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The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne

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Set in a fragmented future England, The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne introduces us to a world where gunfights and monsters collide, and where 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 Set in a fragmented future England, The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne introduces us to a world where gunfights and monsters collide, and where 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. In his first new project since Lockwood & Co., Jonathan once again fuses action, humour and mystery to create a uniquely exciting adventure with two fascinating heroes at its heart.


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Set in a fragmented future England, The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne introduces us to a world where gunfights and monsters collide, and where 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 Set in a fragmented future England, The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne introduces us to a world where gunfights and monsters collide, and where 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. In his first new project since Lockwood & Co., Jonathan once again fuses action, humour and mystery to create a uniquely exciting adventure with two fascinating heroes at its heart.

30 review for The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne

  1. 4 out of 5

    Whispering Stories

    Book Reviewed on www.whisperingstories.com In author Jonathan Stroud’s brand new YA fantasy series set in a future England, we meet brave and fearless teenager Scarlett McCain, wanderer, and outlaw. England has been ravished by a series of catastrophes that have crushed cities or flooded them. It has now been split into seven religious kingdoms where the remaining population live in towns that are well protected from the outside and try to live a normal life. Beyond the walls are the wilds where b Book Reviewed on www.whisperingstories.com In author Jonathan Stroud’s brand new YA fantasy series set in a future England, we meet brave and fearless teenager Scarlett McCain, wanderer, and outlaw. England has been ravished by a series of catastrophes that have crushed cities or flooded them. It has now been split into seven religious kingdoms where the remaining population live in towns that are well protected from the outside and try to live a normal life. Beyond the walls are the wilds where beasts and ‘The Tainted’ roam and you don’t want to be outside the walls at night-time as this is when they are most active and you will be their prey. After robbing a bank Scarlett heads through the wilds to get away from her pursuers, knowing that they won’t enter the forest and so she will be able to get a clean getaway. On her journey she comes across an upturned coach, the passengers eaten. Never one to miss an opportunity to find items of worth, money, or food, Scarlett climbs into the coach where she realises someone is locked in the toilet. Mysterious Albert Browne has been hiding in the toilet for days, listening to the beasts come and tear his fellow passengers to death. Scarlett offers to help him get to the next village, but could that be her one mistake as it would seem Albert Browne is wanted too and his pursuers will not stop for anything or anyone to get him back, but what is so special about this seemingly ordinary boy? This is my first Jonathan Stroud book, though I have now checked out his Lockwood & Co series and have added them to my TBR list. His writing is superb. The future England is very imaginative if a little scary with ‘The Tainted’ and large beasts roaming free waiting for you to make one wrong move and they will have you for their lunch. It is like a historical wild west land but set in the future, I was fixated on how England now looked, astonishing! The characters are both likeable, they bounced off one another. Scarlett quite mouthy and opinionated whilst trying to find a way to survive in the harsh world. Browne having not seen the real outside world before was like a cat in the headlights, mesmerised and overwhelmed by everything and he needed Scarlett’s help. He was also keeping a few big secrets about why he is wanted. My only little criticism was that some pieces of the book felt like they were missing, but this is the first in a series so I hope that those answers come in later books. Overall, it is a riveting read and I can’t wait for book two.

  2. 4 out of 5

    A.Rae

    New series by Jonathan Stroud? I have a mighty need.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    New series by Jonathan Stroud! Yes! Can't wait. New series by Jonathan Stroud! Yes! Can't wait.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Neurocomp

    interesting....stroud following a great series with an "outlaws" themed book like ND wilson did after his two series. The settings differs though - england (stroud) vs the US west(wilson). I jumped right into Wilson's 2nd series but couldn't get into his OUtlawz series (his 3rd). But initially avoided Stroud's 2nd: Lockwood &co (realized it was big mistake because its a great series) since it seemed far off compared to Bartimaeus. Might give Scarlett & Browne a try right away cuz its set in englan interesting....stroud following a great series with an "outlaws" themed book like ND wilson did after his two series. The settings differs though - england (stroud) vs the US west(wilson). I jumped right into Wilson's 2nd series but couldn't get into his OUtlawz series (his 3rd). But initially avoided Stroud's 2nd: Lockwood &co (realized it was big mistake because its a great series) since it seemed far off compared to Bartimaeus. Might give Scarlett & Browne a try right away cuz its set in england and Stroud's writing/banter is fantastic and there's something about EU book series set in forests/cities regardless of the era. Just hope canadian stores offer it durign release (hard to find Delaney's new series)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley. 3,5 stars I was very excited to read this new series by Jonathan Stroud. And overall, this book does not disappoint, no, it is very engaging in fact. I had trouble connecting with the main characters, though. I still haven't really gotten a feel for them. Hopefully, we'll dive more into the characters and their relationship in the next book. I also wish it would've been a bit more explained how this world came to be. I have so many questions and barely ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley. 3,5 stars I was very excited to read this new series by Jonathan Stroud. And overall, this book does not disappoint, no, it is very engaging in fact. I had trouble connecting with the main characters, though. I still haven't really gotten a feel for them. Hopefully, we'll dive more into the characters and their relationship in the next book. I also wish it would've been a bit more explained how this world came to be. I have so many questions and barely any were answered. At least give me something, it doesn't have to be all at once.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chantelle Hazelden

