Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Review: Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen


Review: Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen
Goodreads 
Release date: February 11th, 2014
Publisher: Walker Children's (Bloomsbury)
Series: #2 in the Scarlet series
Source: e-ARC borrowed from Lili
Rating: A million stars and also I need a band-aid for my soul, please.

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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.


Oh, Lady Thief. Cruel but beautiful mistress. Inspirer of warm fuzzies and brutal, crushing despair. How do I adore thee? Let me count the ways.

First off, if you haven't read Scarlet, the first book in the series, turn around right now and get thee to a bookstore, because 1) you are missing out on joy and glory, and 2) there be spoilers for book one all up in this business.

Lady Thief begins not long after Scarlet ends, with our lovely knife-wielding heroine married to the wicked Gisbourne but pining for the swoony Robin Hood. Rob's got issues of his own... like, oh, I don't know, PTSD fueled night terrors in which he inadvertently punches whoever is nearby. Scarlet is nearby. And this is just in the first scene.

 

Seriously, this book is brutal. Wonderful, but brutal. My heart ached every single moment, because Gaughen just knows how to apply the pain to your feels. This book is brilliantly done and possibly even better than Scarlet, because the plot has more surprises, more nuanced characters, and more PAIN. I know that doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement, but it is. Gaughen is so good at making you care so much about feisty, broken Scarlet, wounded Rob, and all the other characters, like John and Much, both of whom became infinitely more awesome in this installment.

Of course, it's our girl Scar who steals the show. She makes a deal with Gisbourne and finds herself living in the castle as his "wife" in the company of Prince John, who... well, is even more sucktastic than Gisbourne is, if that can be believed. He's a fabulous new nemesis, between his brother issues and his mommy issues (HELLO, Eleanor or Aquitaine! So utterly fabulous to see you!) John, however, is the worst in the best way.



I continue to ship this ship with the power of a thousand suns, but my god, does Gaughen make you suffer for it. I'm sorry if I'm scaring you, but this book is unflinching, and it's wonderfully realistic. There are moments of joy, but mostly Scarlet and Rob and company are face with nearly insurmountable obstacles. Their enemies are rich and powerful and corrupt. And it's the way our beloved heroes over come them and fight through them that makes us love them. Their optimism in the face of darkness, their humor, their KISSING SCEEEEENES HELLO SWOONDOM. This book is not relentlessly depressing.

LIES.

The way she twists the familiar Robin Hood tale into something fresh, exciting, intense and romantic is just amazing. We get to see the famous tournament, meet Alan-a-Dale, and learn more about what both Robin and Richard did in the Crusades. Scarlet is a wonderful heroine, full of fight and full of flaws. She's brilliant and proactive and I love her completely. We learn secrets about her past and about her fears for the future. We see her in action being awesome. We see her suffer and overcome.

We also get to meet Eleanor or Aquitaine, a bad ass royal lady full of bad assery. We get to meet Prince John's wife, the heinous Isabella. We get to see another side of Gisbourne, just enough to confuse us mightily. John, Rob's right hand man, really gets developed in Lady Thief. Much continues to be the best. This book succeeds on basically every level, digging deeper into this medieval world and discovering so much  more darkness and richness.

I figured out the huge twist way ahead of time, but that didn't mean that the ending wasn't a huge punch to the gut, because THE ENDING. The ending. The ending. A.C., you cannot just end a book like that. The tears. The low, agonized moan I released. Oh, it's epic and wonderful, but terrible and awful and all the things. That's the thing about this book and this series. It is all the things. I'm satisfied on every level as a reader, but I'm also a bit emotionally traumatized. I love when books do that to me, and Lady Thief did it in spades.

7 comments:

  1. Well, now I know I need to read this series, but I also know I will not read it until the next book comes out! I don't think I can handle that kind of emotional turmoil with an evil cliffhanger to boot!
    Great review!

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  2. Wow, this review made me want to read this book even more than I already did!! Can't wait :)

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  3. I NEED IT!!! I NEED IT NOW!!!! Gah, you review makes me want to pick this book up and read it all in one sob fest sounding sitting and to feel all the tears coming down my face!

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  4. I have Lady Thief to read soon and I AM EXCITED! It sounds like it's an amazing follow-up to Scarlet, which I now kind of want to reread too. I CANNOT WAIT. It makes me so happy to hear that you loved it though, because that bodes well for MY reaction to it!

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  5. I WANT IT. I WANT IT NOW. NOOOOOOOWWWWWWW. 4 days 4 days 4 days 4 days.

    I'M SO SCARED THOUGH. MORE PAIN? MOOOOORE?

    WAIT WHAT DO YOU MEAN SHE ENDS UP LIVING WITH GISBOURNE?! WHAT ABOUT ROB?! GILLIAN I AM FREAKING OUT.

    OH THANK GOD THERE ARE MAKE OUTS.

    (NO I CAN'T STOP SHOUTING AT YOU)

    (ALSO YOUR GIFS MAKE ME REALLY WANT TO WATCH THE DISNEY ROBIN HOOD AGAIN)

    OH GOD WHAT HAPPENS AT THE END? I DON'T KNOW IF I CAN DO THIS (OBVS I WILL ANYWAY)

    4 DAYS 4 DAYS 4 DAYS 4 DAYS

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  6. I might be freaking the freak out right now because I have this but I haven't read it yet because I am AFRAID but EXCITED and just having a lot of complex emotions about my feels. I'm mostly happy that Gaughen BRINGS IT. But that is also not surprising in the least.

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  7. Your gifs expressed me as I was reading perfectly. Especially the first one. It was good but so HARD TO READ. Made me feel and sad and...what will happen next?

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