May 18, 2015

Series Speed Date: Round #8

This section will cover any key details about the series.

The Scarlet Series by A.C. Gaughen
Books In Series: Scarlet, Lady Thief and Lion Heart
Released: February 2012 | February 2014 | May 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury | Walker Children's
Pages: 287 pages | 308 pages | 348 pages
What do these covers say about this series?

These covers aren't my favorite, but I don't hate them! My favorite aspect is how Scarlet is portrayed on them. On Scarlet, you see the way she clothes herself as a boy... though I refuse to believe that anyone would be fooled by this disguise. On Lady Thief it feels like she's on the prowl for something and trying to stay hidden, which I love. She's the most feminine version of herself on Lion Heart, and I think it's fitting for the story inside.

Based on the summary, what can you expect going into this series?

The Scarlet series is a retelling of the Robin Hood story. If you're familiar with the folklore about this heroic outlaw, you may have more expectations going into the story. My only previous experience with Robin Hood is the Disney movie, and I know from other Disney movies that their version isn't always close to the source material. I knew he stole from the rich to give to the poor and was aided by his band of "Merry Men." I didn't know much else, but A.C. Gaughen doesn't focus on Robin Hood. Instead, her story centers on Will Scarlet - a character from the original legends. In this version, Will Scarlet is a girl. It's a secret known only to Robin and his men, but even they don't know much about her. When a legendary thief taker arrives in Nottingham, Scarlet's past catches up to her and everyone is in danger because of it. I was so excited to read Scarlet once I read the summary because it promised danger, adventure, bravery, loyalty and love. And it absolutely delivers!

What are some highlights of the series?

An exciting twist on a familiar, legendary tale.
A resourceful and brave heroine fleeing past demons and meeting new foes.
A handsome and honorable outlaw who wants to protect the people under his watch.
A pair of kind and loyal friends who will do anything for the ones they love.
A petulant and evil prince who stops at nothing to get his own way and gain the throne.
A world where the rich prosper, the poor suffer, and it's a risk to do what's right.
A story of past regrets, remarkable secrets, beautiful friendships and incredible strength.
A love story that defies the odds and overcomes the obstacles.
An epic and emotional tale infused with humor and hope.

How will you feel closing the last page?

Emotionally drained! I binge read the entire series in less than a week, and I was anxious and nervous for these characters the entire time I was reading. Scarlet has this rough, lower-class dialect that totally works for her character, but it threw me off the first time I sampled this book. So, I decided I was going to listen to Scarlet on audiobook instead. While I loved the reader, I ended up ditching it about four hours in because I HAD to pick up the book myself to read faster. The characters are headstrong and occasionally frustrating, but they won my heart from the very beginning. I was rooting for them and completely hooked on their story.

While Scarlet was an exciting read, Lady Thief absolutely blew me away. It took the tension to a whole different level, and I think I cried at least three times while I was reading it. The stakes are higher than ever, and I honestly didn't know how in the world these characters would make it out alive. No one told me that Gaughen was going to take my heart and practically traumatize it in the second book! There's definitely no "middle book syndrome" at play here. In fact, Lady Thief was my favorite book in the entire trilogy. 

By the time I got to Lion Heart, I was scared. Gaughen had already put these characters through the ringer... What was coming next?! While the plot of Lion Heart was probably the weakest of the three books, I thought it was an emotionally satisfying read. The romance takes center stage, and I had absolutely no complaints about that fact. I was desperately in need of swoon after the emotional devastation of the previous book! It didn't have the same tension as the previous books and was a bit anticlimactic, but I still loved the book overall. My one issue? I wish the book had just one more chapter, or possibly an Epilogue, because it ends a bit abruptly. I needed just a little more in those final moments, but I still loved this series!

Summing up this series in just three words?

Romantic. Emotional. Heart-Pounding. 

Is this series worth your time?

I would recommend this series! I flew through these books, and I love when I get so invested in a story that I almost forget the characters aren't real. It read like a cross between fantasy and historical fiction, and it made me even more curious about the legend of Robin Hood. I might have to do some more research about him now! While Lady Thief was definitely the standout book, I thoroughly enjoyed spending my time with Scarlet, Rob, and the rest of the gang. But be warned - these books are an emotional roller coaster. Prepare your heart... and possibly have tissues on hand. I considered giving these a Commit rating because I see myself re-reading them, but I think the series overall is a bit inconsistent so I downgraded them one level in my scale.
*I received a copy of Lion Heart from the publisher for review consideration. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review.

2 comments:

  1. I'm reading Lion Heart as I type this, so I'm moments away from discovering how it all ends! I definitely share a lot of your sentiments towards this series though. It's such a clever, unique take on Robin Hood, and I think it's awesome that Gaughen chose to write a story that revolved around the idea of Will Scarlet being a girl. The way history plays into it as well is really great!

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  2. This post came at a perfect time! I'm in the mood for this sort of thing right now. I've seen the covers but didn't realize they were based on Robin Hood. Sounds like fun. Hopefully Scarlet is available through my ilbrary.

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