Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Review: Lady Thief

LADY THIEF
Scarlet #2
A.C. Gaughen
Historical Young Adult
304 pages
Bloomsbury/Walker Childrens
Available Now
Source: eARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.

MY THOUGHTS
Lady Thief is a story we enter into with armor securely in place, fleeting memories of Scarlet reminding us how difficult life for our young heroine can be, but our preparation fails completely and utterly in the face of Gisbourne’s return, pain meticulously finding every crack and chink in our emotional plating to leave us bruised, battered and broken. While what Scarlet goes through is undeniably hard to read, what’s perhaps the more bitter pill to swallow is the way this story ruthlessly highlights the dichotomous nature of hope, detailing it in all its beauty as a balm on the severest of wounds while at the same time showing us again and again how it can be the most brutal tormentor of all. Scarlet’s unshakeable hope, to her credit or detriment, guides her in every avenue of this story; hope that someone’s word is their bond despite all evidence to the contrary, hope that each day is her darkest moment so the next can therefore only be better, and hope that in a world where power belongs to the cruel love can somehow find a way to flourish.

Scarlet is someone we can’t help but feel proud to know despite the fact that she’s a fictional character, her unrelenting strength of will in the face of meaty fists and dull blades something that snaps our own spines rigidly straight in solidarity. Where we would likely rage against our abusers–tears and screams escaping unbidden–she remains outwardly stoic, refusing to give those who hurt her even a moment of satisfaction. It’s not to say she doesn’t fight back physically when attacked, because she more than once proves how her time as a thief has earned her a unique set of self-defense skills, and for every knee she lands in a sensitive place and every verbal blow she delivers the smile on our faces grows wider even though we know the price for her actions will be high.

She refuses to be cowed, head always held high despite the bruises and scars that mar her features, but she thankfully never reaches that place where she goes numb–blocking out everything, including us as readers–in an attempt to protect herself the only way she knows how. Instead she fights at every turn, but we are also granted quiet moments with her where the tears flow and her strength finally wanes, and it’s these moments that are the hardest to bear because we know her loyalty and her hope that a better life simply has to be possible will send her back to those who have brought her so low. Her brief interludes with an equally tormented Rob are a beautiful kind of torture, the love the two of them share poignant and enviable, tiny pin pricks of light in an expansive sea of darkness.

Ms. Gaughen pulls absolutely no punches in this second installment, forcing us to accompany Scarlet and Rob to a place where even the staunchest of believers will have their faith shaken, but their shared inability to give up imbues us with the strength we need to carry on with them, even to a very bitter end. We’re left with the two sides of hope clearer and more distinct than they have ever been before, soothing our hurts as we find comfort in anger and the promise of retribution while at the same time taunting us with the bloody ramifications of past hope gone terribly wrong.

Rating: 4.5/5


*Be sure and check back here on Friday as Annie is part of the Big Love Letter Event and is going to share a gut-wrenching letter from Rob to Scarlet!


Find Annie:


This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

41 comments:

  1. I wasn't a huge fan of Scarlet, but this one sounds great! Scarlet sounds like she's an awesome character and I'm excited to see how things will work out between Rob and her. Amazing review, Jenny :)

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    1. This one hurt to read for sure Montana, but I love how strong Scarlet is. I hope you give it a try even though the first book wasn't quite as strong for you!

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  2. Now I can't remember the neg review after this one ;) Oh right, the love triangle, it was that. Not a fan of those so hm

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    1. There was a tiny love triangle in the first book, but it was a minor aspect, and it's non-existent in this one!

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  3. I really want to read this series. So glad this one was a good read for you!

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  4. I have to start reading the series now. Great review! :)

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    1. YES! I can't recommend it enough, it's just fabulous. Dark and gritty at times, but so, so good:)

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  5. I already admire Scarlet's strength. She's strong, I can tell. I'm so intrigued by the fact that it's a Robin Hood retelling (from another POV) and I actually had no idea it was one until last month. I'm so happy to know that you enjoy this series and I can't wait to get sarted:) Gorgeous review, Jenny!

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    1. She's epic Siiri. I'm just completely in love with her. This book made me so angry (intentionally, of course), I wanted to throttle everyone who hurt her:) I can't wait to see what you think!

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  6. I love the covers for this series! All of them are so gorgeous and alluring, just drawing you into the story. Unfortunately, I wasn't a big fan of Scarlet so I won't be continuing with this series, though I'm thrilled to see how much you enjoyed this, Jenny. Fabulous review, dear! :)

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    1. Aren't they pretty? I love the filigree on this one, it's just gorgeous:)

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  7. Ooh, yay! Go Scarlet! I definitely do wince along with the character when bad things happen and then get that surge of pride when they triumph -- so weird but so awesome.

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    1. Yes. I was hurting right along with her in this one, but she just makes me happy. She's so much stronger than I would likely be in her situation!

