Sophomore Slump: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

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.)

Source: GoodReads

I loved Rosamund Hodge’s debut, Cruel Beauty.  It was a Beauty and the Beast retelling with enough twists to make it interesting.  And I loved the subsequent novella that was released last spring as well.  And I looked forward to Crimson Bound because that blurb.  Wow, just wow.

It didn’t work for me though.  In fact, I DNF’d it about 250 pages in because I just didn’t feel the book and I was only having a vague idea how things were working.  And life is too short for books you’re not loving, especially if they are fairly long (like this one was).

I think some people might enjoy it better than me, and to be fair there were a lot of things going for this book.  But it was just a little too weird for me.

One thing that was jarring to me was the use of third person.  I think this is because the first person point of view worked so well in the previous book, and here while  Hodge used another bitter main character I couldn’t care for her because there was just too big of a disconnect.

There was a disconnect with a lot of these characters in  this book.  First and foremost I just did not like Rachelle.  I get that she was suppose to be cold hearted, but honestly she was bland beyond belief.

Then there was Armand and that other guy, I didn’t feel any emotion from her with either of them.  There were a few cute moments, but they came out of nowhere and weren’t really well planned, I think this was in part due to the ridiculously bad pacing in this book.

Yes, pacing was an issue in Cruel Beauty too, but it was worse here.  To the point it made the story clunky to the point of unreadable.

To it’s credit, the book had some things going for it.  Like with Cruel Beauty there was some fascinating world building inCrimson Bound.  I really didn’t understand a lot of it, but I liked some of the ideas that I did get from it.  And the book was different from anything else I’ve read.

It was very cinematic in the writing, you really did get a sense of the exterior world, even if you had no idea what was going on.

Overall, I think Crimson Bound might work for someone who has a little more patience.  I will continue on reading Hodge’s other work, but this was a huge disappointment to me.

Overall Rating: A C.  I DNF’d it, but I can’t fail it because there were a lot of elements I liked.  It was just too confusing for me to continue.



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