Book Review: ‘Lion Heart’ by A. C. Gaughen



2012 was the year my (book) world ended because I discovered all things scarlet ― the book Scarlet, the character Will Scarlet, and the “Scarlet” series. I’ve been a fan of A. C. Gaughen’s writing ever since that fated day in February; her command of the English language is astounding, and the plots she comes up with are compelling. Though Lion Heart wasn’t as heart-stopping or fast-paced as Scarlet, I still loved the conclusion to the “Scarlet” trilogy.

Will Scarlet’s current situation is, simply put, pretty shitty. She’s been imprisoned by Prince John for months in a prison a long way from Nottinghamshire. Even after a daring escape from the Prince, the situation still is shitty; King Richard’s life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine demands Scarlet to spy for her and bring Richard home safe. Together Scarlet and Rob must stop Prince John from going through with his evil plans. But will their love be enough to save everyone once and for all?

Scarlet has truly blossomed over the course of the trilogy. She’s found the inner strength she’s always had, and she has a greater sense of who she is than she did in the previous books. She’s less afraid to be assertive and stand up for what she believes in. Also, it doesn’t hurt that she literally kicks butt, even though imprisonment has weakened her. Scarlet’s one of those characters you come across once every dynasty (oops, I was thinking of Mulan…), so I’m sincerely grateful I read this book.

However, the plot was pretty underwhelming, partially because I was all “I’m just in it for the ending” and partially because Prince John was a caricature of himself in the past two books. In other words, Prince John seemed cartoonish at times; his dialogue was cheesy and lacked the substance it had in the previous books. Consequently, I wasn’t convinced by the urgency AC Gaughen tried to convey. (I mean, how can anyone by scared by a cheesy book villain?)

But I couldn’t bring myself to dislike Lion Heart, not when Gaughen weaved words in a way that rendered me speechless. For instance, I audibly gasped when I came across this passage: “You see the world as fixed and finite, and it is not. It is liquid and ever moving, and one act can change everything.” Lion Heart gets at the world better than any other book I’ve read this year, even if it can’t quite get at its own plot.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (May 19th, 2015)
ISBN #:  9780802736161
Length: 348 pages (Hardcover)
Source: Netgalley

Valerie is sixteen. She attends a boarding school near Boston, where she writes, reads, and attempts to be a studious student. She's too lazy to write the rest of this bio, so follow her on Twitter @torquoiseworld because shameless self-promotion is alive and thriving!