Author: Rosamund Hodge
Publication: Balzer + Bray (May 5, 2015)
Description: An exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, from the author of Cruel Beauty.
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 a vain effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her hunt for the legendary sword that might save their world. Together, they navigate the opulent world of the courtly elite, where beauty and power reign and no one can be trusted. And as the two become unexpected allies, they discover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic . . . and a love that may be their undoing. Within a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?
My Thoughts: CRIMSON BOUND was an excellent story that is part fantasy, part fairy tale. Rachelle is being raised to be a woodwife. She is apprenticed to her aunt to learn to make the charms that keep the village safe from magical creatures. The most famous of which is the Devourer whose goal is to take over the world and bring on eternal night. Rachelle is sort of reckless, though, and wants a more adventurous career. So, she courts danger by straying from the path and talking with a forestborn. He finally convinces her to take off her protections. At which point, he turns her into a bloodborn whose only choice is to die after three days or kill. Rachelle chooses to kill.
She runs from her village to the city where she becomes one of the King's bloodborn. She soothes her conscience by killing the woodspawn who hunt humans while searching for a long-lost sword that she plans to use to kill the Devourer. It was Erec who trained her to fight and who is her boss. He is bloodborn and eager to be forestborn so that he can live and rule forever. When Rachelle is ordered to guard Armand, she is very conflicted. He is one of the king's bastards who is regarded as a saint by the populace because he, supposedly, had an encounter with a forestborn and lived. He did lose his hands in the encounter. This creates a real crisis of conscience for Rachelle because she believed that her only choices were to kill or die but Armand seems to have found a third path.
The more she spends time with Armand the more she comes to admire him. She even falls in love with him. Meanwhile Erec is also courting her which leaves her torn between two men who are both trying to convince her to be like them. The story is filled with plots and betrayals, twists and turns.
I enjoyed the writing and loved the characters.
"Do you really think I dragged you out here to kill you? I'd get in trouble for that, and you're not worth it."I got this ARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.
He laughed. It was a curiously open laugh, his shoulders shaking and his eyes crinkling. "You're very comforting."
"No," said Rachelle, "just honest. If I were trying to comfort you, I would promise not to hurt you."