I received an eARC from the publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.
Genre: Dystopia/Western Age Range: YA Star Rating: 4 stars Series: yes - first book
Set in a fragmented future England where gunfights and monsters collide, the formidable outlaw Scarlett McCain fights daily against the odds. When she discovers a wrecked coach on a lonely road, there is only one survivor – the seemingly hapless youth, Albert Browne.
Against her instincts, Scarlett agrees to escort him to safety. This is a mistake. Soon, new and implacable enemies are on her heels. As a relentless pursuit continues across the broken landscape of England, Scarlett must fight to uncover the secrets of Albert’s past – and come to terms with the implications of her own.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
THE OUTLAWS SCARLETT AND BROWNE is a dystopia mashed with a Western, set in a post apocalyptic world. I absolutely loved the blend of the two genres, and to see a British setting (and all the little nods to locations I know) is something I am always here for. This book has bank robberies, strange creatures, a sinister organisation, and gunfights. The way it’s all combined plays deference to the classics of the genres, but isn’t held back by them, instead forging something new.
The world in this book was stunning. The past is never spelt out, but there’s enough to piece together that a nuclear bomb fell on London many, many, many years ago and now small communities have formed in the land that’s left. Creatures have mutates, towns have walls, and gangs have formed – all adapting to their local environment so that no two locations are the same.
There is plenty of action in this book – heists, shoot-’em-outs, night chases. It feels like watching a movie, well balanced and high octane. There’s quite times between the set pieces, time for the characters to talk and weasel secrets out of one another.
As the title implies, Scarlett and Albert (Browne) are the heart of the story, and their relationship. Albert was my favourite – he’s just so coltish and with no clue about the world, which simply made me want to protect him. Just let him be wide-eyed and innocent, Scarlett. So what if he can’t survive? There’s no need to infect him with your cold-eyed pragmatism!
From exasperation and naivety, to wary allies, to firm friends, it’s so nice to see a YA book (frankly, any non-MG book) with a male and female lead that doesn’t have a romance between them. They are friends and allies and that’s it – no hints of anything else. Yes, I know there are other books to come in the series, but for now there’s nothing and I am so grateful that we’re gradually starting to see more friendships.
Read my reviews of other books by Johnathon Stroud:
Scarlett and Browne (this series):