying to understand human desire.
This book is simply masterful. It's is so much better than Cruel Beauty, and I hope, no pray that Hodge continues to write things that are original and inventive and as masterful as this.
I LOVED IT. I LOVED IT. It's amazing. I could write a college thesis on it. ...more