Author: Rosamund Hodge
Genre: Fairy-Tale Retelling
I will say I liked the story of this one a lot more than the authors last book, Cruel Beauty. Crimson Bound is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and the Girl with No Hands. Yet in the end the characters seemed like retreads and the “myth” and world-building felt kind of vague.
Rachelle is training to be a woodwife when she’s a young girl. Woodwife’s protect the world from “the forest” and the return of the Devourer or the Darkness. Either one I suppose. She strays off the path and winds up becoming one of them after which the only work she can see is as one of the King’s blood bound assassins. Rachelle, though she has blood on her hands, believes she can still work to stop the coming of the devourer by finding two hidden swords that killed him once.
This is getting a little strange I know. At a court that is a lot like the French court in Versailles she’s put in charge of the bastard Prince Armand, the only human to survive initiation into the blood bound. Needless to say there’s hate. There’s mystery. Intrigue. Passion. There’s a bit of a love triangle with Rachelle’s obnoxious boss Erec.
It’s not a bad book and Hodge is an excellent writer. I like the original myth strung throughout this tale but that was also the problem for me. I wish she had fleshed that element of the story out better. Overall in a weird way it was as though all the elements of a great story are present but just not firing for me for some reason. Rachelle is a good character but I’ve read her a thousand times. Troubled. Doomed. Passionate. Guilty ridden. Trying to save the world. Hating herself. Betrayed. Been there. Done that. The romance felt much the same to me.
There’s a lot of potential here and I’ll still be reading whatever Hodge writes next. There were some scenes that were dull and I wanted to slap people yet there were some scenes were the imagery was fantastic and I really wanted to go all in. Hopefully next time she strengthens up all the elements of her story and keeps her endings a bit more on the rails.
It seems such like nitpicking I know but it’s all there in different ways I just didn’t connect with any of it.
Recommend: Torn. I’d recommend the author positively and between Cruel Beauty and Crimson Bound it doesn’t really matter which one you try to see if you want to keep reading.