Her dreams were a tangled mess of blood and shuddering trees.
This book is damn near perfect.
I just don’t know how to review this wonderful, creepy, gory, clever, twisty fairy tale and be able to do it justice. How do you sell a book to people when it does so many different things and does them all marvelously? I just cannot wait for Cruel Beauty fans to read this.
Crimson Bound is a story full of villains who are allowed to love and heroines who are allowed to murder and be selfish. Rosamund Hodge does not do simple characters – they are all tangled up in a bizarre web of friendship, fear, love, hate, desire and loyalty. You can never quite be sure which characters are trustworthy – if, indeed, any of them are.
If you like fairy tale retellings to stay close to the originals, then Hodge’s imaginative new worlds and mythology may not be for you. I, however, love it. This tale is woven with nods towards the Red Riding Hood story we all know but it wanders far from it into brand new, extremely creepy territory. There are no wolves in this story, at least not in the literal sense, but there are things far far worse.
In the darkest shadows of the wood stands a house. The walls are caulked with blood. The roof is thatched with bones. Within that bloody house lived Old Mother Hunger, the first and eldest of all forestborn.
As with Cruel Beauty, this book is marketed as YA but I would stress that it is probably for the older end of that age group or adults. There are plenty of gruesome battles, sexy scenes and things younger teens might find disturbing.
Now for the story; but I cannot tell you too much because you deserve to discover everything in this book on your own. Anyway, the story is about Rachelle who carelessly strays from the forest path and meets a forestborn who marks her. The rules are thus: a marked human has three days to kill someone and become a slave to the forest’s power or else die. Rachelle makes her choice and will spend the rest of her life paying the price.
Every day for the last three years, she had thought she deserved to die. She still didn’t want to. She wanted to live with every filthy desperate scrap of her heart.
Now older, Rachelle is haunted by her guilt and propelled by the dark power of the forest and the evil Devourer that hides at its centre. Feeling like she has nothing left to lose, she will do anything to stop the Devourer from seizing control of the human world with his darkness. Little does she know that there is always something left to lose.
It’s just wonderful. She’s just wonderful. And complex and selfish at times, but always badass:
“Speechless?” asked Erec. “Don’t be ashamed. I bring all ladies to that state sooner or later.”
“Too bad for you,” she said, “I’m not a lady.”
The book twists about all over the place, never letting you guess how it’s going to end. The tension never leaves and the author is just evil enough to convince you that any and every character you love might die.
I swear my heart was literally racing for the last quarter… so much awesome, so many perfect quotes that I won’t put in this review because they should be discovered at exactly that point in the story. It feels like I’ve been waiting forever for this book and it was oh so worth it.