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  8. Scarlet sounds like an amazing character and someone I can easily connect with. I haven't read the first book yet, but I've heard so many amazing things. I'm going to wait for the whole series to come out before I decide to start it.
    Lovely review, Jenny!

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    1. I hope you get a chance to read this series Nick, I just adore it. Her dialect does take a few chapters to get used to, but once you settle in you don't really even notice it anymore:)

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  9. Oh gosh, my post got eaten!

    I loved this review mostly because I am so glad you like this series too Jenny, it is one of my favs and so very underrated!

    A love letter from Rob? *does a happy dance!* I can't wait to read it!!

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    1. Blogger's been doing that a lot lately. I have to keep copying my comments before I publish them just in case. Grrr.

      And the letter is so, so good Ali. I can't wait for everyone to read!

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  10. That makes 2! Seriously I am hoping my library gets this because I think this might be one that I would enjoy. :)

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  11. This was one of the few books that I really hoped it had a sequel especially with that cruel open ending to Scarlet. "Ms. Gaughen pulls absolutely no punches in this second installment, forcing us to accompany Scarlet and Rob to a place where even the staunchest of believers will have their faith shaken, but their shared inability to give up imbues us with the strength we need to carry on with them, even to a very bitter end." ---> *This* is what draws me to this story. I love how these two characters balance one another and there is some sense of realness to the story though it's fiction. I can't wait to read this one and I will definitely be back to check out Rob's letter!

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    1. SO GOOD RUMMANAH! I just loved this story even though I was an emotional mess while reading. It definitely felt very real, and I just wanted to rage at certain characters. I can't wait for them to get their comeuppance:)

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  12. I found the first book in the series to be a pretty solid read, Jenny. I wasn't planning on continuing with the series though bu it seems like this book is a lot stronger. I may have to change my mind and add it to my wishlist now.

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    1. Give the sequel a try Z! It gives us a whole new perspective on the world because Scarlet's at court, so I just found it fascinating:)

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  13. I just scanned your review because I haven't read the first book yet and I really want to. Everyone raves about this series.

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    1. I'm a huge fan Alison, I hope you read it!

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  14. I've heard only amazing things about Scarlet and I've been planing on reading it soon but now after hearing such amazing things for this sequel I think I'll get to it sooner than I thought. I need to meet that Rob so I cannot wait to read the letter. Great review, Jenny :)

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  15. OH I so agree. This was a page turner and a stunner. That ending just gutted me. My faith is a bit shaken, but I think it will all work out!

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  16. Squee, I have book one and I know if you are singing it's praises that I will love it..wonderful review Jenny. I am so excited to see the suspense increases and that this held you captive!

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  17. I have to be honest, as much as I love Rob, he has a ways to go to even match my love for Scarlet. He needs to step it up to her level. She needs an equal and a partner. :D Oh, but yes, I did love this book too! :D

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  18. I think I am going to have to wait for the whole series. My heart already aches at the pain in this book. And the ending. Did you cry? I think you did. I can read it in the lines of your review. Is it cheating to wait for the whole series? I think I already love Scarlet and Rob and haven't even read the story!!

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  19. I just skimmed this because I haven't started this series yet. But I NEED TO. I was going to wait until book 3 was out. But my friend Heather has convinced me that I need to get on these NOW. Even if there's a crazy cliffy. Glad to see you're loving these books.

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  20. I can't believe I didn't even want to read the first book when it first came out, and now I want to read it so bad. What a slacker I am.

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  21. See I still haven't read the first boo yet - but I remember you saying that I should do so! This cover looks wonderful and also, I loved reading your review! I truly want to meet Scarlet now!

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  22. For some reason, this one never really spoke to me, but it sounds like it's a real gem! I love how you describe the characters! Great review, Jenny!

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  23. I seriously need to read this book. I have been wanting to read it since I have been seeing it a lot around the blogosphere. Nice review.

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  24. My friend lent me Scarlet, so I better catch up. This sounds so good!

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  25. OMG--I LOVED this book! I liked Scarlet a whole lot but I think this sequel was really fabulous. The swoon factor was amped up x 1000, wasn't it?? I am writing my review for this next week so I just skimmed, skimmed your thoughts--but I'm definitely coming back to comment later and I am SO CHECKING OUT that love letter from Rob to Scar because I really think they are morphing into one of my all-time favorite bookish couples:))

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  26. Oh YAY! So glad to hear this one really is fantastic! I need to grab this soon, I know my whole family is chomping at the bit to give it a read!

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  27. I can't wait to read this! I loved the first book and am so excited to get back in this world. I love Scarlet so naturally this line has me cheering -> "for every knee she lands in a sensitive place and every verbal blow she delivers the smile on our faces grows wider even though we know the price for her actions will be high." :D Beautiful review Jenny! Can't wait to read Rob's letter!

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