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Crimson Bound

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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 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 they become unexpected allies, they discover 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.

441 pages, Hardcover

First published May 5, 2015

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About the author

Rosamund Hodge

28 books4,777 followers
Catholic. Writer. Lay Dominican. I write books about gods & death & girls with knives. Next: WHAT MONSTROUS GODS, coming 03/05/2024.

Goodreads policies: I do read messages. I seldom friend people. I never comment on reviews of my own work.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,143 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
July 30, 2015
Her dreams were a tangled mess of blood and shuddering trees.

This book is damn near perfect.

I just don't know how to review this wonderful, creepy, gory, clever, twisty fairy tale and be able to do it justice. How do you sell a book to people when it does so many different things and does them all marvelously? I just cannot wait for Cruel Beauty fans to read this.

Crimson Bound is a story full of villains who are allowed to love and heroines who are allowed to murder and be selfish. Rosamund Hodge does not do simple characters - they are all tangled up in a bizarre web of friendship, fear, love, hate, desire and loyalty. You can never quite be sure which characters are trustworthy - if, indeed, any of them are.

If you like fairy tale retellings to stay close to the originals, then Hodge's imaginative new worlds and mythology may not be for you. I, however, love it. This tale is woven with nods towards the Red Riding Hood story we all know but it wanders far from it into brand new, extremely creepy territory. There are no wolves in this story, at least not in the literal sense, but there are things far far worse.

In the darkest shadows of the wood stands a house. The walls are caulked with blood. The roof is thatched with bones. Within that bloody house lived Old Mother Hunger, the first and eldest of all forestborn.

As with Cruel Beauty, this book is marketed as YA but I would stress that it is probably for the older end of that age group or adults. There are plenty of gruesome battles, sexy scenes and things younger teens might find disturbing.

Now for the story; but I cannot tell you too much because you deserve to discover everything in this book on your own. Anyway, the story is about Rachelle who carelessly strays from the forest path and meets a forestborn who marks her. The rules are thus: a marked human has three days to kill someone and become a slave to the forest's power or else die. Rachelle makes her choice and will spend the rest of her life paying the price.

Every day for the last three years, she had thought she deserved to die. She still didn’t want to. She wanted to live with every filthy desperate scrap of her heart.

Now older, Rachelle is haunted by her guilt and propelled by the dark power of the forest and the evil Devourer that hides at its centre. Feeling like she has nothing left to lose, she will do anything to stop the Devourer from seizing control of the human world with his darkness. Little does she know that there is always something left to lose.

It's just wonderful. She's just wonderful. And complex and selfish at times, but always badass:

“Speechless?” asked Erec. “Don’t be ashamed. I bring all ladies to that state sooner or later.”
“Too bad for you,” she said, “I’m not a lady."

The book twists about all over the place, never letting you guess how it's going to end. The tension never leaves and the author is just evil enough to convince you that any and every character you love might die.

I swear my heart was literally racing for the last quarter... so much awesome, so many perfect quotes that I won't put in this review because they should be discovered at exactly that point in the story. It feels like I've been waiting forever for this book and it was oh so worth it.

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Profile Image for Liz.
600 reviews504 followers
April 28, 2017
Great premise - unsatisfactory execution.

The whole time the book was like:

And my reaction every single time was like:

My biggest problem with this book was that it tried to be something extra-ordinary and unique and great, but both the plot-line and the characters felt like rip-offs from Cruel Beauty.
As somebody who is fond of the original Red Riding Hood tale and had if not very high, but expectations nonetheless, I must say that I was extremely disappointed.
First, there was the lack of a real plot, and instead Rachelle's whining and describing and thinking and most definitely too much of it all. Take that out and the book would have ended up being some ~70 pages long. Things should have happened. And even when nothing happens I have the opinion that something has to be explored, like the Forest in this case. The bloodbounds and the firstborns and God knows what and who else. Did that happen? No.
Their origin, their behavior, skills, there was more than enough material to take it a step further but instead Hodge kept standing in one place.

Second, the characters. Rachelle was like Nyx but less self-aware and more self-pitying. She was beyond annoying and to avoid spoilers I will not elaborate on what exactly she did and simply say that she chewed on one and same issue over and over and over again. Not only was she unlikable, but she was downright awful because she refused to accept herself.
Erec and Armand were like Ignifex and Shade. EXACTLY like them. Meaning that once again there was the love triangle that was not a love triangle because it was so obvious. And maybe, if I hadn't read Hodge's other book before, I would have ended up liking the characters. But I read it and so this one ended up being a disappointment for me. Both the primary and secondary characters were repetative and shallow and so very one-dimensional that I could not help but roll my eyes too often for my own liking.

I could go on like this, complaining about dozens of details, forever but I won't because even writing the review all I feel is boredom.
Dragging plot with very little progression, no character development, a gloomy atmosphere that annoyed me after a while that's what I got in this book. But worst of all - it was just a copy of Cruel Beauty, same motives, same characters, same plot, same everything and that is something I do not forgive as a reader. Yes, I know authors tend to repeat certain themes or types of characters in their books, that is normal, every author has something like a "trademark", but this felt like the author simply changed the names and the setting, there was nothing new. First time you tell a hilarious joke everyone will laugh, but already the second time if you do it right after the first, some people will not find it amusing anymore, but strange. I am one of those who will not listen to the same joke being told over and over again.

Feel free to disagree with me or hate me now but I do not recommend this one because I think that it is simply not worth the time.

Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
851 reviews3,881 followers
February 15, 2021

I'm convinced that what bothered me wouldn't be a problem for most readers. It still spoiled my read, though, that's why I couldn't finish.

What's my problem, you ask? Let's call that "too much misuses of references". This is not a world-building, this is a soup : Basically Rosamund Hodge used TONS of French folklore/history/literature references which isn't a problem per se but which became one when I couldn't connect with the story anymore because I was too busy trying to make sense of the world-building. Also, she's not French. Also, she misused them.

See, references aren't gratuitous : they create expectations and when none of them is fulfilled, it gets annoying and above that, distracting. Wouldn't you feel confused if a character was named Abraham Lincoln but wait - not that Abraham Lincoln? If the city was named after where you live but wait - not that city? If the kingdom was named after a very famous legend you know but wait - not that legend? If the magical objects were called the exact same name as really, really important other magical objects from medieval folklore but wait - not these objects?

No? I guess I have a shorter attention span, then.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining because Rosamund Hodge didn't follow the original stories : this is Fantasy, she can do what she wants and I'm really okay with that. However, to me it was a core to read because I constantly needed to readjust my knowledge and it got really confusing. I'm not complaining about historical inaccuracies, because that would be ridiculous, given the genre. But in my eyes all these misused references seemed lazy, messy and I can't help how I feel. Moreover, she *forgot* to quote all her sources in her acknowledgments and I do have a problem with that (but I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt, perhaps her sources talked about the legends I'm referencing here).

