Sunday, May 31, 2015

Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Title: Crimson Bound
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Source: Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss

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.
Review by Nara

After the beautiful book that was Cruel Beauty, Rosamund Hodge became a member of my auto-buy author list. The world building, characters and romance in that book were all amazing. Well, Crimson Bound is more of the same stunning world building, fantastically well developed characters and even better romance. It's a book that's really further consolidated the fact that Hodge should be on my (and everyone's) auto-buy author list.

Plus, if they keep making the covers like that, how can anyone resist?

Anyway, back to the actual book. Crimson Bound is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood- but a Riding Hood retelling the likes of which I've never seen. It's dark; it's twisted; it's freaking incredible. To be honest, if I hadn't known that it was a Riding Hood retelling, I might not even have picked it. But if you do know, there are quite a few parallels to the original tale which have been very creatively changed. The world building is as intricate as ever, without feeling like an infodump. I honestly wish that the author would revisit the worlds she creates, because they're really well constructed and actually really interesting to read about.

Another Rosamund Hodge book, and another unconventional love triangle. On one hand we have the maybe reformed playboy Erec, and on the other the supposed saint Armand. Hot damn, the twists and turns in the romance are insane. I feel like I expected none of them- in fact, I feel like I expected none of the plot twists at all in general. Hodge is a freaking master at dropping these bombshells which are shocking, but not completely unexpected- the type that make you feel as if you perhaps should've predicted them.

The protagonist Rachelle is a total badass. She's had to make a lot of difficult decisions, and she's come out a much tougher person. On the other hand, she's got a lot of self-loathing, which often I don't really like in protagonists, but it's something that Hodge pulls off really well- both in this book and in Cruel Beauty.

Well, in any case, Crimson Bound is one of the best high fantasy standalones I have ever read. Please do give it a go.

Overall: 9/10
Plot: 5/5
Romance: 4.5/5
Writing: 5/5
World Building: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 5/5