I received an eARC from the publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.
Genre: Dystopia Age Range: YA Star Rating: 4 stars Series: Yes - second book
*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for THE OUTLAWS SCARLETT AND BROWNE*
Scarlett McCain and Albert Browne have outwitted their pursuers and escaped into the wilds of Mercia and Northumbria, and it’s not long before they become famous across the Seven Kingdoms for their audacious heists. No bank is safe from a pair with the ability to read minds and make a perfect shot. But neither is fully able to escape the past – as they discover when a dangerous job turns sour.
Soon old enemies and sinister new threats are pressing in on every side, and Scarlett and Albert must pull off an impossible mission. Can they hope to outwit the Faith Houses and the Brothers of the Hand – and save the people they hold most dear?
Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
The second book in this British Wild West-esque dystopia series is another funny romp through a post-Cataclysm Britain, full of bandits, fractured kingdoms, and dangerous secrets. And to top it all off, we get heists (in both high end storage and the buried ruins of an old city), quick talking, and (somewhat clever but involve a healthy dose of luck) plans.
It’s just so unashamedly British, and I love that in books. There’s the other scones debate (not the naming, but which order jam and cream go on in). The dialects are spot on, with the typical British understatement (“might be a trifle mad” for someone who has steam spouting from their ears.)
Scarlett and Albert’s voices both were really distinct, and so I could tell within the first page of a new chapter who was narrating, and they both made me laugh – which is a tricky thing to manage. Scarlett is all wild bravado, which leads to some interesting situations, and Albert is so easily distracted (and has opinions, though he says everything so mildly.) Plus the plot itself lends itself to humour. I mean, an execution is treated like a festival with a stage manager and all.
This book also develops Albert’s powers/his control and relationship with them, but pitting the pair (among other villains) against someone with similar abilities but way more control. He was the perfect for for Albert to go up against (and Scarlett was also handed a highly appropriate adversary to spar off with) and meant Albert really had to confront his fear over it.
Among the chapters, we also got flashbacks from Scarlett’s past. It really helped explain some of her “quirks” and why she has some of the defensiveness that she does, not to mention guilt. And it helps to set up a potential sequel plot, making the stakes of the next book a lot more personal (if that’s the direction it goes.)
Read my reviews of other books by Jonathan Stroud:
Scarlett and Browne (this series):