Crimson Bound

Crimson Bound

Crimson Bound

by Rosamund Hodge

Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: May 5th 2015
by Bazler + Bray




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?


This is the human way, she thought. On the edge of destruction, at the end of all things, we still dance. And hope.

I might not have been the biggest fan of Hodge’s Cruel Beauty, but Crimson Bound is infinitely better than Hodge’s debut. This book is many things; but, above all, it is a clever and eerily atmospheric retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.

When a human is marked by a forestborn, they have two choices: to kill someone or to be killed. Three years ago, 16-year-old Rachelle strayed into the forest and was marked by a forestborn, and she paid the price: her life for the life of her aunt.

Now a member of the King’s court, Rachelle hears a legend of a sword that might destroy the deadly forest that the forestborn live in. But in doing so, she is forced to take risks and gambles with stakes higher than she could have ever imagined.

Rachelle is your typical fantasy heroine – fierce, spunky and badass. Despite the lack of originality in her personality and her resemblance to so many other YA protagonists, somehow Hodge manages to write her character in a way that makes her feel fresh and original even though her personality is clearly a bit cliche within the genre.

Crimson Bound is indeed a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, but the comparisons between both stories are virtually invisible. There are no wolves or grandmothers; at least not literally. The way the two stories intertwine is more on a metaphoric level than anything else. Readers who like their retellings word-for-word as the original may not find this book especially appealing, but being aware of the fact that this is such a loose retelling before beginning to read will help you pinpoint your expectations more accurately.

All in all, Crimson Beauty is a very intelligently thought out story with action, romance and twists that are more than enough to satisfy you on a rainy day. Readers who loved Hodge’s Cruel Beauty are sure to be impressed by what Hodge has up her sleeve in this tale.


38 thoughts on “Crimson Bound

    1. I’m not much of a high fantasy reader Ellie (or just fantasy in general) but I really liked this one. 🙂 Thank you!

  1. I so want to read this! I did like Cruel Beauty, I mean, not my most favouritest book ever but it’s one I definitely look back on and think “YEAH THAT WAS GOOD STUFF” XD So clearly I need more Rosamund Hodge in my life. Plus, pfft, I just trust you. 😉

  2. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Cruel Beauty either, but I have higher hopes for this one. I recently got a copy so hopefully I’ll be able to read this one this summer. I guess even if I don’t like it, this book will look pretty on my bookshelf 🙂

    1. I wasn’t the hugest fan of Cruel Beauty either Stephanie which was why I was a bit hesitant to read it, but I ended up really liking it; and I hope you feel the same way!

    1. I feel like some metaphoric retellings are much better than actual play-by-play retellings, you know? As much as I love play-by-play retellings, the fact that you already roughly know the story makes them a bit predictable. Thank you!

  3. “Crimson Bound is indeed a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, but the comparisons between both stories are virtually invisible.” WAIT WHAT? THIS IS A LRRH RETELLING? Wow. I really need to get myself together and be more attentive. But then again, if it was more on the metaphorical side..Sigh. Great review as alwayss, Zoe!

  4. I was the opposite, I liked Cruel Beauty a bit more but still enjoyed both. Completely agree about the main character and the world in this one, I loved how fleshed out and unique it was. I’d definitely love to see more from the world because it seems so vast. Nice review Zoe 🙂

  5. Oooh! I really like this feature! It’s cool to relate books to other media, and funny thing is, I haven’t seen Into The Woods! 😛 Well I’m glad that you at least enjoyed this one, it’s a pity you didn’t enjoy Cruel Beauty as much 🙁 I was gifted Cruel Beauty so I do hope to get round to reading it soon, hopefully I might have a better experience 🙂 I like that you mentioned that Crimson Bound it is an intelligently thought out story, it makes me want to read it more! 😉
    Lovely review Zoe!

  6. I can’t believe I haven’t picked up this book yet, because I really did like Cruel Beauty. I’m not really a fan of the original Red Riding Hood story, but from the looks of it, this sounds eerily different, and if its that loosely based, I can always just choose to ignore that is a retelling in the first place. I love this musical theatre bit you’ve got going on, Zo! Haha, Into The Woods was a slow movie for me but yeah, I definitely see what you mean when you draw a parallel between the two like that. As always, lovely review!

  7. Ooh, this one sounds amazing, and I’ve seena lot of people who love Cruel Beauty. Roasmond Hodge seems like she’s written a good one,a dn I WANT TO READ THIS. XD Great review, Zoe <3

  8. I have never read Cruel Beauty, but I really liked this one. I also thought that it deviated pretty far from Little Red Riding Hood, but then still kind of had elements from it, which is pretty cool. BUT I’M GLAD YOU ENJOYED IT ZOE. AWESOME REVIEW <3 <3

  9. Yay, this is wonderful that you really liked Crimson Bound! I LOVED Cruel Beauty, but I’m interested in picking this one up soon. Rachelle sounds really awesome, even though as you said she sounds a little bit cliche. It’s good this one stayed true to the heart of Little Rid Riding Hood, rather than a straight retelling. Lovely review Zoe! <3

  10. I am SO glad you said that you weren’t a fan of CB but liked this. Because I hated CB and I keep seeing positive reviews of this and was just like. . . blah, everyone loved her other book too and I didn’t. You’re the first person I’ve seen that didn’t like the debut but enjoyed this so WOOOO. Hope restored, Zoe!

