Review of Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge


Crimson Bound
By: Rosamund Hodge
Release Date: May 5th 2015
Publisher:  Balzer + Bray
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

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.

The Story:
I was really excited to see a retelling/retake on Little Red Riding Hood and I’ll tell you…the prologue to Crimson Bound was spectacular. I was immediately swept away and fell in love. We experience Rachelle’s life as a 15 year old- bold, and as the summary says, reckless. It was an incredibly powerful start to the book and I couldn’t wait to see where the story would go next.

The first chapter picks up with Rachelle being much older, guilt ridden and horrified by her choices. It was a bit of an adjustment for me since three years had passed but after a few chapters I was entranced with the world Hodge has created. I think the reason it took me a few chapters to really get into the story after the prologue was because the world was a tad complicated and it took me some pages to get the characters straight. Once this was achieved I was very interested in the story progression. As with her debut, Cruel Beauty, the writing was beautifully done. Some of the pacing felt uneven to me with some sections dragging just the slightest bit but not enough to really detract from my reading experience.

I had never heard of The Girl Without Hands which was an inspiration for this book. After some googling I was impressed with how Hodge was able to combine both this tale as well as Red Riding Hood.

The Characters:
I enjoyed Rachelle’s character and felt that she was well constructed and a very interesting character to follow. Hodge does an excellent job in this book as well as her debut with creating really complex characters that are incredibly well rounded.

I love unexpected allies and enemies having to work together so this aspect from the summary was a selling point for sure. I wasn’t 100% sold on Rachelle really hating Armand but it was still fun to read about them having to team up and learn to trust each other or not.

One of the most interesting characters was Erec, Rachelle’s mentor of sorts. I loved the complexity of his character and my inability to ever really like him but to completely understand why Rachelle was drawn to him in some ways. I enjoy a character that has me guessing at their motivations.

My biggest issue with Crimson Bound was some of the dialog between characters. I would love to show examples but most of it was very centered on things that progressed the plot so I’ll not quote it here but a lot of it was really cheesy for me. I felt nothing with declarations of love and really a lot of the pivotal character interactions fell flat. I was reading the advanced reader copy so I’m really hoping that some of it is fixed before the final printing. It felt more like filler lines than finished dialog.

Final Thoughts:
I really love how creative, vivid and imaginative Crimson Bound was. If you are expecting a  retelling don’t- look for Red Riding Hood and The Girl Without Hands as inspiration for the story. It might be fun to brush up on both tales prior to reading so you can catch references here and there. My biggest complaint was that the dialog was weak in many important places which really hurt my emotional connection to story events.


  1. says

    Great review! I looked at the story about the girl without hands and for a Grimm’s story it is surprisingly, umm happy ending?, despite the whole hands cutting off scenario. 😛 I’ll definitely be checking this out!

    • says

      I’d love to hear what you think about the elements of The Girl Without Hands in Crimson Bound. So happy you went and read it 🙂 I’d never heard of it prior to reading about this book.

  2. says

    I like the sound of this a lot. I’m always on the hunt for a good fiesty leading lady and I love it that she makes choices she regrets (nothing worse than someone excessively moral and dull). Shame about the dialogue, I find that happens a lot and awkward dialogue seriosuly makes me squirm. Sounds good though thanks for sharing 🙂


    • says

      The dialog was really bad but I keep hoping it’ll be changed for the final version. It still wasn’t bad enough to make this book not worth reading. I loved the world and magic and yes, I love a MC that has regrets and guilt.

    • says

      I think you’ll like it Pili. The bad dialog was bad but not so much so that it ruins the book. And I hope so much it is changed from ARC to finished copy. It didn’t feel finished or fleshed out so it’s a possibility!

  3. says

    Great review. I got so confused a lot of the time between the actual narrative, the myth/legend part prefacing every couple of chapters, and the link between the two. (Besides the obvious hands thing, ha). But I adore Hodge’s writing and rather unique set up, so I’ll be reading whatever she comes up with next!

    • says

      I totally agree Hannah. I had to sort of get in the mood and mind space to read it otherwise I was confused. I love it though, makes me think and keeps me focused on the story. I’ll be reading her next book too.

  4. says

    Aw man! Cheesy dialogue. That usually goes two ways for me. Either it’s funny or it’s cringe-worthy. I have no idea how I’ll feel with this book because I really enjoyed Cruel beauty and that one definitely had some cheesy lines in it too!

    I’m actually quite glad that the world is complex because from her other book, Rosamund is pretty epic with the whole worldbuilding thing and even though it’s hard to get, I’m sure I’ll like it once I get used to it! Thanks for the heads up.

    Awesome review, lady!

    • says

      Yes Nova! Hodge’s world building is fab. I adore the complexity and her writing is so pretty. I think you’ll like this one and I’ll be curious to how you feel about the dialog. It’s not all through the novel only in this one stretch. I hope it’s changed in the final version. I’ll be reading more from Hodge for sure.

  5. says

    I still need to read Cruel Beauty! Gah, so behind. But this review is reassuring — some people were scathing about the writing in Cruel Beauty, which wasn’t helping my interest.

    • says

      I hear you on being behind. I think we’ll just never be caught up. I enjoyed both books and couldn’t pick which I preferred. I hope you enjoy them if you get around to reading!

  6. says

    Gorgeous review Kristen. <3 I'm so glad you mostly enjoyed this book 😀 Yay for loving the prologue! But three years passing after that? Ugh. Sounds a bit annoying. I'm sorry you didn't like that very much 🙂 But yay for liking the plot and loving the characters. That is always a plus. <3 But aw. Weak dialog? That is not good at all. I love reading about characters talking together. And not done that well in this book? Ugh. It probably isn't fixed either, hah :p But I'm glad you liked the writing, despite that issue 🙂 But yeah. As we have discussed before, I do not think I will read this book, because of that damn romance 🙁 It breaks my heart. Hmph. It's so mean. At least, I shall not read my eARC. I might read my hardcover when it arrives, as that is easier for me. But thinking about putting it off for months at least, lol 🙂 But I really did love book one, like you did too. Just wishing this one had been just as amazing 🙂 Anyway. Sorry for such a long comment, lol 😀 Your review is amazing sweetie. <3 Loved reading your thoughts about this book 🙂

  7. says

    It took me a little bit to wrap my head around this word too – and honestly, I’m not 100% I do understand everything – but I loved it! Her writing, her imagination, these characters – I thought they were so well done! I’m familiar with the story of The Girl Without Hands – perhaps I should go look that up? Great review!

  8. says

    I really need to read this series! I love a good retelling and I know a lot of people have enjoyed these as well. Great review on your account and you have made me all the more eager to try this one!

  9. says

    I think dialogue is one of the most important aspects for me and its why I ended up DNFing this one, despite making it to 80%. It just didn’t feel smooth or natural to me, you know? But the fantasy element was definitely good! Fantastic review, Kristen! x

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