Reviewed by: Amy
Rating (out of 5): 3 stars
At the age of fifteen Rachelle Brinon was apprenticing to become her village’s next woodwife. As such, her job would be to protect her village from the evils of the Forest by weaving charms. Wanting to be more proactive than the seemingly mundane task of weaving charms all day, Rachelle sets out to forever save the world from the threat of the Devourer (a force that would swallow the moon and the sun and plunge the world into eternal darkness).
In order to accomplish this, Rachelle needs to find the two legendary swords that can bring about permanent death for the Devourer. Being fifteen and naïve, Rachelle seeks out the forestborn—those who follow the Devourer and await his return—for answers. Because of her actions, Rachelle ends up becoming bloodbound, think of it as a precursor to turning into a forestborn. As such, in her mind, she’s damned.
Three years later, Rachelle ends up working for the King who has a group of bloodbound as his guard. She still hasn’t given up on her objective. When she’s tasked with personally guarding the King’s illegitimate son in order to keep him from starting a coup, she discovers he may be able to help her solve the riddle of the long lost swords.
Writing the summary of Crimson Bound and trying to put it in the most basic words possible with the limited review space, the story seems pretty straightforward and easy. Well, reading Crimson Bound, for me, was anything but. It had some great moments of clarity that especially come through easily with Rachelle and her search for the swords. Her end goal is pretty straight forward, but Crimson Bound is so peppered with myths, legends, and what is believed by some and what is believed by others, that it tends to get confusing at times.
The story is told third person from Rachelle’s point of view. The reader is so much in Rachelle’s head and honestly for the majority of the book that consists of her musings on how she is, or will become, evil and how essentially she is damned and doesn’t deserve to love or be loved. Because of this, the book doesn’t really grow those relationships the reader is supposed to believe in. It makes certain declarations that occur within the story seem very out-of-the-blue and random.
There comes a point well past the halfway mark in the book where Rachelle, still believing herself damned, turns into this really kick-ass female character. If we could have seen her throughout more of the story, I think I would be writing a different review. Rachelle had the capabilities from the start; it was just her self-doubt/hatred getting in the way of progress.
I believe Crimson Bound could have benefitted from being a series rather than a standalone (which at this point it is). I would have loved more time to understand the world and know it. I would have liked more development between the characters before feelings were made one way or another. I appreciated the unique twists that Rosamund Hodge includes and the imagery, the idea of it all. Despite my rather rocky road with Crimson Bound I would definitely look in to reading something else by Rosamund Hodge.
Sexual content: sex