I’m just going to leave that there for a minute.
Ok, I’ll start now.
This book was an absolute disappointment. I expected to like Crimson Bound since I loved Hodge’s Cruel Beauty, but no such luck. I don’t understand how Hodge can create an amazing retelling like Cruel Beauty, but each subsequent retelling (Gilded Ashes then Crimson Bound) be lesser in quality than the previous one. I understand that Crimson Bound is not part of the Cruel Beauty Universe so I shouldn’t be comparing them too harshly, but the overall quality of the story shouldn’t change so drastically from one retelling to another. I had picked up Crimson Bound simply because I had enjoyed Cruel Beauty so much. I now see the error of my actions and may need to reevaluate how I pick books.
Rachelle: I can summarize Rachelle in three sentences: “I deserve to die. I don’t want to die. I will fight to my last breath to save the world.” Rachelle may sound noble, but she’s not. She plagued with guilt and survivor’s remorse so she goes back and forth between declaring that she should die and whining that she doesn’t want to die. If I could’ve entered the book, I would have killed her just to take her out of her misery. I can’t think of any redeeming qualities Rachelle possesses and spent the majority of the book sighing, rolling my eyes, and going (see below) because of all of her whining.
Romance: Not only was romance not needed in this book, but Hodge also executed it so poorly. Armand never did anything except be in the same room as Rachelle and yet she falls in love with him. How do you fall in love with someone you barely talk to? Even when Rachelle and Armand did talk, they didn’t have conversations that held much substance so how could she fall in love with him.The other possible suitor for Rachelle was Erec. Erec is a womanizer who continuously flirts with Rachelle and even though she claims that she’ll never fall for Erec’s charms, she still sleeps with him after Armand “betrays” her. There was no true romance between any of the characters. Rachelle didn’t truly have feelings for either guy, to Erec Rachelle was just a long waited conquest, and from Rachelle’s POV, I couldn’t tell how Armand felt about her. Hodge forces romance into the book and forces a Love-V, but she executes both poorly. The only part of the “romance” that made sense was Erec’s conquest of Rachelle and it only made sense after a big reveal towards the end.
Little Red Riding Hood: Crimson Bound is supposed to be a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, but the connections aren’t too clear. I know retellings are supposed to weave the story a bit differently than the originally, but I think that if a retelling is successful then I can clearly see the connections between the two stories. Crimson Bound relates to Little Red Riding Hood in the very beginning and then it takes a turn never to make sense again.
- Rachelle’s guard cloak is red so it’s like she’s wearing a red hood.
- Rachelle speaks to a stranger on her way to her Aunt’s house and veers off the path.
Yeah, those are the only clear connections. Like there may be some other ways to connect the two stories, but it would be stretching a bit and would need a lot of explanation of the story, which would cause spoilers.
If you’re on the fence about whether or not to read Crimson Bound, I’d say skip it. You’re not missing much and there are better books you could be reading.