Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
Series: Standalone
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
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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.

When Rachelle was fifteen, she was good. So good, in fact, that she was willing to risk her soul to save the world.

This story begins with endless night and infinite forest; with two orphaned children, and two swords made of broken bone.
It has not yet ended.

This book was interesting, fun, frustrating and confusing at times. Rachelle has it in her head that she's going to save the world. It's kind of nice, actually, to come across a girl that would literally give up everything to save the world. I don't often come across those type of heroines in YA books. But Rachelle has a problem, she's got a martyr complex. She has to save the world.

Honestly, most of the problems I had with this book are Rachelle's fault. I felt like I never really got to know her because she was always putting on a front. Even by herself, it was as though she kept trying to be this tough girl - and it never really worked for me. While her character started off well enough (and it was even a mistake she made that kicked off the plot) eventually she turned into 'the only one that can save us'. *sigh* There was also the problem that with so many decisions she made, I not only disagreed with them, I couldn't even understand why she made them.

I liked several of the other characters. Armand is a very interesting guy but, while I do like him and find him entertaining, I wanted more information on him. It was almost as though he suddenly sprung into being six months ago because it seems like he's only got one trait from before then.

Amelie is…well, I'm not sure how to describe her. I love that girl and think her and Rachelle's friendship should have been the relationship focus of the book instead of the romance. Because these two girls are beautiful together. They're so different and complement each other perfectly.

But this is completely Rachelle's story. While it's told in the third person, except for the occasional piece of legend interspersed between the chapters, everything is narrated by Rachelle. While I'm usually a fan of third person, I think this book would have been served at least as well in first. (Because I would have given almost anything to get a few chapters from Armand and/or Amelie.)

The world is fascinating. It's very French but the mythology (what with the whole 'devourer of the sun and moon' bit) sounds Egyptian to me. I don't mind. (Seriously, I'd love Rosamund Hodge to get write a fairytale retelling with straight-up Egyptian mythology.) I wish we'd spent a little less time in the court and ch√Ęteau and with people that were colorless. (Literally, just one spot of color with their flawlessly pale skin. *shrugs* What can I say? It's French.) But the setting itself is actually kind of cool what with the legend of the Devourer and the historical aspect and the forest.

One thing that I did love was the history/legend. Though this is where the confusing part comes in because, while I understood a good portion of it, some of it still left me scratching my head.

All in all, I did like the book and it would have gotten a slightly higher rating if not for my distance from Rachelle.

I would also like to mention the retelling aspect of this book. While it is marketed as a Little Red Riding Hood retelling, there is very little aspect to that in the book. (Most of it is in the prologue.) There is also a smidgen of The Girl Without Hands and Hansel and Gretel blended into the story.