Hello readers! Welcome to the second Monday Musing discussion post!
I was recently looking through my Read shelf on Goodreads just to get a glimpse of the ratings I’ve given out so far this year. (Thank you Emily from Loony Literate — she wrote a great discussion post about if giving out too many five-star ratings brings down reviewers’ credibility.) As of writing this post I have given out 23 five-star ratings in 2015. Which is many more than I thought I’d given! (Comparatively, I’ve given out 7 one-star reviews, and I’ve altogether read 143 books.) Five of those five-star rated books actually started off as four-star rated, but which I bumped up to five-stars after thinking about them some more as time passed. (Those books happen to be The Vanishing Girl by Laura Thalassa, Fairest by Marissa Meyer, Elixir by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Seraphina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty, and Into the Wild by Erin Hunter.) There are also a bunch of other books that I really liked that I think of more fondly as time goes on. And one of those books is Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge.
Crimson Bound is Rosamund’s second novel; her first was Cruel Beauty, which I loved and is a Beauty and the Beast retelling mixed with Greek mythology. Crimson Bound is another retelling, this time of Little Red Riding Hood mixed with the lesser-known fairy tale The Girl with No Hands. Rosamund’s books incorporate so much mythology and her fantasy worlds have very rich history and lore to them. Her books can be a little confusing because of all the complicated lore, which is the only reason Cruel Beauty isn’t an absolute favorite book of mine, even though I do love it. But back to Crimson Bound.
In my review of Crimson Bound, I mentioned how it took me half the book to really get invested in the story. It is true that it’s quite a slow buildup, but only because of the world building and character development Rosamund gives us. Truthfully, I wish things had gotten snappier sooner in the book, but as I think about Crimson Bound more and more, I realize that I like the slower start and the amount of information and folklore that was delivered. Yes, not all the fantasy world’s mythology was easy to understand at first, but, hey, neither is the real world’s. I’m actually curious to some day go back and reread Crimson Bound to experience the legends that are important to the plot again. The more I think about the intricate world building, the more I appreciate it, even if it creates a very slow first half of the book.
One thing that I love about Crimson Bound is its realistic love triangle. (Yeah, those are words I never thought I’d say!) Rachelle knows and works with two guys: Erec, a fellow bloodbound soldier, and Armand, the King’s bastard son. She’s been in a relationship with Erec before but they’re still good friends, and often work together under orders from the King. Rachelle meets Armand when the King assigns her as the prince’s bodyguard. Rachelle befriends Armand and her attraction to him is at first just lust, which she realizes and then pushes aside. However, as she and Armand work together and the plot goes on, she realizes she has grown feelings for him. It’s not insta-love, just insta-attraction, and it takes them a while to trust each other. But Erec is still there, and he’s offering Rachelle a life she can’t have with Armand. There is obvious chemistry still lasting between her and Erec, and I actually preferred Erec over Armand.
What I’m trying to get as is that Rachelle had very strong friendships with both men that she formed for real reasons and over shared experiences. Her relationships with Erec and Armand seemed natural and logical. The romance is also not the focus of the book, but it’s there, and it’s handled really well. There is no love triangle ickyness here, or none that I felt was icky or frustrating. Rachelle knows Erec and she gets to know Armand. She’s also not dependent on either of them, nor is she always wondering what they’re up to whenever she’s not with them. The more I think about Crimson Bound, the more I love how Rosamund wrote the only realistic love triangle I think I’ve ever read. I appreciate characters who form friendships and romantic relationships based on shared interests and experiences. None of that love at first sight crap.
There are other books I like more now that I’ve had time to marinate on them, but Crimson Bound is one that I feel took me a while to really understand how good it was. I bumped its rating up from three-stars to four. Will I bump it up to five? I don’t think so, I didn’t love it, and I think I may still like Cruel Beauty a little more than it. But Crimson Bound isn’t alone. I also really like Illusions of Fate and The Evolution of Mara Dyer the more I think about them, and both are currently four-star rated books. (But, really, ratings are so subjective. I’m planning to do a Monday Musing all about ratings one day…)
In the end, all I’m nattering on about is how I like marinating on books, and how there are some that get better over time. And vice versa — there are a lot of books that I think of less fondly as time goes on. (Prophecy, A Wicked Thing, and The Fire Horse Girl to name a few that I’ve recently bumped down in the ratings.)
But what about you guys? Do you change your mind on some books after you’ve had distance away from them? What’s a book that really grew on you? I’d love to hear what you have to say. And if there are any of you who feel differently about Crimson Bound, please tell me why!