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I Belong

Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Crimson BoundTitle: Crimson Bound

Author: Rosamund Hodge

GenreYA Fantasy

Series: N/A

Publication Date: May 5, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 448 Pages

ISBN-10: 006222476X (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062224767 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Bridget


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.

Quick & Dirty: Very unique story with an interesting premises, but it really dragged at parts and the romance is a huge disappointment.

Opening Sentence: “In all your life, your only choice,” Aunt Léonie said to her once, “is the path of needles or the path of pins.”

Excerpt: Yes

The Review

When Rachelle was 15 years old she made a grave mistake that had ever lasting consequences. She chose to trust a forestborn and it changed her life forever. He marked her and being marked by a forestborn is certain death unless you choose to take the life of another. Rachelle chose to live but with that choice someone had to die and she would live with that guilt for the rest of her life.

Now three years later Rachelle is a bloodhound for the King. She spends her time trying to protect the people from the great forest and all the creatures that come from it. Maybe if she can help enough people she can make up for the life she took. But the King gives her a new assignment. She is to guard his son, Armand, a man that claims he survived being marked by the forestborn without having to kill anyone. There’s no way he is telling the truth and Rachelle despises him. But there is a darkness coming that will destroy the world and everyone in it. The darkness is known as the Devourer and the only way to stop him is by finding the last sword that stopped him once before. If Rachelle had any hope of finding the sword she will need Armand’s help. As they work together they uncover many secrets and start to fall in love. Can they save the world or will they die trying?

Rachelle is a great heroine that I really adored. She is strong, intelligent, caring, and witty. She has a lot of guilt from her past, but she uses that to drive her to do good for others, which I found really admirable. I thought she had a great voice and being inside her head was interesting. She was someone I could connect with easily and overall I really enjoyed her as a character.

There is a love triangle in the story and I wasn’t a fan of it at all. First there is Armand, the illegitimate son of the king. He is an interesting character but I struggled with the swoon fracture with him. There wasn’t really anything about him that stick out to me as someone I would fall for. I felt like the relationship between him and Rachelle came out of nowhere. There was hardly any buildup and to be honest I felt like they lacked chemistry. Sadly, I wasn’t a huge fan of Armand.

Erec is the other member of the triangle and I actually liked him better. He is overly confident, super good looking, totally charming, but he also has a dark side to him. I found him to be rather mysterious, and I really liked that. There were times when he seemed like a villain, but there were other times especially when he interacted with Rachelle that brought out a different side to him. He could be really sweet when he wanted to be and there’s so much potential behind that facade he would display. I thought he had great chemistry with Rachelle and I thought their relationship seemed more genuine.

Crimson Bound started off amazing and I was instantly drawn into the captivating world but at about the half way point it started to drag for me. I felt like it took FOREVER for stuff to happen and in a way it felt slightly repetitive to me. To be perfectly honest, I was hesitant to read this one because I wasn’t the biggest fan of Cruel Beauty which was Hodge’s first novel. I actually liked this one a lot more than Cruel Beauty, but I felt like it could have been so much better. I thought the romance was written terribly. There was very little development and even though it wasn’t love at first sight it still felt like instalove. Even with all of its problems, I was still remarkably interested in seeing how the book ended but it did take me two weeks to read this which is a really long time for me. I was kind of in a reading slump when I started this so that obviously didn’t help and sadly this ended up putting me in an even worse slump. I know this review is mostly negative, so let me state a few positive things that I enjoyed. The world building was phenomenal and the way Hodge integrated the Little Red Riding Hood tale was fascinating. It dragged in the middle but the beginning and ending were fast paced and full of action. Overall, this was a middle of the road read for me. To be honest it might have been partly my mood that affected how much I liked this, so I’m still going to recommend this to those that enjoy young adult high fantasy books.

Notable Scene:

But she wasn’t like any of the heroines in those stories. And though she searched the city until she had found every door and gate and fountain and mosaic that had the sun or moon upon it, though she had spent hours scrutinizing all of them for the least trace of power, she had never found anything. And nobody that she talked to had ever heard Aunt Léonie’s version of the story.

Eventually, she had accepted that she would never defeat the Devourer. She would never redeem herself. So she had sworn that the next time she saw her forestborn, at least she would avenge Aunt Léonie.

But when she had finally seen him again this night, she hadn’t been able to do anything. She was still just that helpless, frightened little girl.

No. She had turned to fight in the end. If he hadn’t disappeared, she would have fought him.

When the Devourer returned, her forestborn would certainly come find her again. And when all the world was covered in the Great Forest, there would be no disappearing into it. Rachelle would have her chance to fight then, and she would kill him. No matter the price.

She fell asleep still promising.


FTC Advisory: Balzer & Bray/Harper Collins provided me with a copy of Crimson Bound. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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