Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen

LionHeartTitle: Lion Heart

Author: A.C. Gaughen (Scarlet and Lady Thief)

Genre: Historical

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages: 348

Rating: 4/5

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 was extremely lucky to receive a digital ARC of this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of this review.

I’m not quite sure what to say about this book. I enjoyed it, I did, but I’m not quite sure that I liked it as much as the first two books. I’m also not sure if real life is to blame for that – after all, when you’re worrying about final exams and papers and such, then fluffy, easy books tend to work better, at least for me. I might have rated this book slightly higher if I were in a different place of mind, but I did still enjoy this book. Oh, and warning if you haven’t read the first two books: there will probably be spoilers for Scarlet and Lady Thief in this review! I’ll try to warn you, but I might forget what is a spoiler and what isn’t, so be warned.

The Beginning

The beginning was the slowest part for me because it seemed to be the most angsty part of it all. Scarlet is separated from her beloved from Robin, which was very unfortunate – not because I felt so bad for the broken couple, but because Scarlet was darn angsty about the whole thing. She was pining for him but determined to be a bit of a love martyr, and while that’s pretty genuine to her character, it was also annoying to me, and made the beginning go slower.

The Plot

After Scarlet found out the truth about her paternity, there are plenty of other people finding out as well and it’s causing a lot of changes for Scarlet, including new power. That power comes quite in handy with the plot of this story, to raise the ransom to bring back King Richard and get rid of Prince John. This plot interested me a lot more than the romantic one between Rob and Scarlet, but it still had a touch of angst that made it difficult for me to keep reading when I was worrying about tests as well.

The Characters

I’m glad to say that some of the characters that seemed underserved in earlier stories have gotten bigger roles. There’s the awesome Much, the most ignored of Scarlet’s gang, although there definitely could have been even more of him; there was Bess, John’s paramour, who earlier seemed like one of the typical, one note female characters that isn’t Scarlet; and Isabel, Prince John’s first wife, got a little more depth, and I still love her despite the smallness of her character and the fact that Scarlet thinks so little of her and she can be admittedly cruel – but just as cruel as Scarlet can be to her.

The Setting

As was the case with the first two books, this book mixes real history, real Robin Hood folklore, and A.C. Gaughen’s own imagination. It was interesting to read the Author’s Note at the end that talked about how Gaughen twisted real history, and it definitely made me want to go to Wikipedia and do a little quick research, which is great in my book at least!

The Adult Situation

This is one of those ambiguous YA books where I think it would be better classified as a new adult book with the copious sex scenes. Scarlet is meant to be about 18 or 19, I think, and Robin is around 21 or 22. They’re both on their own and have been during the entire trilogy, and it doesn’t feel like they’re really missing parental presence. I don’t know if that’s because it’s a historical book where people got married and had their own families a lot earlier or if it’s just the characters, but there was never a point where I was like “um, where are their parents and other adult figures?”

The Romance

This was my least favorite part of the book, unfortunately. It’s not that I didn’t ship Scarlet and Rob – it was just too angsty for my taste. Something happens in the second half that really lowered the level of angst, though, and the romance definitely got better in my eyes at that point.

The Ending

With less angst and all my finals stuff done and over with, the beginning was definitely my favorite part. It sped by much faster as I was trying to see how it would all end. One small problem was how much this book stressed me out – after reading and being traumatized by the previous two books, I was just waiting for shocking and terrifying things to happen, which made it hard for me to enjoy myself when things really weren’t that bad.

In Conclusion…

While I was reading the book, I wasn’t always happy with it for various reasons, some unrelated to the book itself, but now that I’m done with it, I’m already beginning to look back on it and the rest of the series fondly. It’s only been a few hours since I finished, but I’m already feeling a bit nostalgic about it. Needless to say, I am in for whatever Gaughen comes up with next.




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