Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Review: Lion Heart by AC Gaughen

Lion Heart by AC Gaughen 
Series: Scarlet #3
Published: May 19th, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
348 pages (eARC)
Genre: Young Adult Historic Fiction
Acquired this book: Via NetGalley for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

{Read my review of Scarlet || Read my review of 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?

My love of all things Robin Hood began when I was a very little girl who fell in love with the Disney version of the classic legend. I’ve always loved the idea of this charming, heroic outlaw who outwitted the nefarious Sheriff of Nottingham and wannabe king, Prince John, and swept Maid Marian off her feet. So when I discovered Scarlet a few years ago and found out it was a completely new twist to the Robin Hood legend, I was intrigued...and as I read it, I fell in love with AC Gaughen’s tale of Robin, still a clever, swoonworthy figure, but also so much more, and I also fell in love with Scarlet, a strong, kick-ass, determined heroine we don’t see enough of in books. There were familiar elements of the Robin Hood legend, but it was also twisted it in many ways, turning it on its head and making it something completely, wonderfully new and magical.

I loved Scarlet and Lady Thief, and I was equal parts excited and sad to read Lion Heart. I was eager to see how things would turn out (and worried, too, after the events of Lady Thief) and sad because I didn’t want to say goodbye to these characters I’d grown to love so much. Lady Thief was one of the most painful books I’ve ever read. I basically cried my way through the entire book and had to stop reading a few times because it hurt so much and made me so uncomfortable (not in a bad way, which I know sounds weird...I gave the book 5 stars). It was beautiful and brutal and heartbreaking, and I was afraid of what Ms Gaughen would put these characters through before the end.

Lion Heart had all the elements I loved about the first two books: action, romance, intrigue, friendship, humour, and yes, even those moments that make your heart ache. I laughed and cried and fell even more in love with the characters. And what an amazing cast of characters! Besides Scarlet and Robin, I adored Much, Allan, David, Bess, and Eleanor. Even the detestable Prince John makes a great character in his own sick, evil, power-hungry way. He’s always the villain in Robin Hood, but we’re often just told he’s the villain and we see bits and pieces of his evilness, but in this series, he’s a true villain, completely unredeemable and horrible. As for Eleanor, I think Ms Gaughen made a brilliant choice by adding her as a character in the second and third books. I’ve always been fascinated by Eleanor of Aquitaine, and I think Scarlet needed someone wise and steady, but also someone who wouldn’t be oppressed, who wouldn’t back down, and who fought for what she believed in and the people she loved. Eleanor and Scarlet were two fierce, brave, kick-ass ladies, and I admired them so much. 

There’s not a whole lot I can say about the plot without getting into spoiler territory, but I loved this book so, so much. I loved that Scarlet didn’t wait around to be saved, she didn’t sit around wringing her hands and feeling sorry for herself, she leapt into the action, and used her intelligence and her physical abilities to help herself and those around her. She and Robin made my heart ache in the best possible ways, and together, they were unstoppable.

Lion Heart was the perfect end to a fantastic trilogy. Scarlet is one of the books I recommend the most, and now I’ll be recommending the entire trilogy...often and loudly. ;-) I've read countless versions of the Robin Hood legend, but the Scarlet trilogy is hands down my favourite, and certainly the most memorable.
Scarlet, Robin, and their band of Nottingham residents will always have a special place in my heart.

*Please note, all quotes are taken from the uncorrected proof of Lion Heart.  No copyright infringement intended*

"Rob's and my love had always been made in the cracks, the jagged little edges that came from the ruin of something else. It were a place that weren't supposed to be filled with love, but that's how it had always been. Our love filled the broken bits and made us whole again. There weren't no perfect time to love him, not ever, and it had always been with the threat of death and hurt hovering round us. And we'd love each other anyway. Sure, and true."

"Scars never left, even when you couldn't see them." 

"His grin grew broader, wider, fuller, like he were pulling stars down from Heaven and tucking them into his smile."

"I think life becomes a fabric of choices, interwoven, all related." 

"My heart holds my love, my hope, and my faith. My heart is unyielding, my heart is stalwart, and my heart is true."

"There's a funny thing about light and darkness - like hope, you can never blot out either one completely. They always exist, side by side, bright light making shadows darker, darkness making the light more beautiful, a tempting siren call. I can't hate the darkest parts of myself. They are the things that showed me how special and rare the bright flames of trust, loyalty, friendship, and love were. My darkness showed me how to love Rob. But now I choose light and fire and love. Now I choose freedom."

Have you read any of the books in the Scarlet trilogy? What did you think? If you haven't read them, do you plan to? What's your favourite Robin Hood incarnation? Let's talk here or on Twitter

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read this series, though I do have Scarlet on my tbr shelf. Someone else was raving about this book as the greatest end to a series ever and I'm really think I need to read it now.


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