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BOOK REVIEW: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

| 26 April 2015 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Balzer + Bray
May 2015
Hardcover, $17.99



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.

Rachelle was always a good girl. She listened to her aunt and apprenticed to become the next woodwife, a protector of the village, one of the women who keep the evil Devourer and his forbidden forest away. She loved her family, and her family loved her, too.

There was only one rule she had to follow: never go into the forest alone. 

As with all fairytales, Rachelle does not listen, and one night she meets a forestborn.

She looked back, and his eyes met hers, glittering and alien. He was a forestborn: one of the humans who pleased the Devourer, accepted him as their lord, and were remade by his power into something not quite human anymore.
“Little girl,” he said. “where are you going?”

As a curious girl, Rachelle revisits the forest again and again, pulling the forestborn into conversation. She thinks she could find a way to be rid of the Devourer forever if only the forestborn became her friend. But the forestborn is evil and he tricks her, turning her into a bloodbound.

“This is all you need to know,” he says. “You belong to our lord and master now. And you will kill for him before three days are up, or you will die.”

Three years later, Rachelle is the king’s bloodbound, serving her time in Rocamadour, as a way to absolve herself of her guilt and sins, whilst the forest and the Devourer press closer and closer. She will do anything, pay any price, to destroy the Devourer once and for all. When Armand, one of the king’s illegitimate children, turns up, claiming he disobeyed a forestborn’s request and lost his hands for the effort, the king places Rachelle as his bodyguard. Armand sees the forest, as only the woodwives and bloodbound can, and agrees to help her find the lost sword Joyeuse, the only weapon that could kill the Devourer.

But the Devourer is close. In only three weeks, he will return, plunging the world into Endless Night once again, and time is running out. Rachelle and Armand jump head first into an adventure that will change their lives forever.

There’s been a lot of talk about Hodge’s debut novel Cruel Beauty, so when the chance came up to read Crimson Bound, I couldn’t resist. It’s marketed as a YA retelling of Red Riding Hood, but definitely sits at the older end of YA — there are sexy scenes, and it is incredibly gruesome in parts, which could be difficult to digest for the younger readers. As for the Red Riding Hood retelling, it wasn’t until the very end that the resemblance between the original story and Crimson Bound started to become clear, and I was pleased to find that Hodge also used The Girl Without Hands as part of the story. It’s one of my favourite Brothers Grimm tales.

Although it was incredibly well-written, the story itself sometimes dragged, and so it took longer to read than the average novel.  Highly recommended for fans of Cruel Beauty, Red Riding Hood, The Girl Without Hands and other gruesome fairytale retellings.

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

About the Author ()

21. A reader, a writer, a reviewer and a full-time sloth lover. I am addicted to coffee and my laptop, and love reading especially when it's rainy outside.

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