About Durandal and Joyeuse, the magical swords : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Son...
About Rocamadour : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocamadour
About Gévaudan : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%A9... and its horrible beast : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beast_o...

Not to mention the King who shares a name with a 12th Century King but whose château de Lune is basically Versailles (salon de mars, anyone?) and his rites thoses of Louis XIV (the levée, for one). Oh, and whose mistress is named after one of the most famous poet and fabulist from the 17th Century, La Fontaine.

I'm really, really sorry about that and you can call me unfair. But this book is making my head spin. What can I say, I'm a History/French Lit nerd. I can live with that.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
May 23, 2022


i read an excerpt of this in the back of cruel beauty and it was SO enchanting y'all. now i'm buddy reading this with my irl best friend what could be better ♥️
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,535 reviews9,952 followers
June 29, 2020
Reread: Audio Narration Fantastic. Book: Viscous, Ruthless, Bloody, Dark, Sexy, Villainous.

Her dreams were a tangled mess of blood and shuddering trees

Everyday for the last three years, she had thought she deserved to die. She still didn’t want to. She wanted to live with every filthy, desperate scrap of her heart

In the darkest of the wood stands a house. The walls are caulked with blood. The roof is thatched with bones. Within that bloody house lived Old Mother Hunger, the first and eldest of all forestborn

There were three of them, all with rapiers, and she had only a dagger. It would have been a wretchedly uneven fight, if she were human.

It was still a wretchedly uneven fight; it was just in her favor.

"I killed somebody and I’m not sorry," she said, calmly and very distinctly. "I don’t think you want me on your alters unless blasphemy is the custom of your kingdom."

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

BLOG: https://melissa413readsalot.blogspot....
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
595 reviews3,588 followers
September 17, 2017
"She didn't want to be a martyr. She didn't have a choice."

That quote sums up my reading experience.

It took me five months to finish Crimson Bound. Five months. I'd open it, read a few pages, then see a butterfly and follow it until sunset.

The characters don't grab me. I don't give a flying fuck about Rachelle or Armand or their irrational quest to find Joyeuse, a sword which can kill the Devourer. They make out/confess their undying love for each other beside a sleeping lindworm and I was praying it'd wake and swallow them both and save me the trouble, but they got away.

Rachelle is Jesus. No, I'm serious. The religious overtones are glaringly obvious and leave a bad taste in my mouth. The Bishop is the ultimate good guy, and confessing your sins automatically resolves you of them, cleansing your conscience with a few measly words.

Not that Rachelle has any sins. Marked by a forestborn, she needs to kill someone in three days or die herself. She kills her aunt, providing her ample opportunity to brood and look pretty while hating herself. Later, we discover

But that won't stop her from love, right?

"Her face was hot. She took a step back, thinking, He isn't yours. He will never be yours. He will never, ever want you."

No, wait. She has self-esteem, I swear.

“Every day for the last three years, she had thought she deserved to die."

She uses her newfound strength and endurance wisely.

"My lady, I did you honor. I showed you to all the court as a bloodbound terrible and lovely." He stepped closer and leaned down so they were nearly eye to eye. "We're stronger and fairer and we are going to live forever. Why would you want to pretend you're a plodding daylight creature?"


She put a hand on his chest to push him back a step. "I told you already. I will die first."

The premise is very similar to Cruel Beauty: vague world-building, good-guy-vs-bad-guy love triangle, and a 'dark' heroine whose soul is as black as vanilla ice-cream. Both are loosely based on a fairy tale. If you squint, Crimson Bound is a retelling of Red Riding Hood. Just like Frozen is a retelling of The Ice Queen.

I liked Cruel Beauty, but this is just a hot mess.

ARC provided by Edelweiss. Quotes taken from an uncorrected galley proof and may be subject to change.

Pre-review:The cover design looks a lot like Cruel Beauty...

Cruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe, #1) by Rosamund Hodge

But the blurb says it's NOT part of the Cruel Beauty universe. Why would they make the covers so similar then?
Profile Image for Anne.
4,060 reviews69.5k followers
August 7, 2015
A retelling mash-up of The Girl Without Hands & Little Red Riding Hood!
To be quite honest, I'd never heard of the former until Hodge mentioned it in her acknowledgements. Now that I've looked it up, the story makes even more sense, and I have to give her props for weaving it into this retelling!

Ok, this is a dark retelling, and Rachelle isn't exactly a princess, so if you're hoping for a fluffy love story, back away from this book. For the rest of you?
It all starts when she takes a walk in the woods...


Our heroine is a survivor, and she does what she has to do to live. Which means, sometimes she makes the morally wrong choice. In fact, in the first few chapters, she kills her beloved aunt in order to survive a curse. Too bad for her, surviving the curse means she actually becomes a cursed creature.
So what's a girl to do with the time she has left as a human?


Well, Rachelle decides to serve her kingdom as a supernatural hunter. She works for the king, and protects people from the nightmarish monsters that are leaking out of the ever encroaching magical Forrest. Legend says that the Devourer will someday return, and bring with him Endless Night.
Most of the people think it's just a story, but Rachelle knows that this monster is very real.
And almost at their doorstep. She doesn't want redemption, but she does want revenge. And armed with a story her aunt used to tell, she plans to find the one weapon that might be able to end its reign of evil.


Alrighty, so where does The Girl Without Hands story come in? Well, in this version, it's not a girl at all. It's the king's bastard son, a presumed saint, who makes life harder for Rachelle when she has to become his bodyguard. He's (supposedly) lost his hands when refused to kill an innocent in order to survive his curse. His father, in order to use his popularity to quell the rebels, assigns Rachelle to protect him, and insists that they accompany him to a heavily warded royal house in the country.
She hates her new charge, Armand, because if he is being honest, that means she didn't have to kill her aunt. But, more than that, she doesn't think he's telling the whole truth about about how he really lost his hands.
It's time to take a road trip & fall in love!


Relax, there's no insta-love in Crimson Bound. When she first meets him she hates his guts, because she thinks he's a fraud that's playing on people's ignorance. Throughout the story they gradually start to respect each other, and then trust, and (only then) does Rachelle begin to realize that she feels more for Armand.
Can I just point out that the fact that his hands got lopped off, so we're getting a bit of diversity in what is usually considered a traditional Handsome Hero. The dude has stumps! And I thought it was just awesome that while it's addressed as something he has to deal with, it's not something that Rachelle has to overcome in order to be attracted to him. It's just hands. Yeah, it make it difficult for him, but other than the initial shock at seeing him without his silver hands on, it is a non-issue in her growing attraction toward him. She also finds him rather plain looking when they first meet, but (like all real love) she slowly finds that she prefers his face more than anyone else's.


