Author: Rosamund Hodge
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 2015
Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Fantasy
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Synopsis can be found here.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Rachelle thought she knew better than the rest so she wandered off the path and met her destiny. Three years later, cursed and now serving in the King’s royal guard, her new assignment is to guard Armand, the potential heir to the thrown. But a darkness is coming quickly and if she doesn’t stop it, the kingdom will be swallowed whole. Can she enlist Armand to help her? Can she resist Erec? Does she want to?
I don’t want to give anything away but this grand retelling of Little Red Riding Hood was awesome. The setting is detailed and vast, dropping the reader into an enchanted forest just outside a very magical French-like court. The Devourer, the big bad, is rising again in a matter of days and Rachelle believes she is one of the few people who knows how to stop him. But she’s been saddled with looking after Armand, this strange and somewhat annoying boy who starts to grow on her. She thinks he’s a liar because no one can survive what he claims and only have lost his hands. His hands.
Rachelle is tormented and sad, angry and vengeful. I love her. She is everything a good heroine should be- conflicted and proud, seeking redemption and strong. Brave and dark and stubborn. Erec, her friend, is sassy and fun, witty and charming and too perfect. Of course he’s beautiful and powerful and makes all the ladies swoon. Of course I loved and despised him. Armand is sadly my least favorite character. I wanted him to be clearer because Rachelle and Erec are so vibrant and bold. Maybe that’s where his beauty lies – in his quietness and thoughtfulness. I did enjoy him and his character is interesting and not all he seems. Frankly, I felt Rachelle and Armand’s romance felt slightly forced, but nothing I couldn’t overlook.
The tale weaves expertly and Hodge does a wonderful job of keeping the setting as one of the most important characters of all. There is a large bit in the middle where the plot drags because they’re searching and searching and searching for this sword that will kill the Devourer (yaddy yadda yadda) but it’s set up and worthy of your time I promise. A strange love triangle develops between Rachelle, Erec and Armand and it did prove slightly distracting for a part of the book.
Honestly though none of it distracts from the knife sharp plot twists and the beautiful language and descriptions. Go on. Dare yourself to become lost in this Forest.
Fans of Cruel Beauty will delight in Hodge’s second book, even though it doesn’t take place in that universe. It’s still a masterfully woven tale of danger and darkness and love and deceit.
Rating 8 Cookie Worthy