|Balzar + Bray|
For as long as she can remember, Rachelle's goal is to destroy the Devourer. She trained with her Aunt Leonie as a wood wife in the hopes to hold back Eternal Darkness. When she is marked by the forestborn, Rachelle kills her aunt, the one person she has loved with all her heart. For this, she can never forgive herself and this killing makes her a bloodbound, a human who will one day turn into a forestborn. The only comfort she finds is defending humans from the forestborn, those controlled by the Wild Forest and whose only joy is to kill humans. Rachelle is able to defend humans and not be hunt, because she is one of the king's bloodbound, along with Erec D'Anjou who both torments and loves her. She is drawn to Erec's darkside, but soon she finds a different sort of bond with Armand, one of the king's illegitimate children. Armand has faced down the Devourer and forestborn and barely escaped with his life. He did lose his two hands in the battle. Rachelle needs Armand to help her find Joyeuse, one of the two swords that was used to bind the Devourer hundreds of years before. A pair of twins fought the Devourer once, although at the cost of one of their lives. Rachelle feels compelled to try to defeat it again, but she must also fight the forest and the Devourer that want her for their own. Rachelle at all costs must not lose her heart, but to whom does it rightfully belong and can she keep it and face the Devourer. A twist on Little Red Riding Hood and a lesser known fairytale the Girl with No Hands, Hodge has crafted a dark and dangerous world with a damaged yet determined heroine. She explores the different types of love and how they can both build us up and destroy us.
I love Hodge's writing and her descriptive style. Her stories are very twisted and a bit strange at times. The way she uses religion is both uncomfortable, but recognizable. You can see the influence of 17th century France and the Catholic religion, but at the same time they are unrecognizable. I don't feel that it was mocking of religion though, but it did combine aspects of Jesus and Mary with some of her pagan gods in the story. I debated back and forth with myself about how I felt about this, being a strong Catholic, but in the end I think it is okay. I won't spoil anything, but I was glad that the religious characters were not made to be the evil villains and that there is kind of an embrace of religion in the end.
Her books are both beautiful and strange, which is probably why I like them. They are also really deep and thought provoking and they always surprise me. I did like the romantic triangle in the book and that all the characters were equally flawed. I also like that you can read this and Cruel Beauty on their own, but yet the tie together in her writing style. 4 cups of cocoa for me, but it is a book that I would have a hard time finding someone I would tell to read it. It would have to be someone who likes the strange or is in the mood for a really twisted fairytale.
Favorite Quote: "This is the human way, she thought. On the edge of destruction, at the end of all things, we still dance. And hope."