    Big thanks to Netgalley and Walker Books YA for the copy of this book. Having never read anything from Stroud before, I went into this book with no expectations whatsoever. I'm pleased to say that the story lived up to its blurb and the fantastic front cover that accompanied it. The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne, which is the first book in a new series, is set in a dystopian version of Britain. We are introduced to a young outlaw and bank robber, by the name of Scarlett McCain, and when she discovers Big thanks to Netgalley and Walker Books YA for the copy of this book. Having never read anything from Stroud before, I went into this book with no expectations whatsoever. I'm pleased to say that the story lived up to its blurb and the fantastic front cover that accompanied it. The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne, which is the first book in a new series, is set in a dystopian version of Britain. We are introduced to a young outlaw and bank robber, by the name of Scarlett McCain, and when she discovers what looks like an abandoned, wrecked bus, she happens to find inside it, the mysterious Albert Browne. This duo - who I absolutely love together head off on an adventurous, hunted by enemies, they go on a somewhat perilous journey through a now broken down England, all the while in search of a glimpse of safety. I really enjoyed this, I found the concept quite new and exciting. As I said I loved Scarlett and Albert together, brilliant characters, and I'm excited to see how they develop as the series progresses. My only complaint was that the book was a tad long. I understand why as he was setting the tone for the books that are to come, it just meant for me that in places it wasn't as well paced as it could have been. For the majority of the book it was fast and edgy with a good bit of conversation thrown in. Fans of YA novels will definitely be intrigued by this tale, especially with the dystopian themes running throughout it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Rouillard

    I’m a diehard Lockwood and Co. fan so was excited to hear about Jonathan Stroud’s new book, and I was already sold on Scarlett after the first few sentences: "That morning, with the dawn hanging wet and pale over the levees, Scarlett McCain woke up beside four dead men. Four! She hadn’t realised it had been so many. No wonder she felt stiff." By the second chapter Scarlett has already single-handedly robbed a bank, but her carefree life of crime is interrupted when she comes across a bus crash an I’m a diehard Lockwood and Co. fan so was excited to hear about Jonathan Stroud’s new book, and I was already sold on Scarlett after the first few sentences: "That morning, with the dawn hanging wet and pale over the levees, Scarlett McCain woke up beside four dead men. Four! She hadn’t realised it had been so many. No wonder she felt stiff." By the second chapter Scarlett has already single-handedly robbed a bank, but her carefree life of crime is interrupted when she comes across a bus crash and finds someone still alive hiding in the bathroom. Against all her self-preservation instincts, Scarlett gets involved. She coaxes Albert Browne out of his hiding place and agrees to help him on his way, but they soon realise they are being followed. Scarlett and Albert must team up to escape their relentless, dangerous pursuers and find a safe place to hide. ‘The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne’ is an irresistible juxtaposition of gunslinging Wild West and waterlogged dystopian England. Scarlett and Albert are a wonderful comedic duo. Scarlet is a notorious outlaw and charming web of contradiction—happy to rob and kill but carries a swear jar around to stop herself cursing and needs regular breaks to clear her mind through prayer and meditation. Albert is a seemingly helpless, naïve character, who is actually an even bigger mystery than Scarlett. A thrilling adventure in an inventive new world—long live Scarlett and Browne!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Emily Nagle

    What a strong start to what promises to be a great series! The intrigue of the plot gripped me right away. Scarlett and Browne are a delightful duo. I really enjoyed the fact that we were given virtually no backstory to Scarlett; it was interesting to have a protagonist that we can see only at face-value, without knowing anything about the depth of her past, yet she's likeable and feisty and entertaining to read about. Albert is such a polite delight. He's so out of place in such a dark world, bu What a strong start to what promises to be a great series! The intrigue of the plot gripped me right away. Scarlett and Browne are a delightful duo. I really enjoyed the fact that we were given virtually no backstory to Scarlett; it was interesting to have a protagonist that we can see only at face-value, without knowing anything about the depth of her past, yet she's likeable and feisty and entertaining to read about. Albert is such a polite delight. He's so out of place in such a dark world, but in a way that makes him a bit of a light for Scarlett. He learns from her, and she from him. His upbeat, ignorant and charmingly oblivious attitude is hilarious against Scarlett's harsh, fiery attitude. Highly enjoyed this! :D

