Series Review – Scarlet Trilogy by A.C. Gaughen

Book Review - Scarlet Trilogy

Scarlet, Lady Thief and Lion Heart (Scarlet #1, #2 and #3)

Author: A.C. Gaughen

Publication: February 12th 2012, February 11th 2014 and May 19th 2015

Publisher: Walker Childrens, Walker Childrens, Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Format: Kindle Edition 304 pages, Kindle Edition 320 pages and Kindle Edition 353 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Retelling

Read: December 2015, April 2016 and May 2016

A.C. GaughenGoodreads

Scarlet 2 Cover

Scarlet

3.5 Stars

Synopsis
Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the evil Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only Big John and Robin Hood know the truth—the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. It’s getting harder to hide as Gisbourne’s camp seeks to find Scarlet and drive Robin Hood out of Nottinghamshire.
But Scarlet’s instinct for self-preservation is at war with a strong sense of responsibility to the people who took her in when she was on the run, and she finds it’s not so easy to turn her back on her band and townspeople. As Gisbourne draws closer to Scarlet and puts innocent lives at risk, she must decide how much the people of Nottinghamshire mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles and temper have the rare power to unsettle Scarlet.
Full of exciting action, secrets, and romance, this imaginative retelling of the classic tale will have readers following every move of Robin Hood and band of thieves.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
very similar to the original story, quite gruesome and violent and bloody, action packed, full of mystery, not as exciting as I thought it’d be

Writing Style – 2.5 out of 5 stars
got on my every last nerve, it’s purposely grammatically incorrect to reflect the main character’s dialect, took me a long time to get used to, sometimes it worked and it wasn’t annoying, other times it didn’t and it drove me crazy

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
I quite liked the characters that were introduced in the first book. Everyone believes Will Scarlet is a small boy who runs with the gang of thieves, when in reality she is a very strong and tough young girl who is a master with knives. I really liked her. She’s strong and tough but at the same time, has some secrets that make her vulnerable and that have hurt her and made her defensive and quiet. She’s determined to do her best for herself and the people she’s trying to protect and I loved her selflessness though it did get frustrating because it would put her in dangerous situations. Obviously, considering this is a Robin Hood retelling, the character of Robin is around and I liked him well enough. He’s kind of rude and moody and closed off at times, specially with Scarlet and you can tell he’s fighting a lot of demons. But he’s also noble and honest and earnest and has a huge responsibility on his shoulders. There’s also quite a few side characters and I really enjoyed that they were very distinct and unique to all the other characters.

Lady Thief Cover

Lady Thief

4 Stars

Synopsis
Scarlet’s true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet’s love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet’s past even she isn’t yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman—a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin’s cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet’s tale will have readers talking once again.

Critically

Plot – 3.5 out of 5 stars
action packed, full of mystery, violent, bloody, drama, with lots of suspense, it’s slow in some parts which I found a bit boring, but also has lots of twists and turns

Writing Style – 3 out of 5 stars
it’s still a little annoying because it’s still not grammatically correct, but it got easier  to swallow, its less jarring, detailed, sometimes way too descriptive, made me feel a bit uncomfortable, but it was fast paced

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
Still a fan of these characters. Scarlet is amazing. She’s determined and stubborn and just plain tough. But at the same time, she’s caring and protective. However, she kind of annoyed me because she started having a martyr attitude towards everything she was doing. Robin got really intense and emotional in this book. He’s dealing with some demons, some PTSD and things aren’t going the way he hoped they world. He’s really protective yet angry and determined but things are really hard for him right now. The side characters are all very complex. They’re all well developed whether that’s for the good or for the bad, everyone has their own agendas, their own goals and some are just bat shit crazy while others kind of help keep the balance for the story. There’s a huge loss in this book that hit me really hard and I did not see it coming at all and it was heartbreaking.

