Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge: Review


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.

(This is a standalone novel, not part of the Cruel Beauty Universe.)


"In all your life, your only choice," Aunt Leonie said to her once, "is the path of needles or the path of pins."

The review for Crimson Bound is exceptionally hard to write, because it's so good, and I really don't know where to start. I've grown attached to the story. It's a beautiful kaleidoscope of darkness and love, and a lot of action. It's very similar to Cruel Beauty in that way. Crimson Bound is apparently based on The Girl with No Hands. I have no idea what that was, but I love the concept of Red Riding Hood being twisted into something both glorious and fearsome.

The story is beyond words. It's written in such a way that there's no apparent holes in the plot. Rachelle's secret unbeknownst to herself, Armand's agenda, and all the nefarious plans brewing from the start of the book. Of course, if I were to be picky, I'd say the mention of Durendal is minimal. So minimal that it's kind of odd to give the sword such attention in a particular moment of the book. But, other than that trivial imperfection, it's filled with action. Rather surprising, because I'd never expect Rachelle to be so badass. It's also filled with emotion struggles too. All of them have a secret to keep and a legacy to fulfill. Sometimes, those things don't go together at all. Sometimes, they are just not right in the ethical sense. But it's a great portrait of life today. We are constantly living in an endless field of grays. Although the circumstances might not be as bleak (or as violent), it's easy to grow attached to it.

"The only way to stop him is with Durendal and Joyeuse, the swords of Tyr and Zisa. And those swords are lost forever."

I love the story of Zisa and Tyr. It's a folklore told as a sort-of afterthought in the story, and from Rachelle's lips. Zisa becomes a bloodbound and sacrifices herself to trap the Devourer and protect her brother Tyr from insanity. Tyr can never forget his beloved sister even if he forgets his name. Their love is palpable. It's kind of a messed-up tale, dark and twisted. But it also has this kind of haunting beauty in the sacrifice. I also love the mention of the two legendary swords, Joyeuse and Durendal. They have appeared in so many novels, both past and present. The first time I have heard of it is in The Infernal Devices (yeah, I know). Joyeuse is the personal sword of Charlemagne, and Durendal is the sword of Roland. While not much is actually known about these two swords, it's fascinating. I wish Cortana is also featured. That would be even better.

"But even beyond death, there are endings, and mine is almost here. Now it lies to you, my daughter, my sister, my pride. Wake up. Finish my story."

The concept of trust is a main part of the book. As I've mentioned before, all the characters have their own agenda. It's impossible to tell whether it's safe to trust one another. All of them have made really rash decisions. Rachelle in particular. Sometimes, a villain will do the noblest things, and a saint may have a cruel heart. You can never know whether their intentions are true, or even if their actions are intentional. The heroine is allowed to be selfish and not trust-worthy. She can be dark and ruthless and violent. But in the end, she has a good heart and a fiery passion. That's what I love about Rachelle.

This is the third book I've read written by Rosamund Hodge. While I still have my heart devoted to Gilded Ashes, this is a thrilling and piercing ride.

Rating: 8.5/10

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