Review: Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Lion Heart by A.C. GaughenLion Heart by A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #3
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 19, 2015
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Historical, Retelling
Pages: 348
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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two-half-stars

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?

*scratches head and stares at screen* Usually, I know how I feel about a book, but I’m torn every which way about Gaughen’s Lion Heart. I’ve loved the Scarlet trilogy for its darkness, its heroine, and its beautiful retelling. Those things are all present, but other aspects fell much flatter for me than they have in the past. Lion Heart left me feeling rather disappointed, wanting more and also wishing some things had turned out differently.

gif robin hood crying

It really sucks when a series that has been so solid for me, like Scarlet, goes out with a bit of a whimper in the final installment. I stand by a lot of what drew me to the series in the first place, and there are aspects I still liked a lot. Scarlet’s still wonderful, and I think she’s finally learning to embrace the different sides to her personality. There are even some small signs that she might, someday, grow out of her martyr tendencies.

My obstacle in Lion Heart is that I’ve never really been a Rob/Scar shipper. In Scarlet, I hoped for a Scar/Little John/Rob OT3, because I think Little John is really the only person who can make Rob lighten the fuck up. In Lady Thief, I kind of sort of gave into the Rob ship, because Scar really needed someone who was not Gisbourne. If you aren’t firmly invested in Scar and Rob by this point, the romance may be a problem for you too.

The thing is that Rob is boring, and that, ultimately, he sees Scar as someone to be protected, not as the part-squirrel, knife-wielding badass that she truly is. His every thought is for how to keep her out of the danger, when she’s squarely in it no matter what. She constantly has to remind him that she has the right to make choices about her own life.

gif marian robin hood

There was one really adorable moment View Spoiler » where I almost got on board the ship, despite the fact that Rob seemed every bit as pig-headed as before. Yet, then, though just before he’d told Scar View Spoiler », he has the audacity to say to her that View Spoiler » I feel like Rob’s character arc has been such a flat line that he might actually be dead or a robot. It’s frustrating. They’re also so damn sincere and mushy at one another, and oh my god I cannot.

gif robin hood hug

If only Gillian (Writer of Wrongs) had been right about the potential sideship. it would have been so much better. Seriously, they bantered and fought, and omg so cute. Yet Allan and David were not to be officially denoted a couple. Also, View Spoiler ». Come to think of it, I don’t like Much’s romance either, because I wanted more for him than marrying a friend’s pregnant widow. Basically, I read a lot for romance, and the romance wasn’t on point for my personal tastes.

The plot, for the most part, reminded me why I loved the series so much. For much of the book, I was swept up and curious to discover what the outcome would be. That outcome, however, was a bit more sudden and open than felt right to me. Sure, I love some open endings, but this one felt way too abrupt. Not to mention the fact that Prince John suddenly starts behaving like a two-year-old throwing a tantrum. I’d loved what a clever and cruel villain he was, but he falls apart like Scar just stole his toy.

gif robin hood awkward silence

So far as series endings go, Lion Heart isn’t the best or the worst. There were times when the book made me smile, but also times when I wanted to hurl it across the room. Maybe a future reread will bring new perspective but for now I leave you with this sigh.

Favorite Quote:

“Oh, for Heaven’s sake, what reputation do I have left?” I asked them. “I fell to my knees in the house of God covered with the blood of several men, and yet I’m not meant to kiss the man I have always loved?”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 gif will scarlet pants fall off robin hood men in tights

One response to “Review: Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen”

  1. I have been there, just recently in fact, where I wish that things had turned out differently and it effected my feelings about the book in a big way. I have had Scarlet, the first in this series for a long time and still haven’t read it. Thanks for your review.
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