Secrets, betrayal, miscommunication, conspiracies, and sacrifice.
Can true love really conquer all?
Hell no!
But pulling on your Big Girl Panties, and doing the right thing just might work.

So, yeah, I really enjoyed this. It's not going to be something that everyone will like, but this struck just the right balance between dark fantasy, fairytale, and romance for me!

Profile Image for Dear Faye.
492 reviews2,125 followers
February 14, 2015
Win a pre-order of this book by joining my giveaway on Twitter! Click this for details!


Now I see why people love this author.

Truth be told, when I read Cruel Beauty not too long ago, I remember being very frustrated with it. Yes, the prose flowed exceptionally well; yes, the characters were complex; yes, the world-building was fascinating and all that, but I just couldn't find myself liking it completely. It was a fantasy that read too much like a romance (although it can be debated that it's romance first in a fantasy setting...), and I remember being overwhelmed with the talks of love and kisses. I don't like it when a love between two people is shoved in my face; rather, I want it to be subtle and in the background and happening naturally.

Because of that experience, I was wary of starting Crimson Bound, as I feared being overwhelmed once more. Obviously, as you can see, I gave in and tried it last night, and just finished it 5 minutes ago.

And all I can say is: this book is way better than Cruel Beauty.

I mean, if you value her Fussiness' opinion, of course (I am too nitpicky for my own good).

First of all, the setting. As you all know, Hodge's writing is really good - she has a way of weaving words that really immerses you. Yeah, you're reading it, but for some reason, the way it's written makes it easier to visualize the place in your mind. She made the place so surreal, so realistic, and so fantastic at the same time, if that makes any sense. I really felt like I was in a medieval time in a distant region in France à la Beauty and the Beast, just with a living, breathing forest breathing down the people's necks. The cities, the towns, the peasants and the noblitity, to the castles and their descriptions... they were amazing. It also helped a lot (and made the Francophile in me terribly overjoyed) that the book had a lot of French names: Palais du Soleil, Château de la lune, Lévée, among other things.

Bottomline: her writing is fucking good. I mean, yes, it still read like a romance sometimes, because the narration and everything felt dreamy and delicate, as if I was walking on a cloud of soft cotton candy...

...But what made it even better was the heroine. The overall writing gave the book a really divine and heavenly flavor, but Rachelle Brinon, our young heroine who serves as the King's Bloodbound (akin to his personal Champion in Throne of Glass terms), gave it a gritty edge that would pull you back to reality: if she doesn't find the mythical weapons that can defeat the Devourer, the world will end in absolute darkness. Heavenly and brutal at the same time, the Hodge way.

So let's talk about Rachelle. She was raised to be a woodwife in a remote village, sewing charms that would keep the Devourer and the nightmares of the forest at bay, until she dared to face a Forestborn to prove that she can, only to eventually pay the ultimate price. Usually, I am able to classify heroines into these categories: the reckless, the average, the practical, and the self-loathing kind.

The last one is what I hate the most with a blinding passion, because the self-pity bullshit rarely works with me, and Rachelle was that, but interestingly, it didn't annoy me as much. You want to know why? Because Rachelle was a complex character. She hated what she had become, and she thought she didn't deserve to live, and that it had been better if she had died, but despite thinking those, she accepted who she was with a grim defeat and wanted to live anyway, and so she tried using her newfound nature to solve a problem everyone else was too afraid to admit was actually happening. She had her dark moments, which she acknowledged, but despite being filled with this, she recognized she had other things to live for, and gave her best for that. She didn't lie about who she was and what she was fighting for and shrugged off sideway glances even if they did bother her. And for me, that just made her such a relatable and real character.

And you know what's even better? The fact that other characters are just as important and just as complex. They are not black-and-white caricatures of people we often see rehashed in many other YA novels. They have a reason why they do what they do, and have a reason why they say what they say however twisted they may be. 

That's why the "love triangle" here didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. When we see a love triangle, usually the first thing that comes to our mind is that there were no other ways to create a relationship conflict so a useless second dude was thrown in, but it wasn't the case here. Since all the characters were complex and had deep background stories that are deeply rooted in the plot, the "LT" - if you can even call it that because it was anything but a traditional love triangle - just seemed a part of the story in a whole and not an individual drama on its own. 

I hope I make sense.

Plus, Love Interest #1 was like a Eugene Flynnrider double the mischievousness, and Love Interest #2 was like another Eugene Flynnrider but more quiet, reserved, and thoughtful. DOESN'T THAT SOUND INTERESTING TO YOU?!?!?!

Bottomline: characters are awesome, the plot is awesome, the MC is awesome, so no worries there.

If there's something that I didn't like, however, it's the fact that whenever romance was put in, especially in the early parts, it felt kinda forced. I was 23% into it when a lot of "kissing" talks happened, and I may have raged with my friends for a while, because they seemed so out of place and too early for that. But otherwise, everything else was really good.

This book may even be considered philosophical, in many ways. This is what happens when characters are explored to their fullest potentials and have their  histories interweaved with the plot: they end up asking deep questions that prompt us readers to ask ourselves as well. Not only did this book keep me on my toes, it also made me stop for a while and ponder about life in general.

When a book pushes you to do that, you know it has done its job successfully.

Profile Image for Nicole.
750 reviews1,935 followers
April 6, 2021
I wrote a review but somehow it wasn’t saved on my word doc and since I can’t remember what I said I’ll write down my thoughts now, a week after reading it. I originally gave it 3 stars but now when I'm posting this (aug) I noticed that this book didn't leave anything with me. So 2 stars it is.

Crimson Bound wasn’t like Cruel Beauty at all. Nix and ignifex were great and their banter so fun. Rachelle and Armand’s relationship wasn’t as good. I didn’t feel much chemistry. The author tried to portray them and their relationship from enemies to lovers/hate to love but I didn’t see it that way. It was never hinted that Armand disliked Rachelle while I felt the latter was portraying herself as hateful towards him because she has no reason to. She was mostly mistrustful of him which is very different from hate.

I applaud for Hodge for having a main character with a disability (Armand doesn’t have hands).

The plot moved at an antagonizing pace. The only interesting thing happened at the end.
The world didn’t fascinate me either, the concept was interesting but combined with a slow pace, I lost interest.

I didn't hate the book nor hated anything about it, it was just forgettable and not special at all even though the story is kind of unique with its setting. Needless to say, I won’t be reading the third book of this trilogy especially since its ratings are lower than this one.
Profile Image for Ahmed  Ejaz.
549 reviews323 followers
August 17, 2018
"Everyone tries to be good until it stops being convenient"
There's only one reason I gave her works another try: Her writing. It's so fluent. Like that in her previous book, Cruel Beauty. I think this book is better than Cruel Beauty in regards of plot. I loved it.
It's also the first Red Riding Hood retelling I read. I enjoyed it because of writing and plot. Otherwise, the character development wasn't upto my satisfaction. I couldn't make myself to die-hard love any of them. Only Armand was leeetle better.