Lion Heart Cover

Lion Heart

4 Stars

Synopsis
The eagerly-awaited conclusion to the Scarlet trilogy delivers another action-packed and romance-filled adventure.
Scarlet has captured the hearts of readers as well as the heart of Robin Hood, and after ceaseless obstacles and countless threats, readers will finally find out the fate of the Lady Thief.
Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape from the Prince’s clutches, she learns that King Richard’s life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine demands a service Scarlet can’t refuse: spy for her and help bring Richard home safe. But fate—and her heart—won’t allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long, and together, Scarlet and Rob must stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England. They can not rest until he’s stopped, but will their love be enough to save them once and for all?

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
this one was slow most of the time, kind of boring, definitely more discreet strategy than action, there’s suspense, some drama, not as violent as the first two, features life, death, and the ending was kind of disappointing

Writing Style – 3.5 out of 5 stars
as the main character developed into something more polished so did the writing, definitely much better grammatically, easy to read, fast paced, detailed and descriptive, but not overdone or too graphic were I felt uncomfortable

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
There’s been so much character development in this series that it actually astounds me. Scarlet is a different person from when she started. She’s now more mature and confident and strong. She spent so long hiding and confused and basically fighting for her life and now she found a different way to do that. She doesn’t need to use her knives to save herself and the people that count on her. She’s resilient and stubborn enough to make sure she’s strong enough to deal with anything that comes her way. Love her. Robin is just an all around good guy, which I like in this instance because it’s an accurate representation of the original character. He’s really sweet and protective and honest. He’s gotten his shit together and is working to be the best version of himself. He’s strong and determined and I loved their relationship. Also amazing strides with the side characters, there’s even some new ones that I fell in love with. But a thing I don’t enjoy in this series are the losses because they hurt like hell people and I don’t like it.

Emotionally

I was pleasantly surprised by my enjoyment of this series and how much I liked the stories but there were some things I didn’t particularly like.

The first book felt familiar. The plot was pretty similar to the original story. We follow the story of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, the group of thieves that steal from the rich to the poor in their town of Nottingham. Robin is trying to take back his lordship and his position as sheriff as well as help the people survive. Except that in this retelling, we hear from Will Scarlet who is actually a girl who has not one but two secret identities, yeah that’s right. I kind of expected the plot to be a lot more exciting and action packed. It had its moments but it was not enough for me. Those kind of lulled, boring moments were used for developing the relationships between the characters which I appreciated. However, at the same time, there were some things that happened that were incredibly violent, graphic and totally bloody and they freaked me out and made me kind of uncomfortable. I wasn’t expecting it at all and it shocked me. Scarlet is one of the fiercest female characters I’ve ever read. She’s rough around the edges and moody. She’s stubborn and headstrong and doesn’t really connect with people easily. But she has a beautiful heart and has had a very hard life. She chooses to protect her vulnerability and pain with a hard exterior. This book is full of plot twists and turns that I didn’t see coming at all. It kind of shifted my view of the story because for the most part it was really boring yet these well placed shocks and changes really helped the momentum and kept my interest. I’m a little bit torn on how I feel about Robin Hood. On the one hand, I really liked him because I felt that he was really true to the original character. He was noble and nice and just a plain good person. But at the same time, he was really kind of a butt munch to Scarlet. I understood why but it didn’t excuse his behavior and it bothered me a bit. Two of the side characters took a whole of my heart: John who is kind of like the player in the crew and the jokester and the one who always jumps feet first into a fight and then Much who is like my favorite, because he’s super cute and sweet and adorable and just amazing.

