Author: Genevieve Cogman
Genre- YA Historical Fanntasy
Publisher: Tor UK Books
Publication Date: 11 May 2023
Comment: I was given a free copy via TorUK books yet all opinions are my own and in no way influenced by madame guillotine.
comment: This is the first time I was tempted to use the AI art generator to see what it did with the prompts I gave it. All images in this post are therefore AI-generated.
Revolution’s a bloodthirsty business . . . Scarlet is a thrilling reinvention of the tale of The Scarlet Pimpernel with the addition of magic and even more mayhem.
Revolutionary France is no place to be, especially for aristocratic vampires facing the guillotine. But the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel are determined to rescue them. And they have an ace up their sleeve: Eleanor, a lowly maid from an English estate with a striking resemblance to French royalty.
For Eleanor, the League and their legendary deeds are little more than a rumour – until she’s drawn into their most dangerous plot yet. The mission? Travel to France in disguise, impersonate Queen Marie Antoinette and rescue the royal family. If they succeed, it’ll be the heist of the century.
But there’s more to fear than ardent Revolutionaries. For Eleanor stumbles across a centuries-old war between vampires and their fiercest enemy. And they’re out for blood . . .
Scarlet is the first book in the Scarlet Revolution trilogy, set during the turbulent French Revolution, and featuring all of Genevieve Cogman’s trademark wit and fast-paced plotting. It’s perfect for fans of The Invisible Library series, Kim Newman and Gail Carriger.
Eleanor is a maid in the household of an elegant elderly vampire but she has aspirations of working in London as a modiste. Yet what takes her away from her life is not her abilities but rather her appearance; apparently, Eleanor is a dead ringer for a certain French aristocrat who is due to meet her unfortunate end in Paris.
Not if the Scarlet Pimpernel can help it and he enlists Eleanor to aid in the rescue of the Queen and Dauphin from the rabid revolutionaries in France.
Along the way, Eleanor will discover that she is more than she ever thought she could be as she faces danger, romance and the face of death.
This was such a fun read. I have to admit that I know very little about the French Revolution, but very little can’t be improved by adding Vampires to the Mix.
In this vein (hah see what I did there) Cogman uses the Vampires to drive home the hard-heartedness of the aristocratic French at the time, the capitalism and inequality between the classes. In fact, Eleanor is a foil through which we can question the injustice in the league’s work of rescuing and favouring those of ‘superior birth’.
Several times Eleanor herself brings up the disparity between the treatment of herself and those of a different station. Her erstwhile suitor made several faux pas to that effect and it did make you like him little less.
Nellie, however, was a wonderful character. She started out as a very quiet unassuming maid with aspirations above her station but very quickly developed into a fierce, easily adaptable protege. She was intelligent but not arrogant and was well used to being used by those who considered themselves above her. Her character growth was done superbly and really made you root for the character.
I adored that the slow-burn romance part was written with humour and realism whilst not being a central part of the story.
The World-building was fantastically detailed and vibrant and immersed you in the story to the fullest, it was very hard to put the book down and walk away to get anything done.
Whilst touted as a historical fantasy there is enough in there to have shades of horror and humour as well as action and adventure. One particular scene will stay with me for a long time!
Although it was slow to start and the pacing was a bit off at the beginning, I really enjoyed this and would be interested in carrying on the series.
Additional AI-generated images
Author: Twitter: @GenevieveCogman Instagram: @GenevieveCogman1
Publisher: Twitter: @UKTor / Instagram: @Panacmilllan
BC: Twitter and Instagram: BlackCrow_PR
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