Book Review: Lady Thief

Posted December 18, 2014 by Kara in book review / 4 Comments

Book Review: Lady ThiefLady Thief by A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #2
Published by Walker Children's on February 11th, 2014
Genres: historical, retellings, young adult
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted
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four-half-stars

Scarlet’s true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet’s love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet’s past even she isn’t yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman—a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin’s cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet’s tale will have readers talking once again.

I feel like this review is best summed up with a bunch of low, unintelligible groans and maybe a handful of ripped out hair. There’s just so much darkness in this one. I thought Scarlet was bad, but this just takes it to a whole new level – in the best way possible.

I’ve found that AC Gaughen just loves to torture her readers AND her characters. From start to finish Lady Thief doesn’t let up on the brutality that Scarlet has to face. She is constantly abused and mistreated by nearly everyone she encounters. There was a scene in Scarlet that I can’t quite remember fully, but I know it made me almost sick with how harsh and horrible it was. There’s another scene in Lady Thief that I think is even worse. There isn’t any gore or anything, but it’s still horrifying. The physical abuse she faces from her husband, the vile Gisbourne, is almost triggering in its ruthlessness. Gisbourne makes a fine villain – he is cunning and ruthless and too fucking smart for me to deal with. He knows exactly what he’s doing with each calculated abuse against Scarlet. He knows exactly where the line is and he makes sure never to cross it, so that others, namely the prince and other nobles, are on his side entirely.

I love Scarlet so much because of how she handles the horrors she has to face. There is so much room for this series to be depressing and full of angst, but Scarlet’s unrelenting faith and hope and love pull us out of that darkness. Its these things that keep her going. She is propelled forward by something so much stronger than Gisbourne’s fists and that’s her love for her friends, for Rob, and for the people she has sworn to protect. Scarlet is cunning and witty and confident and strong in a lot of ways I don’t get to see too often while reading. Her character is truly a breath of fresh air.

I am so happy that this standalone turned into a trilogy. I’m not usually fond of surprise series, but I never felt like Scarlet’s journey gained enough closure at the end of the first book. Lady Thief really brings it when it comes to plot. There is some interesting court politics at play here, and a few surprising twists that I did manage to unravel, but still enjoyed all the same. The side characters, namely John, were given broader stories here, too, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see him grow. The ending kind of kicked me in the gut and I’m absolutely chomping at the bit to find out how Scarlet is going to get herself out of this mess. The lovely thing is that I know she will pull through – but what will the author make us face before we can see that strength and courage pay off?

The only real issue I had with Lady Thief was in the romance. For some reason, I just couldn’t feel it. I do ship them, and I love that they are able to draw strength from one another. Rob and Scarlet compliment each other well and they do come from a foundation of friendship, understanding, and trust. Maybe it’s because there’s hardly any internal conflict, or maybe there was just some detachment in the writing, but I just didn’t get the swoony, head-rush feels that I was looking for. I felt the friendships and their bonds way more than I felt the romantic relationship and that was a little disappointing.

I don’t think I need to tell fans of Scarlet to read this book. It seems like I’m the last one to board this train. But if you haven’t I urge you to add this to your queue. Lady Thief takes all the amazing elements of Scarlet and completely amps them up and elevates them to a new level. Scarlet is one of my all-time favorite heroines, and with AC Gaughen, you can trust that you heart will be stomped on in the most loving way possible.

bekka1

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