The second book disappointed me and made me a whole lot of uncomfortable which kind of sucks because the first book pleasantly surprised me. The plot is intense. We follow Scarlet whose secret identity has been revealed. She makes a deal with her new husband to act like a lady around some of the higher nobility in exchange for an annulment of their unwanted marriage. Now first thing first, while the plot was interesting and kept my complete attention, there were so many violent scenes that I was totally uncomfortable. They were really graphic in content and description and it’s wayy to much for the audience it’s intended for which is Young Adults. However, it helped develop the main villain’s personalities and yet it wasn’t completely real to me. I still felt like that character’s motivation was too plain for the atrocities he was committing against people. A new mystery was introduced with this book that revolved the main character and while it was interesting and intriguing, I figured out what it was pretty quickly. It was still cool but it was a little obvious. There is also a competition aspect to this story, revolving around picking a new sheriff for the town, and that was entertaining and kind of cool in an old school style but there could’ve been a lot more action. Those last few chapters including the last few plot twists shocked the hell out of me! There was nothing that I could’ve done to expect that. Scarlet is still herself, she’s tough and rough around the edges but it pissed me off that she didn’t play it smart. She was in a situation where she could’ve gotten everything she wanted but she let her temper get the best of her and got herself into awful and unnecessary situations. It was frustrating. Rob is really troubled. He’s suffering from what happened in the first book and with what is happening in this book. But he’s slowly getting on my good side because he does his best to be nice and good to Scarlet and to take care of her which I appreciated. Gisbourne is a douchebag. The biggest of all life and I hated him. Prince John is a freaking psycho. He is literally insane but he made a stellar villain. And the death at the end broke my heart and it was awful.

And then the third book was a little disappointing with the way it ended but I still enjoyed reading it. The plot was slow which is weird for this series. We follow Scarlet first in prison, locked in there by her lovely Uncle, and we see her efforts to escape. When she finally manages to do that, we follow her transition of becoming a noblewoman and a wife and finally getting what she deserves. I’m used to this series being super action packed and graphic and violent and I expected this book to be the ultimate blow up. I thought there would be an epic sword fight battle or lots of little close encounters and crazy things going on but it wasn’t like that at all. It had a lot more themes dealing with strategy and court life and politics and how to use  your connections to your advantage which while still interesting kind of knocked the momentum of the series off course. It became more of a slow burn toward the resolution and I wasn’t expecting it and wasn’t that excited about it either. The romance between the main characters took more of a spotlight. That was actually really sweet and kind about freaking time after two books but I would’ve liked more balance between the two types of plot styles. The ending really disappointed me. It finally came time for everything to pop off and things to go crazy and there wasn’t even a fight. Like how annoying. It was way too easily resolved specially after all the freaking drama of the first two books in this series. And I wanted the person that’s been talked about the entire time to freaking show up finally, and he didn’t! What a let down and so anticlimactic. Scarlet is still freaking awesome. She’s learning to kick butt in other ways besides physical and she’s getting a hold of her noble duties and how to gain allies by being good and being honest about what is going on. I loved her growth throughout the entire series and how she slowly but surely became more comfortable with herself. Robin is such a sweetie in this one! Since there’s more romance, there’s a lot more space to explore him as the romantic hero and that definitely happened. There are also two other little lovey doveys that I freaking loved them and they needed more screen time you guys!

Overall, I enjoyed this trilogy. It had a few problems and  things that I wasn’t a fan of like the graphic content and the violence factor. I liked that even though it was a retelling it also had a very accurate historical fiction aspect. The main character’s arc was interesting, entertaining and well developed. The side characters were intriguing and I really liked them as well. I’m excited to see what more this author will come up with once the grammar is fixed with another character’s point of view.

So that’s it for my review! Let me know what you think of my thoughts and if you’ve read this trilogy. I’ve heard a lot of different things about this series from different people and I would love to see your thoughts. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!

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3 thoughts on “Series Review – Scarlet Trilogy by A.C. Gaughen

  1. Dang. I’ve been inching my way toward this series for quite a while now, hoping great things for it but fearing it’ll be awful. I’m glad to hear it’s not awful, but I’m sorry to see there were so many disappointments throughout all three of the books. I’ll definitely temper my expectations, when I finally get around to reading them. Great review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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