Crimson Bound – Rosamund Hodge

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A dark retelling of Little Red Riding Hood following Rachelle, who, after following the wrong path, ends up as an enforcer for the King; killing the creatures that will bring on the endless night. Her wolf comes to her in disguise of a man; a man who Rachelle believes will do her no wrong.

The plot is quick to unfold as Rachelle makes her transition to the “dark” side. I loved the beginning of the novel and how Rachelle is portrayed; a girl wanting to break with traditions and do something worthwhile to stop the darkness. She makes bad choices in good faith which is her undoing. Despite her own darkness Rachelle is a likeable character. She is feisty and willing to do what is needed to to complete her missions. As the story unfolds and Rachelle is pulled further into conspiracy theories and coup’s she still maintains a clear head for problem solving. Her strong mind is something that she will rely on in the novel’s conclusion.

The relationship between her and Erec, her mentor and possible only friend, is strenuous, flirty and “off.” There is sexual tension and attraction between them which later unfolds into something much darker and creepy than first imagined. This is very different to her relationship with Armand, a possible heir to the throne he is everything Erec is not. Armand respects Rachelle for who she is and doesn’t belittle her and her feelings like Erec does. While she does not hold a place in court he listens to her even though her theories on how to stop the darkness are not considered relevant or possible. I didn’t think this was much of a love triangle and was being pushed a little bit too hard to be one. I would have been content to just have Rachelle with one love interest and one friend.

Having not read a Little Red Riding retelling I wasn’t sure how such a classic tale told to small children could be updated into a story for young adults. One of my favourite parts within the novel was how the wolf was incorporated. I won’t say too much as I don’t want to spoil it for everyone but I will admit I missed the big reveal with him despite the clues throughout. He appears briefly at the beginning of the novel and like in the children’s tale makes a surprise return at the end. Trust me, you will like it.

I think the book had some brilliant ideas which could have been amazing and I enjoyed it, but I don’t think I would read it again. The plot did get a bit tangled at the end like Cruel Beauty (which I reviewed last week) but, I do think the ending was written better than Cruel Beauty. With all of the magical and fantasy elements within both novels I did find myself getting lost however, I think the ending of Crimson Bound did a better job of bringing everything together. I didn’t have any unanswered questions and all of the characters had completed character arcs. Personally, the novel felt rushed to get all of the information across and get to the ending.

I have rated this a four on Goodreads but its actual rating is a three and a half.

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