Review: Crimson Bound

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Goodreads Summary:

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 really liked this book. I did not however love it as much as I did Cruel BeautyBut I think that’s mainly because I felt the romantic entanglements fell a bit flat in this one compared to the Beauty and the Beast retelling.

However! The world that Hodge created in this book was so fantastic, the “bad guys” are walking a very grey line as to how bad they really are, especially given that our MC is one of the said “bad guys.” And the “Saints” and clerics aren’t really all that pure either. It’s such a juxtaposed look at the traditional good and evil, and that is what I love about Hodge’s stories. Everyone is so complex and have so many warring motives that you cannot label any of them as solely good or bad.

The two stories she used to inspire this book are also very interesting. It’s “Red Riding Hood,” influence is pretty loose, but you can certainly see the overarching themes of that story woven into this. I loved how rich the world was, how peoples intentions were never what you expected, and how out MC constantly fights for a redemption she doesn’t believe she deserves.

I can’t wait to see what Hodge comes out with next!

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Cruel Beauty

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15839984Goodreads Summary:

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

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This is the second retell of Beauty and the Beast I have read this year, the first by Stacie Jay, I really enjoyed. This one I totally loved as well for completely different reasons. It’s so interesting to see how many different ways this story can be told!

It took me a little while to get into the authors writing style, but once I did, I loved this story. The mix of the classic fairy tale and mythology was really interesting, and I loved that the heroine was exactly that, not a trace of damsel. Nyx reminds me a bit of Adelina from The Young Elites – she’s got a dark side and she’s not afraid to show it.

I had basically figured out the twist between the Gentle Lord and his shadow – but that’s because it’s based on a story I already know. I still thought it was done really well. The idea of the rose under the cloche was the most interesting twist in this (besides the mythology), the way she translated that was so interesting!

Based on the reviews I have read for this book, you either love it or you hate it. Obviously I loved it, but I think part of the reason some people aren’t enjoying it as much is because without a basic knowledge of the myths Hodge references I can see it being confusing. Especially since the myths she uses act as major players in the overall arch of the story.

Basically though, it was a great read and I am looking forward to her take on Little Red Riding Hood.