The world revolves arround the Forest, which is hidden from the human world. But it can be appeared in anywhere. Considering that it's a Little Red Riding Hood re-telling, author did a good job.
Along with humans, there are bloodbounds, forestborns woodwife(s). Forestborns are the loyal servants of Devourer, the antagonist. Forestborns mark humans after which the marked one has to kill someone in three days and become a bloodbound or die.
Bloodbounds are to be executed except for the ones in king's army. Woodwife are the one who protects the village from the evil Forest.

Rachelle's aunt was a woodwife. She was learning charms from her. One day she met a foresrborn in the Forest who made her bloodbound. He also told her that the Devourer is coming and the world will soon end. She then left her village and joined the king's army and met Erec who trained her. She wanted to kill Devourer and brake free herself from his bond and also free her people. But the king made her the guard of his bastard, Armand. She convinced him to find the only weapon to kill Devourer.

-- The biggest problem I faced with this book is non-English words for places. They suck as hell and annoyed me a lot. I don’t see the need for this.
-- Mythology of the world is amazing. Liked Tyr and Zisa's story.
-- We don't get much of Devourer even though he is the antagonist. We just feel him but not fully see him in person. It might be because he doesn't have any physical form. I didn't like this fact.
-- Rachelle's very confusing. It's maybe because of her being a bloodbound. But at some places I really liked her.

**This was an amazing buddyread with Rida Imran. **

14 August, 2018
Profile Image for Pang.
421 reviews359 followers
April 13, 2017
*sighs* How I love retelling and fairy-tale. This book is a bit bored in the first half, but the last half just pick up and turn SO GOOD! I really like the idea and the writing style of this author! How she create her retelling with the references of myth or other stuff. I might not love this one as mush as Cruel Beauty But still like it very much!

Love her romance. This one still not disappointed me about romance, the characters are just interesting and fascinating. I think my taste suit with her works. eiei

I crave for more of her book! Why she didn't write more of this series? *sobs*
Profile Image for destini.
239 reviews501 followers
April 11, 2016
I really wanted this book to be good.

Plot: had potential

Love triangle: *gags*

Heroine: likable

Love interest(s): unbelievable, insta-loveish, and I ended up liking the wrong guy

Writing: saving grace


Me: disappointed

Everything just boils down to my inability connect to the story. The world building needed some fleshing out (things just got waaaayyyyy too convenient at one point), the romance was half-assed and lacked that spark (also *continues dry-heaving* love triangle), and the plot had so much potential it hurt. However, I was able to finish it, thanks to writing and the characters (which, themselves, are not unlikable).

Sorry for the super crappy review.
509 reviews2,413 followers
May 17, 2015
I need to have a shirt made, with ROSAMUND HODGE IS FUCKING BRILLIANT printed on it. Crimson Bound has one of the most unique imaginative worlds I've ever come across. It's dark, it's vicious, and it's so me. It's going to be so you, too, I swear.

Other than the world-building, I would also give two thumbs up for Rosamund's elegant writing. And it's not the boring kind of elegant, either--it's the mesmerizing kind that'll just suck you into the story.

Rachelle was such a different heroine from what I'm used to. There were times when she wallowed up in self-pity, and there were times when she came out strong and fierce. I liked that she wasn't just a one-dimensional character and had a lot more to her than you'd think at first.

The romance was fine and took a backseat in this one. I was hoping for a little more development and a lot less love-triangle, but I wasn't bothered too much by this aspect because the story's main focus was on the action and adventure, which I adored.

I would definitely recommend this one to anyone looking for a dark, mysterious, and unique retelling.
Profile Image for Nadhira Satria.
440 reviews746 followers
August 23, 2019

First and foremost, I’d like to apologize to the author I meant no disrespect sis I just hate this I’m sorry and for those who enjoyed this book, good for you but I can’t relate.

1.5 Stars
WHAT THE FUCK. I said those three words every 5 minutes while I read this mess of a book. Seriously tho what the fuck did I just read. I am beyond disappointed and angry and frustrated. I want my time back. I could’ve been reading some good shit but nooooooo. As someone who LOVED cruel beauty this was a major disappointment and such a let down that I deadass threw this book across the room while I screamed in frustration

What I liked:
1. The writing was as pretty as it is fucking confusing. But still pretty

What I didn’t like:
I have never ever ever ever read a character so near sighted, so stupid, and so brash and did I mention SO FUCKING STUPID. JUST HOW NEAR SIGHTED AND STUPID AND EASILY MANIPULATED ARE YOU? DO YOU EVEN HAVE A BRAIN YOU PEA HEADED LITTLE SHIT

2.The romance
One second she hate this dude then she told him she loved him and then she kissed him. AN HOUR LATER, (literally an hour later in the book) she went and fucked another guy she hated. Ok bitch the fuck? Go choke on his dick

3.The world building and the plot and the story itself
Just what the fuck was going on and just what the fuck is everything? This book made me feel dumb as fuck I didn’t even know what the fuck was going on. I mean I love complex plots and worldbuilding and shit but this one is just ugh. I mean I get it, as a writer my imagination can get wild and shit but sis don’t I deserve a bit of explanation on what the fuck is going on because 430 pages later I’m still lost

4.Character development
Shitty person becomes less shitty because she’s so brave yay my hero. No go to hell Rachelle

5.The ending
Ok I read 430 pages for that. Ok wHAT THE FUCK THAT WAS SHITTY AS SHITTY COMES

6. “Red riding hood retelling”
BITCH WHERE? WHAT RETELLING? THERES NO WOLF NO GRANDMA NO SHIT. THE ONLY THING THAT WAS AS CLOSE AS RED RIDING HOOD IS THE FACT THAT SHE WORE A RED DRESS. THATS IT. THAT LITERALLY IS IT. ISSA COMPLETELY NEW STORY. I want what the author was smoking when she wrote this because who the fuck sits down and think this is a retelling of red riding hood?

7. The disability rep
He literally is nothing but a dude with two stumps instead of a hand. No personality no nothing.
Oh and how Can I forget that one time where the main character decides to insult the disabled dude and he just laughed it off because he was oh so in love with her. Like what.the.fuck

8.Just everything about this book

Ok let me go chug a whole bottle of vodka and smoke a pack of cig. I’m out
Profile Image for ☆☽Erica☾☆.
200 reviews675 followers
March 3, 2016
This was a bit up-and-down for me. Some parts I found myself really engaged in the story and at other parts I was dreading continuing on.

