I had been meaning to read SCARLET for a long time and when I heard that A.C. Gaughen was coming to Illinois for an event in June, I knew it was finally time to start… and binge read the whole series! Since I read them all so close together, I wanted to write a series review instead of individual reviews back to back to back!
Each book is reviewed individually and then I have some overall feelings on the series, all spoiler-free!
SCARLET had just a lovely feel to it. I’m not a Robin Hood buff, but I’ve always enjoyed the stories and I just really loved this adaptation. Scarlet — or Scar as her friends call her — is a tough gal who hangs with Robin Hood (Rob) and his band of thieves, although everyone knows her as Will Scarlet… the boy. I really loved that you were able to see her strength throughout the book and at the same time, see where she was vulnerable. She’s very humble and never claimed to be anything great and overall her character just felt very sincere!
I really loved the interactions between Scarlet and Rob and OH MY, the tension! It was kind of glorious, though. Scar doesn’t really think she’s worthy of Rob or that he could fall for her and although it made me want to shake her at times, it make for an interesting dynamic and constant romantic tension. The thing I didn’t really love regarding romance, though, was that it was pretty triangle-y. John also has affections for Scar and although she knows his feelings don’t run deep, she doesn’t always push him away. It was a bit frustrating to see her accept some affection from him and then ultimately push him away, meanwhile having feelings for Rob. I felt like the same feelings and emotions could have been conveyed without so John pursuing Scar so much, BUT at the same time, I also think that’s fairly realistic. It’s hard to say no to flattery and even if you know it’s not someone you want to BE with, the affection is nice for a little while.
I also just really enjoyed the overall story. Right from the beginning we know that Scarlet’s past is somewhat secret and there are definitely a few traumatizing events that have shaped her to be who she is now. Some of the reveals weren’t so surprising and some totally floored me but I like the way all of them were handled! The end of the book had me in a big ball of nerves and I was basically shouting in concern as I read!
It was kind of hard to start LADY THIEF… Everyone seems to love this series SO MUCH and they were so excited for me to finish SCARLET and start LADY THIEF that the book became quite hyped for me. It’s a bit frustrating, for lack of a better word. I know that everyone was just very excited but then the book and the series as a whole really had a LOT of praise to live up to. All said and done, I still enjoyed all three books but especially the hype for LADY THIEF was a killer.
That being said, I really did enjoy the book still. It definitely had a bit of darkness too it and the layers added to LADY THIEF really showed the reader more about the characters and I mean ALL of the characters. I actually found it really interesting how much I learned about Gisbourne and Prince John. Prince John became even more of a villain for me and I was really surprised that I started to feel like Gisbourne wasn’t ALL awful. I KNOW. But I got to know more things about him and that doesn’t mean I LIKED him, but it was interesting to see some human sides of a huge antagonist/villain.
Some really heavy things DO happen in LADY THIEF — that wasn’t an oversell — but with all of the hype, they weren’t a shock and they didn’t hit me as hard. I did have some great Scar/Rob feels and I definitely became more invested in everything as I read! I really, really enjoyed all of the characters and they really brought the book to life for me. I still didn’t QUITE get to a “love it” status with LADY THIEF but it was still a solid read for me!
LION HEART was also a solid read for me BUT I did feel myself growing tired as I read. Talking to friends who had read the series, I nailed it down to the fact that the Scarlet series grew as its popularity grew, so what originally started of as one book and then a duet, turned into a trilogy. I did enjoy all three books but for me, LION HEART felt like it should have been combined with LADY THIEF. I feel like some of the action was just filler to bring exciting scenes to the book and other pieces (that I can’t get into due to spoilers) with Scarlet would have been better for her character development in LADY THIEF. I really just felt like the last two books would have been better as one.
My feelings for Scar and Rob did grow and I loved the final pieces of their story in this book! It was also great to see Scarlet really grow and step out of her comfort zone to do what she needed to do for her people. The characters and overall conclusion were my favorite parts of LION HEART, but again, it did seem like it dragged just a bit with most of the exciting and shocking moments happening in LADY THIEF.
SERIES AS A WHOLE
I really enjoyed all three books but none of them really quite got to a “love” status for me. SCARLET was my favorite because that was where I felt the most emotion and connection to everything — characters, plot, action, romance — and I felt the most engaged. I think LADY THIEF could have been a favorite but the hype was too great and I was preparing myself so I wouldn’t be let down. I’m not sure if I prevented myself from loving it because of that or if I prevented myself from feeling disappointed… but either way, it was still about a four star read for me. LION HEART was a nice conclusion but again, I felt like there wasn’t a whole lot of plot or action going on and I think it would have fit better with LADY THIEF as one book.
The hard part about binge reading a series that I’m not absolutely in love with is that I started to notice myself wishing for the end. I really enjoyed all three books but without that extreme passion for everything, I didn’t quite feel the PULL for me to keep reading. Of course I did and I’m very glad I read the series but it’s not quite on the favorites list of mine. They were all pretty solid four-star books and I can see why so many people love them! I think a combination of hype and knowing that I was binge-reading them all had me a bit more detached.
Have you read the Scarlet series? Which book was your favorite?
If you haven’t read, are you thinking of starting these soon?
I didn’t personally fall in love with this series BUT that could also be because of hype. I definitely think they’re worth the read though! I really enjoyed the Robin Hood adaptation and the books were really very good!
BOOKS LIKE THE SCARLET TRILOGY
(Click the cover to see my review!)