You’d be entirely forgiven for thinking that Crimson Bound had something to do with Hodge’s first novel, Cruel Beauty.
- Both books reference red on the cover.
- Both cover make use of the initials CB
- Both books use the same font for the title
- Both books feature a spiral on the cover
- With a girl wearing red
- running up/down the spiral staircase
Yes, you’d easily be forgiven for thinking, at first glance, that these books were related, or at least similar.
You wouldn’t be entirely wrong.
While Crimson Bound is not part of the Cruel Beauty universe, it does have some remarkable similarities between the pages as well:
- Both books feature an independent, fierce headstrong teen female lead
- Who needs to explore the building she is trapped in
- To find something that will save her world from destruction.
- Meanwhile, there’s a love triangle
- Between a cocky boy and a gentle one
- And they are both so beautiful it hurts.
- One of them is meant to be off-limits
- But she dithers backwards and forwards between both of them.
- The gentle one appears to betray her.
- She gives herself to the cocky one.
- The sex is her first time
- And it comes out of ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE. Like, one moment, hello, next moment, BANG. SEXYTIMES.
- In the end she betrays her people to save them.
Yep, you’d be entirely forgiven for thinking these books were somehow related.
But they’re not.
Crimson Bound is told from third person point of view and the worldbuilding is deeper and more complex than Cruel Beauty’s. It’s also half inspired by Little Red Riding Hood and The Girl with No Hands, which is itself a batshit INSANE fairy tale, so Crimson Bound is kind of half batshit insane itself. It doesn’t stick to its own worldbuilding rules (once early on and then once much, much later into the book), which is very frustrating, because apart from that there’s some really beautiful ideas (bound by a crimson thread! A Wild Hunt of forestborn, some kind of demi-god creature), recurring motifs (the forest, the sun and moon), and prose in there.
Rachelle’s a likeable protagonist. I always like the baddest good guy trope, the character who’s a good guy but does the dirty work of bad guys the real good guys won’t do. Rachelle complains a bit about being bloodborn but she really revels in the excuse it gives her to be bloodthirsty.
Like Cruel Beauty, I just get the feeling Crimson Bound wasn’t entirely thought out, planned ahead, or fleshed out as I would want the end product to be.
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.