This story takes its roots in the tale of Little Red Riding Hood. Very loosely, which I enjoyed.

The strengths of this book are similar to my favorite aspect of Rosamund Hodge's debut novel, Cruel Beauty. The conversations and personalities of the female characters are very alive. They are humorous and snarky and wicked. She doesn't water them down. Her writing is also very vibrant.

The main character in this is Rachelle, essentially a half-human, half-demon, enslaved by an evil forest. I loved her bluntness and bravery. I found her irritating at times though. She was very self-deprecating and impulsive, which led to both annoying internal monologues and some questionable decisions.

The plot follows Rachelle's adventures/ misadventures destroying the evil forest that possesses her and terrorizes the whole kingdom.

The main love interest is a dude named Armand, essentially a prince of the kingdom. Honestly his name kept reminding me of:

Dr. Armond from the Kroll Show.

It was distracting at first. Especially since he was described as an average looking guy with a small body. He also has no hands, which was an interesting complexity to his character.

The other main dude/ semi-love interest is a half-demon guy named Erec, who kept making me think of Eric from Trueblood.

So I didn't actually mind that.

Aaaaanyways, I enjoyed this and look forward to her next book (which is coming out this year!) :D
Profile Image for ♛Tash.
223 reviews212 followers
November 25, 2015

Help! I have fallen off the bandwagon.

Oh dear, I really have. I usually ride shot-gun on the bandwagon and I really don't mind, I mean just look at my read shelf. I see all the 4 & 5 stars from friends & reviewers I follow for Crimson Bound and I am disappointed why I didn't like this more, as this is a 2.5 stars read for me. Crimson Bound didn't give me any feels whatsoever, unless meh is a feel.

The plot was quite promising but the execution, doh', felt flat.

I liked Rachelle, she's tough and is complex enough to be interesting. I'll forgive her horniness because she's eighteen and D'Anjou is presumably smokin' hot, who is also an asshole who makes her feel inadequate. That's a lethal combination for some women. As for Armand, I gotta hand it to Rosamund Hodge (badumtssshhhh...) for writing a love interest with no hands. I like the novelty of that but that's it. Let's not get into the love triangle and insufficient build up before the L word got thrown around.

Did I like anything at all? Yes, I liked the mythology about Zisa and Tyr, Joyeuse and Durendal. I thought that was smoothly carried out, but as a whole, Crimson Bound fell short for me.

Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,742 reviews1,307 followers
May 3, 2015
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“This story begins with endless night and infinite forest; with two orphaned children, and two swords made of broken bone.
It has not ended yet.”

This was an okay YA fantasy story, but I did lose patience towards the end.

Rachelle was a girl who didn’t give up what she was trying to achieve no matter the consequences. She knew that it would be tough to find one of the hidden swords that were needed to destroy the forestbound, but she never gave up hope that she would manage it, no matter how bad things got.

“All she had to do was solve the riddle and find the sword.”

The storyline in this was about Rachelle trying to find one of the swords to kill off the bad guys, as well as accidentally gaining a job as a body guard. I did find it extremely difficult to see how this story was anything like Red Riding Hood at all though. The only thing that this book had that was anything like little Red Riding Hood was the girl in a red cape on the cover.

“One day soon he will open his eyes and yawn, and then he will swallow up the moon and the sun, and we shall live in darkness once again.”

That being said, the story didn’t bother me too much, but I found it confusing to follow in places, and the slow pace made the book drag and drag. By the end I was really losing patience with the slow pace, and I just wanted to find out what happened and get to the end!

“Zisa had fought the Devourer and saved the whole world, but apparently woodwives weren’t supposed to save people anymore. They were supposed to sit in their cottages and braid insignificant charms and never, ever dream of changing the world.”

There was a bit of romance in this, but unfortunately there was a love triangle, which I didn’t really care for.

“Rachelle grabbed the back of his head and kissed him, as savagely as her forestborn had once kissed her.”

The ending to this was okay, but I just wanted to get it finished really. It seemed to take forever to get all the way through this, and I just lost patience with the super-slow pace.
6 out of 10
Profile Image for Elena.
570 reviews181 followers
June 3, 2015
Rosamund Hodge just became an auto buy author! I completely fell in love with this world.
Profile Image for starryeyedjen.
1,665 reviews1,231 followers
January 6, 2023
An ARC of this title was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts are my own.

This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.

I loved Crimson Beauty  so much that I've already read and/or listened to it over five times since I received the ARC a little over a year ago. Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favorite fairy tales, followed very closely by Little Red Riding Hood. Intriguing that one of my new favorite authors on the scene has retold both now. And her sophomore novel may have trumped her debut on my list of favorite retellings ever.

The thing is, I can't really talk about the aspect I loved the most in this story because it would probably be considered a major spoiler to most if I revealed anything about it. And because I value romance pretty highly, I myself would consider any mention of this type of romance to be ruining. I can say that the way this romance plays out would disappoint many, especially those who feel very strongly on the kind that feature three points. I discussed it in great length with Lauren, who famously despises LTs and as far as I know, she has plans to stay very far away from this one. Just in case you were wondering. :)

Here's the thing, kids. I've been trying to write this review for weeks. I was blown away by this book when I read it and I've wanted to tell the world ever since, but I wanted to be coherent when I did so. Apparently, when it comes to me and one of Rosamund's books, that's maybe an impossibility I've yet to accept. It's just…the way she weaves a tale you already know and love into a story that's wholly it's own is rather remarkable. I don't like to compare authors because they all have their own style and their own methods, but the way Hodge writes her characters reminds me a lot of Sarah J. Maas. I just love how they always have questionable motives and very little compunction. I live in the gray areas, and I like to see characters that do the same, that battle with good and evil, black and white, on a daily basis. It makes them more real to me.

Crimson Bound is not only based on the tale of Little Red Riding Hood but also on the story of The Girl With No Hands . I absolutely LOVED how Hodge combined these tales to make one truly engaging story, one where the evil is closer than you know or want to admit, and trusting anyone else might be your biggest mistake yet. It's a story where girls are allowed to kill and have unpure thoughts and villains aren't necessarily all evil. I just love a redeemable bad guy….like, there's no other character I like to see more. Besides the heroine who's allowed to be selfish and want things for herself, even if she knows it goes against what she's been taught or who she's sworn to protect. Not everything is black and white, and I fully appreciate a story that can illustrate that without being preachy.

Also, Hodge reminds us of the story's origins by including faerie folk and reminding the MC constantly of what is owed, but I still love how understated the faerie presence is in her stories, despite the fact that many fey have made themselves noticeable at this point in the story. I really enjoy how this author takes fairy tales and flips them on their heads; these stories are definitely inspired by some of my favorite fairy tales, but they don't follow through with those essential happily ever afters, peaking the interest of a hard-core fairy tale lover like me.

