Published by Balzer + Bray on May 5, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
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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.
I love fairy tale retellings for a few reasons:
- They take a usually well known story and put a twist on it, and the twists can range from mundane (which can still be exciting and fantastic because, fairy tale) all the way to sci-fi space opera (the incomparable Lunar Chronicles).
- Romance is usually a major part of the plot (which as you know, is great for me, since I’m a hopeless romantic).
- They usually have happy endings (it’s not called a happily ever after for nothing).
Crimson Bound doesn’t really reflect the tale its based on (Little Red Riding Hood) except for maybe the beginning setup. It’s a very dark story, as the main character’s internal struggle with being a monster and a murderer is one of the main conflicts.
There’s no instalove, as the main romantic relationship begins with inconvenience, annoyance, a bit of hate, and a heaping helping of distrust. I really liked Armand’s character, and his lack of hands (they were cut off) added some very interesting physical and emotional layers to his character.
Rachelle is filled with nihilistic self-loathing, which honestly got exhausting after a while. She is so driven to kill the Devourer (mythical big bad), but its not even really for her own redemption, so to me, her motivation felt a little weak until the romance and friendship with a lovely character named Amelie kicked in a will to leave.
There is a love triangle, but the offending relationship is more of an outworking of Rachelle’s self-loathing, so it didn’t bother me too much, as triangles go.
The first 30 pages or so were really engaging, and then it slowed down until about page 150. Once I got there, I read to the end in one sitting.
All in all, Crimson Bound, while not spectacular, is a dark, fantastical, romantic, action packed fairy tale that should hold the interest of readers of the genre.
Crimson Bound is filling the category “Favorite Trope (Fairy Tale Retelling)” in my TBR Challenge. To see more info on my 2016 Reading Challenges, go HERE.
Content: Kissing, sex referenced (fade to black), disturbing images, violence. Recommended for 16+.