  11. I know, I’ve been living under a rock for some time, so I hadn’t had a chance to take a whiff of new books, but this one kind of marks the spot for a good retelling. I did like Cruel Beauty, but I like how Red Riding Hood is actually kind of creepy to me when I was a kid, so I am looking forward to reading this one.

  12. I haven’t read Cruel Beauty yet, but I like that you don’t have to read that first before this. I’m not a huge series fan, so I love when books are standalones. This is one I definitely want to check out at some point. Glad to see you enjoyed it! 🙂

  13. This sounds really good! I haven’t read Cruel Beauty, and I always assumed this was a sequel, but it doesn’t seem to be? I don’t know, but either way, I am really intrigued! Did she have to kill the aunt herself?! That is horrible. I kind of want to read it just to find out all these rules- like, do you choose who to kill? See, I have questions! Plus, I like the sound of an eerie setting, and Rachelle seems like a good main character, so I am in! Great review 🙂

  14. I’d not heard much of this book before, but I’m really intrigued! Rachelle being apart of Court is more intriguing to me than the earlier part, simply because it sounds more like the high fantasy I’m used to. I’m really interested by it being loosely based on Little Red Riding Hood, too! I’ll have to keep my eye out for Crimson Bound! Thanks for the great review, Zoe!

  15. I definitely agree with you regarding this one – it was so much better than Cruel Beauty. I read her debut and didn’t feel much love for it. But Crimson Bound? I enjoyed it so much and was in so much awe I gave it 5 stars. This is the book where I became a fan of hers, through and through 😉 But you are also right in saying her personality was very “Ya Fantasy-ish”. Rachelle reminded me Celaena Sardothien in many ways!

    Faye at The Social Potato

  16. I loved this one! But I did like Cruel Beauty too, and I couldn’t pick my favourite after finishing it, but now it’s been a while, I think Crimson Bound, because like you said, it is better, and for me, definitely in plot. Because one of those twists? Didn’t see them coming. And exactly, I know it’s supposed to be a retelling, but it didn’t feel like one at all, and I loved that. 🙂

  17. I haven’t read her debut yet, but I’ve read some mixed reviews for it. I, however, LOVE retellings, so I don’t even care. To hear that this book is amazing, and only loosely follows the original tale is a great positive. I like my retellings to be original as much as possible, so it doesn’t feel like I’m reading for no reason. Wonderful review Zoe, so glad you enjoyed it!

  18. Ooh, I had no idea that this was a different retelling than Cruel Beauty, which I own but sadly still haven’t got around to reading yet. I can deal with cliche type characters when they’ve got that strength and spunk. Retellings have been a bit of a hit and miss for me in the past, but I love that it’s loosely based on the original, which makes it want to read it more to see what she brings to the table. Awesome review Zoe, going to squeeze in book one to read soon <3

  19. I’ve heard Rosamund’s stories are really good, and am glad you enjoyed this one more than “Cruel Beauty.” “Red Riding Hood” is another re-telling I’ve not seen much, though I know they are out there. I’ll have to read this one sooner rather than later.

    Thanks so much for visiting Dreaming Under the Same Moon. Appreciate it.

  20. I am dying to read this book!I loved Cruel Beauty so much, so naturally I wanted to read Hodge’s second book and at the same time, I was really intrigued by the fact that this is a retelling of Red Riding Hood!
    I hope I’ll get a chance to read it soon!
    Great review, Zoe!:)

  21. I loved Cruel Beauty, and even though the main character in this has some similar traits to other characters I’m interested in seeing how Hodge managed to make her fresh.I am so excited for this book! I also adore the cover. Nice review!

  22. I have read reviews of this which made me hesitate to pick it up – especially since I did enjoy Cruel Beauty and it was not compared favorably to it, but now I’m more interested with the comparison to Into the Woods (one of my fave musicals) It’s interesting that this is such a loose take on the story too, I do love it when the author makes us work to see the connection – or it kind of dawns on the reader as they are going along. 🙂 Great review, and I love that you are combining books with musical theatre!

  23. Crimson Bound is definitely very different from the original Red Riding tale. Like you said, it’s a very loose retelling. There are not much obvious parallels in the story compared to Little Red.

    I definitely agree that Rachelle is your typical stock YA heroine, but she does feel a bit different than the usual. Agree with this review 100%. ^.^

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