This is technically the third story I've read from Rosamund Hodge, but I have to say, it's my favorite. Her characters have become increasingly more complex and the story that much more frenetic, and I have a hard time controlling myself when one lands in my lap. Her stories are not the type to be read sparingly, bit by bit. No, Hodge's stories inevitably need to be read all in one go, by someone who fully understands that life isn't black and white but lived in shades of gray.

GIF it to me straight:

In other words, trust no one.
April 4, 2015

Before I start, I'm going to say that, so far, I have never read about a guy I disliked named Armand. And (you guessed it), I liked the Armand in this book too.

The book as a whole had a plethora of problems; the romance being the most immediate. Its a damn good thing the romance was pushed to the background in favor of Rachelle's quest to find the Joyeuse sword and kill the Devourer, otherwise, I would have straight up given this a 1, despite its great writing and grit.

I hated the love triangle. Actually, I dont even understand why it was necessary. The same thing happened in the author's other book, Cruel Beauty, where there was a completely unnecessary and annoying love triangle between- again- a nice, albeit mysterious, guy, an experience-hardened girl and a guy (or, in that case, a shadow) who rubs on you the wrong way. Let me tell you that the love triangle in this book is no different.

The romance is really unbelievable. Rachelle is a cold hearted Bloodbound (I still dont completely understand what exactly this is) who is instructed to protect the Illegitimate heir, Armand, after saving him from a bunch of assassins. Rachelle isnt very happy with this development, and more so since she believes Armand to be a fraud and assumes that he is trying to garner sympathy from the people to secure his place on the throne.

Understandably, she is distant and doesn't talk much to Armand for almost the whole of the first half. So imagine my (extreme) surprise when this happened when just 2 chapters ago, she was mocking Armand and telling him that he needs to stop being such a fraud-

Her hands overshot the pattern, and nearly jerked the yarn out of alignment. She caught herself, but her wrist brushed against [Armand's], and a tiny shiver went up her arm.
Their eyes met. Her face felt hot. Her hands, though gripping the yarn, felt empty.
She thought, This is not the way I feel about Erec
She thought, I think I love him

What you feel, Rachelle dear, is a simple case of lust, not love. Its easy enough to confuse the two considering the bucketfull of love she's experienced, and its not particularly hard to love Armand (by which I mean, it extremely easy), but no, its not love.

Granted, I may have believed her towards the end, but at that moment, not really. Despite what they say, you cant just fall into love.

Other than the romance, and Erec (who I really dont want to talk about), there is little else I didnt like about this book. The first half was a little messy with the world building being kinda info-dumpy and all the stories and curses being told during and at the end of each chapter so I confess, I was very confused and lost almost throughout it, but since it managed to clean up and start concentrating on Rachelle by the beginning of the second half, which made a lot more sense than the first one. But yet, I couldnt get as into the story as I hoped I could and ended up feeling extremely bored most of the time.

Considering this was one of the my most anticipated 2015, I was left very disappointed. The fantasy elements and Rachelle's search for the sword was good, but the romance pretty much killed it for me.
Profile Image for Denisse.
499 reviews289 followers
July 21, 2015
Read for the 2015 Reading Challenge: #37 A book with a color in the title. Buddy Read with Victoria!

4.5 A very compelling, twisted and addictive Red Riding Hood retelling. Interesting and absorbing from page one. Great characters and better development, I was very surprised to see how well the interactions between them were, the dialogue felt clever all the time. The world-building is simple and yet it feels deep and challenging, with a dark-fantasy aura. The descriptions are just incredible and while the ending might be a bit tangled, it fits the story. In general the story feels bigger than the synopsis wants you to think and gives a basic political subplot which adds more layers to the environment of the novel. The romance is there, not too emotional but well executed. Overall I enjoyed the book a lot. It felt more serious than your average YA fantasy, so I highly recommend it.

"Hunger was his glory and destruction his delight."

Hace mucho que leí el primer libro de la autora, ahora le encuentro muchos errores pero en general lo disfrute, pero en comparación con este, nada que ver! La autora mejoro mucho en todo sentido, y se nota desde la primera página.

Tenemos un mundo constantemente en alerta del Great Forest, y los forestborn cuya misión es convertir humanos en criaturas como ellos en nombre de una criatura antigua llamada el Devourer. A la transición de Humano a Forestborn, o sea un humano marcado por este, se le llama bloodbound. No se me han perdido?

Es cierto que con tantas palabritas raras (no mencione todas las importantes) uno puede llegar a revolverse, pero después del capitulo 6 o 7 te vas acostumbrando y lo vas entendiendo. Esto hace que la introducción parezca muy interesante o muy tediosa y aburrida, dependerá de ti y tus gustos. En mi opinión es interesante, muchisimo. Así que yo no tuve problema con la intro, pero habrá gente que la considere algo larga y sobretodo confusa. Pero bueno hay gente que se queja cuando una trama es plana y luego le das algo mas complicado y se andan quejando también, que hormonales, quien los entiende?!?! Yo no, la verdad

La trama encierra temas de política bastante básica pero bien manejada y de forma mas ligera la religión. Pero ambas sirven para darle mas profundidad al libro y eso se agradece. Lo que para mi brilla mas además del world-building que es muy profundo de forma simple, son los personajes. En especial Rachelle y Erec, creo que la autora les dio unos desarrollos muy buenos y los supo manejar muy bien para acomodarlos en la historia, ambos son mas de lo que parecen a simple vista, un gran acierto. Ninguno es tu típico personaje principal y secundario, y ambos tienen muchas sombras que le darán un toque más realista a sus personalidades. Los demás están muy bien pero ellos dos se lucen más, por razones distintas.

"And where was this compliance when your dear mother's life was at stake?"

Otra cosa a destacar: el dialogo. MUY BUENO. Encontré la mayoría del tiempo que la interacción entre personajes era bastante inteligente, y eso es un YA es escaso, ESCASO! De hecho, yo diría que el libro es mas para le gente es sus últimos años de YA y no para quienes están entrando en ellos. La razón? El romance. Esta ahí, esta bien manejado, pero no piensen que van a formar un OTP ni nada. Es algo que acompaña a la historia y definitivamente no la dirige salvo talvez en unos 3 o 4 capítulos por ahí de la 3ra cuarta parte del libro.

"I killed somebody and I'm not sorry, she said, calmly and very distinctly. I don't think you want me on your altars unless blasphemy is the custom of your kingdom."

