Author: A.C. Gaughen
Publication Date: May 2015
Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Retelling, Historical
Series or Stand Alone: Series, Book Three
Synopsis can be found here.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Scarlet is trapped, imprisoned by evil Prince John. She is moved regularly, so that her frinds and family cannot find her. Until one day someone comes to kill her. After a narrow escape, Scarlet finds herself torn between fighting for her King and England or fleeing to save those she loves. But can she really walk away from her home and Robin Hood?
I’ll be the first to say that I loved the first book Scarlet. The fresh re-telling of a young girl Scarlet part of Robin Hood’s merry “men” is intriguing and fun. Things got darker and sad in Lady Thief, book two of the trilogy and Lion Heart picks up right where Lady Thief left off so if you haven’t read the first two I suggest you do so before picking this one up.
There’s a lot to love about Lion Heart. Scarlet is torn between two worlds: the world she grew up in, noble and high ranking. Or the world she chose to be in, part of Robin’s gang of thieves. I like how she struggles with these two parts of herself, realizing that maybe she isn’t just one. Maybe its okay to be a strong noble woman, a strong thief a strong woman.
Again, so much darkness happened in the last book that it’s hard to say that Lion Heart is happy and fun. It’s not. While there are some light bits, the majority of the final book in the trilogy is filled with danger and destruction. People’s homes are burned down, attacked. There is an attempted rape, though not very graphic. I think the Scarlet trilogy is meant for an older YA audience, which is why I fell in love with it at the beginning. Gaughen keeps it all perfect for the time period, touching upon women’s roles and their lack of power as well as rising up against the norm and being brave and different.
That said, I admit I was a little disappointed in the ending. While she did try to keep it slightly historically accurate and Robin and Scarlet and their friends were tied up nicely, it lacked a certain comradely that the first book had. One of the main things I loved from the beginning was the group dynamic, the band of brothers (and sister). This seems to have gotten a bit lost in book three as the major plot was focused on Robin and Scarlet. Also, the last pages are a bit anticlimactic. Not overly romantic, or with a clear path to what is to come, I sat there for a moment and thought the last chapter had been taken out. There wasn’t enough closure for me.
Overall, the book is a solid end to well written trilogy. I recommend Scarlet to so many friends and hope that they continue on. Who doesn’t love Will Scarlet as a girl? And who isn’t in love with scared Robin Hood? Gaughen did a wonderful job of fulfilling this girl’s fantasies.
Rating 8 Cookie Worthy