Published by Balzer + Bray on May 5, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Romantic, Young Adult
Sexual Content: Kissing, references to sex
Reviewed by: Kate
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.
After I called CRUEL BEAUTY my top YA read of 2014, I wasn't sure that CRIMSON BOUND could live up to the mightily high expectations I had for it. I mean, this is a book that I requested before there was even a description to go with the lovely cover. And, while I'm afraid that for me, CRIMSON BOUND doesn't top CRUEL BEAUTY, it is still a magnificent story, well written with some great characters. Plus, I'd like to give a shout-out to stand alone novels that aren't part of series! They feel so few and far between, but this great little gem stands by itself and doesn't need a series to be spectacular.
CRIMSON BOUND takes the "Little Red Riding Hood" aspects of the story and gets them out of the way right at the beginning, with a girl, and a forest and the dangers therein. Then, Hodge takes those well-known components, and mixes them up and turns them upside down, and we get CRIMSON BOUND. Hodge's writing is lush and beautiful, making you feel like you're sailing along the pages, going so smoothly you barely notice where they've gone. And the places you go! The city, the palace, the woods - all settings that felt so real to me, so easily pictured in my mind because of Hodge's skill at description.
One of my favorite things about Hodge's two books so far is her ability to write a strong and amazing female protagonist who is also flawed. And despite those flaws, they are still sympathetic characters. Rachelle lives with a lot of guilt about her past, and seeing her having to come to terms with that guilt is a fascinating struggle to watch.
My only complaint would be that the romantic aspects of the story felt a bit like an afterthought- whereas with CRUEL BEAUTY the relationship between the main characters practically was the story, I felt like Rachelle could have held CRIMSON BOUND up all on her own. Though Armand was an interesting enigma, their relationship didn't feel very fleshed out or real to me, and it didn't hold up to the other aspects of the book.
CRIMSON BOUND definitely cements Hodge on my auto-buy author list. With its great story, awesome characters and fascinating ability to twist around a fairy tale that I would guess isn't most people's favorite, CRIMSON BOUND is a brilliant young adult fantasy well worth the read.Series Titles: