A C GAUGHEN
SERIES: Scarlet #3
REPRESENTATION: Amputee MC (Fingers), Amputee Side Character (Hand)
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: YA Historical, Retelling – Robin Hood
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?
Lion Heart is the last part in the Scarlet trilogy, which follows Robin Hood, a genderbent Will Scarlet and the Merry Men. In the previous books we found out that Scarlet is actually a runaway Maid Marian and, to everyone’s surprise, the illegitimate daughter of King Richard.
This book was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I preferred Lady Thief to Scarlet (despite some problems I had with it) and I think I still prefer Lady Thief to Lion Heart.
There were a couple of things that I thought were an improvement in this installment.
I really liked the inclusion of a few more women in the story. I pointed out in one of my previous reviews for this series that it suffers quite a bit from the-only-girl-in-the-world-syndrome. Lion Heart develops a couple of the girls we’ve already met and introduces a couple more, across different social classes. It’s still definitely not a diverse book. It focuses on the nobility, and the cast is entirely white and entirely straight. I did they like that there were a few more women though.
Scarlet also comes off as a bit smarter in this book. As I said before, we’re constantly told how clever she is but her decisions don’t really hold this up. I didn’t spot any “Oh my gosh, you’re being such an idiot” moments this time.
I’m not sure what put me off this one a bit. It’s more of a national, large-scale drama than a personal crusade. I know some of the characters are still very obviously from the Robin Hood stories, but it feels like the furthest away from the kind of Robin Hood/ Sherwood Forest/ Merry Men type of thing. I’m sort of glad that the series ends here because it’s heading towards a little “generic Historical fiction”. And although it’s great to see Scarlet develop and to grow into a slightly more responsible leader from a character development point of view, she does seem to lose some of the things that made her such an unusual, unique and compelling character in the first book. It also ends shockingly suddenly. There’s no lead-out of the story after the climactic event so it all feels very abrupt.
Other than that I’m not exactly sure why this book didn’t appeal me more. It does up the action again and we get plenty time with the characters, something about it just fell a tad flat for me. It didn’t connect the same way that Lady Thief did, and it didn’t have the potential that Scarlet had.
The funny thing about the Scarlet series is that I’d probably write the series as a whole relatively high, possibly higher than any individual book. I’d still recommend this book (and the series as a whole) and, if you’re looking for a Robin Hood retelling, this is a great one to pick.