En general el libro empieza lento y con mucha información que yo no encontré pesada y va arrancando motores por ahí del capitulo 15 con mucha acción e intriga pero nunca sientes que se detenga la trama., siempre estas conociendo algo o a alguien y esto hace que el libro no sea aburrido. Veo a las personas que adoraron The Young Elites leyendo esto y disfrutándolo mucho. Así que si tu eres de esas que no quiere ver chicas perfectas y buenas como protagonistas, este es tu libro. Muy recomendado, definitivamente mas profundo de lo que creí, con personajes interesantes y una historia algo desviada del cuento original pero con los elementos mas claves ahí metidos.
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,096 reviews17.7k followers
June 11, 2017

This book was absolutely spectacular. And I desperately want to give it five stars. Unfortunately, I don't feel as if it deserves the full five - there were too many issues. But I want to make it clear to everyone that this comes as recommended as most of my fives.

I want to get the issues out of the way first. The first half is really, really confusing. The pacing is just a little off; events feel slightly manufactured due to the confusion. But Hodge managed to keep me fairly engaged and interested, even when I was confused. My advice would be to push through the first 150 pages if they confuse you, because it is DEFINITELY worth it. The plot massively improves in the second half, with a few twists I didn’t see coming.

Now, let’s talk everything amazing about the book.

I LOVED RACHELLE. I cannot overexaggerate just how compelling I found her character. She has a good balance between overpowered and incompetent; she makes mistakes and she doesn’t always succeed, but she’s smart as a whip and tough as nails. She’s not merciless, but she’s also not afraid to kick ass or lie when she needs to. She’s confident and solid in herself, but also hates the darkness inside her. This is such an interesting, perfect balance. She’s very unlikable at times, but her character feels so realistic that it’s easy to ignore.
“She didn't even look at me,” said Erec, his voice mock sad. “I wonder what I've done to offend her?”
“Breathing, I think,” said Rachelle. “But also wearing that jacket.”

I can totally understand why the romance plots annoyed some, but it drew me completely in. There is a love triangle, but it’s used entirely for character development. It is clear from the beginning which guy is right for Rachelle, and which one is wrong, but we also see why she likes both of them.

The plot between Rachelle and Armand was awesome. I feel the same way about this romance plot as I did about the romance from Daughter of Smoke and Bone; yes, there's a wiff of instalove, but their relationship dynamic is compelling. The author gives reasons for their relationship; they understand each other and work well together. I found myself invested only 200 pages in. I liked that Armand was disabled but it doesn't hold him back; it's always great to see positive rep.

Hodge also deserves praise for her prose. She depicts setting very well. While the worldbuilding isn’t completely the focus here, the descriptions of the city and the forest worked perfectly for me. I almost wish more time was spent in the city, because my mental image of it was beautiful.

VERDICT: Despite some disengagement in the first half, this book manages to land solidly on its feet with excellent character work, a twisty plot, and a sweet romance. While it's messy at times, I highly recommend this.

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Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,746 reviews6,671 followers
May 16, 2016
Crimson Bound is a standalone, dark fantasy novel written by Rosamund Hodge. It is considered a fairytale retelling - which I'm not a fan of btw - but Ms. Hodge's style just does it for me somehow. Her willingness to keep these tales as dark and haunting as possible is a beautiful thing.

In Crimson Bound, Ms. Hodge incorporates a mixture of The Grandmother's Tale (a 14th century French version of Little Red Riding Hood) and The Girl without Hands. Personally, I had never heard of either of these fairytales before researching a bit about the inspiration behind this book. Ms. Hodge really delved into the core of these stories during her retelling and the outcome is deep, complex, and brilliant. During my personal reading experience, I did find some pieces of the storyline didn't quite flow well while transitioning from time periods, places, etc. and those periods were a tad distracting for me, but I was invested in this fantasy world, I was thoroughly engaged with the characters and their struggles, and I was eager to see this story through to the end. But as Ms. Hodge notes at the very beginning of the book, "This story begins with endless night and infinite forest; with two orphaned children, and two swords made of broken bone. It has not ended yet." God, I love this author!

My favorite quote:
"Everyone tries to be good until it stops being convenient."

Note: I so desperately wanted to share Ms. Hodge's inspiration for Crimson Bound, and show how it connects to the original fairytales, but it's just too detailed. I'll direct you to THIS ONLINE INTERVIEW instead. I found it fascinating and I hope you'll check it out! Also, if you're interested in reading the original fairytales, you can find The Grandmother's Tale at THIS WEBSITE and The Girl without Hands at THIS ONE. Enjoy!

My favorite quote:
"This is the human way. On the edge of destruction, at the end of all things, we still dance. And hope."
Profile Image for Vanessa J..
347 reviews604 followers
August 4, 2015
Originally posted on Books with Chemistry.

Crimson Bound is the story of Rachelle. When she was 15 years old, she was – let’s say – a good girl. She was being trained by her aunt as the next woodwife (they protect people from the power of the forest), but Rachelle is also reckless. One day, while in the woods with a forestborn, she gets careless for a moment and she’s marked by him, thus being damned: She has three days for killing someone on cold blood and becoming a bloodbound, or else she dies. Rachelle then had to kill someone and the guilt will haunt her for the rest of her life.

Three years later, the king hires her as his official bloodbound, with the task of protecting his son Armand. But there’s also an evil force – the Devourer – threatening the city and Rachelle can help for it to be eliminated.

I started this book with high expectations. I had read and loved Rosamund Hodge’s Cruel Beauty a few months ago, and so I was eager to picking up this book. This one, however, was more like my kind of book – it has action, gore, sexy romance, fantasy, and a dark world that’s also fascinating.

I think this book ended up being better than Cruel Beauty not only for the fact I said before, though. The writing, for once, was better. The descriptions of the forest were beautiful and could give you chills up your spine because of how dark they could be sometimes.

I also loved the main character better. Rachelle is a complex heroine, and I loved her for that. She was brave and strong, but she could get selfish or insecure at times, and that made her even more relatable. I’ve said perfect characters are usually not easy to like for me, but flawed ones are more realistic and I like them better.

Rachelle was not the only one that way, though. Erec (another bloodbound, and Rachelle’s friend) was complex too. He was impossible to decipher. His personality is a bit seductive and he may appear like a villain at times, but in some others, he could seem like a good guy. The best part about him is that he’s neither and both – just like I like it.

And the Armand I talked about in the synopsis is the guy Rachelle must protect. He doesn’t have hands, but hecan handle things perfectly. He was flawed too and I really loved him.

There are some hints here and there about Little Red Riding Hood, but the story is not similar at all, so I wouldn’t say this is strictly a retelling. Yes, it’s based upon fairy tales (LRRH and The Girl With No Hands), but Hodge gets original and adds more things to story.

The world building and setting were amazing too. Hodge does a great job describing what bloodbounds and forestborns are without overfilling the book with too much information. Most of the story is set in the forest, which was a bit creepy because of that Devourer and the dangers they had to fight, but I loved it.

