Reading Level: Young Adult
Size: 352 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Stand Alone or Series: 3rd book in the Scarlet series
Source: eGalley from NetGalley.com
Rating: 5/5 stars
I got an eGalley of this book to review through NetGalley (thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for the chance to read it). I absolutely loved this wonderful conclusion to the Scarlet series. This whole series has been an absolutely spectacular historical fantasy series.
Scarlet/Marian has been imprisoned by Prince John for months. After a daring escape she finds that Prince John has hatched a plot to prevent King Richard from coming home…ever. Scarlet works with Eleanor of Aquitaine to put together a plan that will bring King Richard home safe. However, Scarlet finds she can’t stay away from Nottingham or Robin for long. Can Scarlet, Robin and their allies keep Prince John from hatching his nefarious plans and keep England safe?
This series has just been so well written and so engaging. This book was impossible to put down and just a pleasure to read. There is a lot more intrigue in this story than in previous books because Scarlet spends a lot more time trying to sway the nobility to her cause. However, there is still a lot of action as well and I really enjoyed how Scarlet continued to hold her own in a fight.
Rob and Scarlet have gone through some extremely difficult trials in this series. I love how their characters are so human. I was really hoping they would finally get some happiness or even just a brief break from their struggles in this book. While they do go through a number of tough struggles in this book; they finally do get some happiness as well. They are both a little too selfless at times and you kind of want to yell at them. However, both of them have also grown and matured a lot from the first book in the series. They have both grown from rebels to leaders and it was wonderful to read about.
We meet some new characters and get to see lots of our favorites from previous book. Both Eleanor and Margaret are in the story a lot and they are strong women in their own right. We also spend quite a bit of time with some very strong and noble male characters; a new knight named David joins the story, we see a lot of Winchester, and of course Allen of Dale is causing mischief like normal. I was impressed with how well the side characters were developed and filled out; they really come alive.
The writing flows well and is beautifully done. Scarlet does spend quite a bit of time rehashing her fears, but these sections are written in such a way that they come off as very poetic. There is some humor here too, and despite all the diplomacy Scarlet is forced to endure, her biting sense of humor is definitely still here.
My only complaint with this book was that I felt like the ending was a bit rushed. I was left feeling a bit unsatisfied with how things were left with Prince John (it made me think of the Princess Bride movie where the kid yells at his Grandpa about the bad guy). However there is a very nice Afterward that explains the history supporting this series and that does a great job of explaining why the book ended how it did. That Afterward also does a great job explaining how this series compares with what we actually know historically about Robin and Marian.
Overall this was a spectacular conclusion to an absolutely perfect historical fantasy series. I loved the characters, the intrigue, the wonderful fight scenes, and the sweet romance between Rob and Scarlet. This whole series is highly recommended to fans of historical fiction/fantasy.