The Scarlet Series: Scarlet, Lady Thief & Lion Heart
by AC Gaughen
I loved Scarlet and gave it 4.5 Stars. I have looked, but I can't find that I reviewed Lady Thief, but I'm not surprised. The story was cut off in a horrible place and I was left sort of mid-gasp, unable to release thoughts to write a review. Even though I ought to have as a "thank you" for the author's visit to Colorimetry. Yeah... AC Gaughen's awesome.
My intro to the legend of Robin Hood was one of those old, old books in the library my dad got me when I was 10 and we lived in London. It's called Robin Hood and His Merrie Men, a Regency Classic printed by The Thames Publishing Co. There is no author listed or date of publishing. I assumed it was "the" story, like the actual history of Robin Hood. Lol. I enjoyed Disney's version when it came out since it had the same flavor of facing injustice with humor and getting rewarded for it.
But I much prefer AC Gaughen's version and it is now "the real story" in my world. I prefer grit and real danger, now, not to mention a great romance that grows up and around the story.
The romance in this series requires all three books to happen. In Scarlet there's the awakening, a realization and recognition. The characters are so real and full of chasms of flaws that the romance and the story both might never happen if left to their own devices. My review of Scarlet is here on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/240650184
In Lady Thief, the romance gets complicated and then impossible and then... the impossibility is removed leaving the romance hanging, like a minor note that lingers in the air long after the song stops. The action is so intense that the romance has to step back, but that was where I was looking at the end of the book, for Rob. There are so many stories that throw caution and standards to the wind in order to live in the moment. Scar and Rob don't throw anything anywhere. They stick to their decisions like they're cutting off their own limbs to accomplish it. I felt frustrated and cheated and at the same time, honorable. Stubborn. Too, too risky.
I got an early review copy of Lion Heart and now I'm a puddle of melted forever-fan. I was a fan before, obviously, I just wasn't sure where Gaughen was going to take us especially after Lady Thief and I have my sanity to think of, you know. I don't just read books, I climb inside them and live them. And... potentially die in them and it's hard to live through that.
I do most of my reading on public transit these days and I lost track of where we were more than a few times, I was so sucked into Scar's life. I had to wipe away tears more than a few times, too. (Public be darned.) I had to get used to the language that Scar talks in and then pull out of it again after I was immersed. I had to read quickly... I had to know if everyone survived this realistic version and I just wasn't sure if they would at any point of the story. (I recommend one sitting if you can clear your schedule for it.)
And I'm not telling whether they do or don't. Live.
I will say, though, that I felt justified and satisfied and I love Scar and Rob, even if (because) they do get picked on a LOT and can't miraculously get out of trouble like the cartoon or kids' history version I read when I was 10 years old. In fact, this is so much more realistic and I believe in Scar or people like her (just as AC Gaugen says in the afterward/acknowledgment, which I read all of) and I love being her.
I'll definitely get this entire series for my library. The final book brings the entire series up to 5.5 Stars, instant re-read, for me. It pulls everything together. Perfectly. Nail-bitingly. Must-read-it-again-ily.