I must say that this book would have been miles better if the audience had not been young adult. There are already some disturbing and sexy scenes, but in my opinion, things would have been more interesting if the book had been aimed at more mature readers.

Still, I cannot say that fact prevented me from enjoying this book, because that would be a lie.

If you didn’t like Cruel Beauty, I’d say you give a chance to Crimson Bound. They’re not similar at all, and what you might have disliked from the first book, is probably not present in this one.

Now, when is Rosamund Hodge publishing another book? I would totally read it.

P.S.: The stupid spiral staircase on the cover is giving me the creeps. I blame Marcus Sedgwick's The Ghosts of Heaven for this.
Profile Image for Trina (Between Chapters).
872 reviews3,757 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
March 7, 2018
I just can't get into this. The backstory of the world and some of the terms are just too confusing to me. It definitely hasn't helped that I started this right before my son was born and had to put it down for quite a while. When I picked it back up I was so lost. I've put it down and picked it back up 3 times now and tried both the print and audio formats but was never able to get invested. I feel like the section I read was very slow and repetitive and I don't really see the point of the story. I'm just no longer interested.

The audiobook narrator (Elizabeth Knowelden) reads in a very soothing, beautiful voice and I did enjoy listening to her but I don't think audio format helped the details stick.

I think this is a story that would benefit from being able to read it one shot.
Profile Image for Glass.
643 reviews4 followers
April 28, 2015
3-I expected-so-much-more-stars

Rosamund Hodge and her debut novel, Cruel Beauty, was one of the best gems of 2014 - at least for me. Gothic and dark retelling of Beauty and the Beast, main female character who is almost anti-heroine and a bad guy with a closet full of skeletons. And, of course, pretty cover. I was looking forward to reading her second novel, Crimson Bound.

But something went wrong. First of all, if my memory serves me right, originally this was supposed to be story set into the same fictional world as Cruel Beauty. Or I just overlooked that note in the book description stating that Crimson Bound is not part of the same fictional world. I got into the book expecting similar setting and then - puff, I was all how?, who?, where?... Devaurer, what? I can only blame myself for this. I wish that I can say that it was the only thing that bothered me. Sadly, there was more.

Rachelle. I am not the fan of main female character. She should be strong and kick ass, and she is sometimes, but most of the times she was insecure and naive.

Love triangle. Actually I wasn't the fan of romance in general when it comes to this book. They go quickly from "I do not trust you" phase to "I love you and let's be together". There was this one part that completely surprised me - in a good way, because you won't see that kind of twist very often in young adult novels. I just wish that author didn't rushed it so much.

Mythology. So confusing, but original. I had to read some explanations again to understand what is going on - it's not outright description or even completely clear. You got a lot of vague clues and hints about paranormal side, but in the end, everything comes to the right place. Rosamund Hodge did a great job with describing Forest considering that it is more like metaphysical than actual place.

Final judgement? Crimson Bound would be a perfect choice for fans of fantasy novels who crave for a little bit different story and everyone who prefer more mature young adult genre.

*ARC was provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.*
Profile Image for Maria✨.
186 reviews49 followers
August 14, 2019
A love triangle that works?! How is that possible?!

It's not entirely on your face, that is how!

This Red Riding Hood retelling does a very good job at offering a solid fantasy setting with specific powers and with focus on human relationships. Albeit the realization of love comes a bit abrupt just like in Cruel Beauty, the steady development of the story with Rachelle being the focal point of everything is simply great.

You have Rachelle, a hoodwinked young woman who is surviving day by day hoping to put an end to the evil that lurks in the Great Forest and even though the trope of being of a special someone that saves the day is very common in all such books, Rachelle sets the tone much better. Her background and the 3 year gap from her fall to the current time show that she was always striving and searching for the weapon that would end the Devourer. Even after the book started, she still failed in her search and things did not just come out of the sky to help her. Everything was just flowing completely natural.

Then you have the other 2 love interests; Erec, the playful, yet arrogant person who helped her stand back on her feet and shares the same fate as hers and Armand, the King's nephew who is rumoured to have insidious plans of overthrowing his uncle and the person Rachelle has to protect. The mysteries and secrets surrounding this trio are too many and often things come up too late in a situation, which makes this an even more interesting read. Add to the mix Amelie, who is Rachelle's one and only friend; la Fontaine, the king's mistress; the bishop and his retainer, who are against the king; the whole Great Forest that lurks and you have a solid fantasy book.

Even if the romance is a bit awkward, I love that Rachelle is not afraid to go through mud and makes mistakes. She has very relatable thoughts and is being very honest to herself as she knows she has made huge mistakes but does not hide from the fact that she still wants to live. She is humn through and through!

In general, a great read with a few flaws here and there, but the concept and execution of various ideas were great. A tad predictable sometimes, but a thorough enjoyable time!
Profile Image for Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~.
350 reviews942 followers
September 5, 2017
There is something very delightful to me about the way that Rosamund Hodge weaves these fairytale retellings. I will say though that if you're a staunch fan of elaborate high fantasy, these retellings may not be for you. Hodge almost always sets up an interesting premise and populates it with fun characters, but I have noticed there's consistently some elements missing from her novels.

For me as a reader, I am interested in details. I want to feel like I am discovering a story in a well established world. Unfortunately in both Crimson Bound and Cruel Beauty, there is mediocre world building. It seems like both books hint at worlds with a complex magic system & rich mythology but then don't deliver on those hints.

Ultimately this leads to a rushed climax that consists of crazy events happening in a quick, confusing succession. By the close of both novels I found myself standing in the aftermath shouting "But why & how did all of that happen!?" So this is why I say if you're a fan of high fantasy, you're probably going to be bothered by the lacking explanations.

In Crimson Bound, I also felt myself taken out of the story by some of the strange things that were happening to our main character. She's characterized as a strong-willed, ruthlessly determined murderer. Yet it seemed like she allowed herself to be toyed with almost constantly.

Time that should've been spent expanding the characters was wasted by the two male points of the love triangle alternatingly twirling our main character off her feet. This kind of diversion causes me to feel shallowly invested in the overall outcome.

I will say though there's something very sexy about how Hodge writes her love interests. Even though I was rolling my eyes at some of their games, there were moments when a scene involving either of them really struck me the right way. I was hoping to experience more of that sultry grit because in those moments I was enjoying myself, but it was hit & miss.

I gave this one a three stars because overall it isn't bad, it just isn't as good as it could be. There's a lot that could've been added/taken away that would've made this a 5 star read.

If you enjoy fairytale retellings with a twist, I would recommend Crimson Bound, just do not expect an intricate fantasy with deep characters.
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