by A.C. Gaughen
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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?
“I’ll never leave you,” he told me, and I felt his arms on me. “As long as you love me, I’ll be here, hidden somewhere in your heart.”
I speak repeatedly of my all time favorite series. They have remained the same three since 2012/2013 and not much has touched them. It probably even gets to the point where people are like, yeah, dude, we get it, stop! But I think it speaks volumes when we can say that no other story touches us after 3 years even after reading, what, 100-120 books a year. Think about that. We meet couple after couple, star-crossed lover after star-crossed lover, see perilous scenarios and heart-breaking stories time and again, and yet those those three stories can’t be touched with a ten foot pole. My point in all this? Nothing has touched my top three favorite series of all time…..except this one. And that, to me, speaks louder than any words could.
What I’m trying to say is that this is now my fourth favorite series of all time. And. That. Is. Huge. You have no idea HOW huge. I don’t give away those spots easily. Something has to really claw into me for those spots to be given away, but my darling Rob and Scar have earned it. From their first tortured story to the final heart-wrenching finale, these two have not had it easy.
“Have you…” I drew a breath, trying to find the words. “When did you last-when did you see him?”
He swallowed. “A few weeks ago.”
I just looked at him.
“He…he would greatly benefit from hearing you’re alive,” he told me.
His careful words stabbed me. “He’s not doing well,” I said.
Book one was the one that got me, if I’m being honest. Actually, the most candid thing I could tell you is that once I finished book one, I was biased beyond compare. I don’t think there could be much that would have knocked this series down a peg. Book two, while so strong, didn’t touch book one-Gisbourne was a bastard who meddled heavily in their relationship, and we didn’t get as much one on one Rob and Scar time. So, naturally, I’d be pissy about that. But it’s more than that. From the moment we met them in book one, they only had eyes for one another…but they sure as hell wouldn’t admit it. Risking their lives to save one another, sacrificing all they had, doing all they could to keep the other alive-Come on, that’s a prime fucking story, guys. Action, conflicted and convoluted feelings, self-loathing, despair, a tortured (And I mean the best kind of tortured) hero, and a non-stop plot, I couldn’t breathe. So, yes, I was hooked from the beginning.
That’s not to say these last two didn’t have strong points, they did, but the first will always hold a very special place deep in my heart-after all, it got me addicted to this series, right?
In this story, Rob and Scar are separated by the hands of Prince John after View Spoiler »he had Gisbourne killed at the end of book two and framed Scarlet for it. « Hide Spoiler I think I had imagined the beginning of this book being different, but by them being apart for a little bit, the love they had for one another grew with each passing page, even as each day became harder than the last. My desperation to see Rob became this obsession, the rumors going around about Scar’s death causing me to panic for dear Rob’s sanity, seeing as he has been through so much and all he wants is her-No matter what. At all costs. He knows, in his heart, that there is no way she’s dead-So, her knowing this, she pulls a Scarlet and tries to make an escape so Little John isn’t lead to Nottingham, where Rob resides as View Spoiler »Sheriff. « Hide Spoiler She knows he would risk life and limb and burn down every town to save her, because his love for her is that strong. But what happens when running only makes things worse?
I pulled away from her.
He will die.
Rob’s face, frozen like View Spoiler »John Little’s « Hide Spoiler, with shock and sudden knowing, like he could see Death creeping toward him over my shoulder.
He will die.
Blood running out of Rob like a swollen spring river gone red.
He will die.
Rob’s blood staining the snow, staining the stones in the courtyard, staining my eyes.
This was a love story through and through. There was a lot of strategizing and tons of destruction, but through it all it was Rob and Scar still fighting and finding a way to ultimately be together. Rob was loyal, self-sacrificing, and perfect in this final installment. He took my breath away with his looks and love for Scar more than once. I was telling a friend yesterday that, yes, no one will ever take my number one BBF spot away, that spot is closed and vacuum sealed, but if these guys were real, and I had to choose one to marry, I really think Rob is that guy. I KNOW. That’s a bold statement coming from ME, but think about it: Heroic, tortured, self-sacrificing, loyal, kind, jealous, protective, and not a supernatural being…though, there’s an argument for those guys, too. And after I said it of course I was like, ‘Wellllll, but what about…’, so I am flighty about that. But, the point is, I said it. I thought it. Rob is a hero first and foremost, but Scarlet is his one and only, and his fierce and undying love and devotion to Scarlet makes it hard to breathe. If the writing isn’t for you in this series, that’s fine, but don’t go through life not meeting my dear, loyal Rob.
I pushed him back with a grin. “Posturing braggart, show-off peacock!” I accused.
“If by that you mean I’m the best damn archer you’ve ever seen and you’d like to reward me with a kiss,” he said, drawing me back to him. “Then I accept. And yes, I will continue to give you generous lessons to achieve my epic-nay, legendary-skill.”
were was the same as always with it’s fun (though, in book one it took some getting used to, I thought it was a typo!) substitutions of ‘were’ instead of ‘was’ with a quick pace and vivid imagery. After I became accustomed to the style of speak in book one, I really came to adore Gaughen’s writing. It is addicting and flows seamlessly from page to page, making this an uputdownable page turner. So, while this style is a shock at first, it immediately becomes addicting in a way you would never imagine. I wouldn’t pass this one up because of that, but who am I to say? I already told you I’m horribly biased.
Even as the words left my mouth, they didn’t feel true. 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 around us. And we’d love each other anyway. Sure, and true.
So, while this was my least favorite of the series, it still brought tears to my eyes and I gasped more than once. I still got butterflies every other page and the book was like a night-light from all the highlights (Cough, I highlighted most full pages in a rainbow of colors, cough) I used on my IPad. Just because I preferred the first two in no way lessens my affections for this book as a whole, it just had a lot to live up to. Scarlet was still Scarlet, doubting herself and putting the good of the people ahead of herself, and Rob was still Rob, self-sacrificing and all for Scarlet and starting their life together. I adored Much, just as I have from the beginning, and I was obsessed with his role in this final story. And I missed a certain character so much it hurt, and I didn’t realize I would until he/she was gone, forever snuffed from existence. So, I could keep going on and on and on even as I’ve lost many of you one paragraph three (Most likely earlier, but shut up, it’s my send-off to Rob), but that would be redundant. I love this series with my whole heart, and I am about to cry even as I think about posting this review, because I will never read a new story about Rob and Scar again….And I don’t want to say goodbye to all of these wonderful characters. But there’s one thing I’ll never stop doing: Re-reading this wonderful series from beginning to end, forever looping and repeating the moments where Rob and Scar realized they loved one another and risked it all to be together. That sounds like heaven to me.
Nuzzling against his head, I whispered to him, “This is freedom, Rob.”
Using our twined hands to tuck our arms close around my body, he murmured into my hair, “You were always my freedom, Scar.”
|Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)
Lady Thief #2
Lion Heart #3
Let me express my displeasure of having to wait….in Sailor Moon GIFs. Girl’s got some super canny facial expressions.
*Cue the lights*
That’s the end of book 2??
Hmph. Okay, I’ll just pick up book three-
You have GOT to be kidding me
Yeah that’s cool. I’m fine….I’ll just sit over here and wait.
Seriously. I’m fine. Catcha later, Rob.