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jenny (Bookbookowl)

    Thank you to Walker Books for providing me with a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review! Scarlett is a bank robber and an outlaw, she’s doing fine on her own, thank you very much, until she stumbles upon a crashed bus, while on the run from her last job. Animals have killed everyone on board, except for a boy hiding in the toilet. His name is Albert and he seems a most useless type. As Albert tags along, Scarlett wants nothing more than to be rid of him. But something about Albert d Thank you to Walker Books for providing me with a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review! Scarlett is a bank robber and an outlaw, she’s doing fine on her own, thank you very much, until she stumbles upon a crashed bus, while on the run from her last job. Animals have killed everyone on board, except for a boy hiding in the toilet. His name is Albert and he seems a most useless type. As Albert tags along, Scarlett wants nothing more than to be rid of him. But something about Albert doesn’t add up. This was the incredibly witty, fun outlaw book I never knew I needed! I’ve loved other Jonathan Stroud books in the past and was so excited to find out he’d written another one. It was everything I hoped for and more. Scarlett is the most amazing character, I loved her to bits. She’s tough and funny, with her own particular moral code. Albert is a loveable, if strange, character who I grew to really enjoy throughout the story. I kept having to remind myself this book is set in a dystopian England, not the wild west, but that in no way affected my enjoyment of it. Full of gunfights, terrifying monsters (both real and fantastical) and an epic adventure, The Outlaws is utterly brilliant and one wild ride I didn’t want to put down. It looks like this one is going to be a series, and I’m so glad I’m going to get to see more of these characters!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Wai Kok

    Jonathan Stroud is one of my favourite children and young adult writers working today, and the goodwill I feel towards him for writing the Bartimaeus books in the early 2000’s is still very much alive to this day. There is a “brand” I associate with Mr Stroud’s writing, and it is a brand characterised by 2 elements: (1) A great sense of humour (2) A dystopian, alternate version of Britain of some kind Even before The Hunger Games (and its many copycats) exploded into the YA literary scene, Mr Strou Jonathan Stroud is one of my favourite children and young adult writers working today, and the goodwill I feel towards him for writing the Bartimaeus books in the early 2000’s is still very much alive to this day. There is a “brand” I associate with Mr Stroud’s writing, and it is a brand characterised by 2 elements: (1) A great sense of humour (2) A dystopian, alternate version of Britain of some kind Even before The Hunger Games (and its many copycats) exploded into the YA literary scene, Mr Stroud gave us a vivid oppressive version of Britain ruled by authoritarian magicians who enslave spirits and demons to keep the commoners down and colonise other nations. Imagine Harry Potter but Voldemort was victorious (and by Voldemort, I mean actual 19th century British Prime Minister William Gladstone). As a kid when Harry Potter was the vogue thing, I was that little hipster in the schoolyard who liked Bartimaeus better because it was more cynical and funnier. Then Mr Stroud followed that up with a different sort of dystopian Britain in Lockwood and Co. in which the nation is infested with ghosts, and agencies employing teenagers (who are sensitive to them) sprung up everywhere to investigate and exorcise them. So after playing with magic and horror, Mr Stroud decides to show us yet another version of Britain: this time, some unspecified cataclysm had occurred, causing the collapse of modern society and turning the nation into an analogue of the Wild West frontier replete with outlaws, bandits, and six-shooters (along with giant mutant animals and cannibal zombies for good measure). London, as we learned early on, is now a lagoon, and the country was split into seven kingdoms reminiscent of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy in the 5th century. We are immediately introduced to one of Stroud’s familiar bullheaded stock heroines, Scarlett McCain, who felt like she descended from either Kitty Jones from the Bartimaeus books or Lucy Carlyle from Lockwood & Co. She is an outlaw of indeterminate age who chews gum and kicks ass, and is on the run from the militias of 20 towns for robbing banks across Wessex, Mercia, and Wales. In chance meeting early in the book, Scarlett found a pale, wide-eyed youth called Albert Browne who locked himself in a privy on a wrecked bus. He was, mysteriously, the only survivor of whatever calamity that had befallen the bus’ occupants (who had mostly been reduced to gory remains). What I enjoy about Mr Stroud’s brand of YA is that while he does include elements of romance in his books sometimes, they are rarely overwrought or overly dramatic. His characters may have traumatic backstories but they are seldom broody or angsty either. His stories hit a sweet spot for me for having plots and themes which are complex enough for YA readers while retaining a children’s writer sensibility of fun and adventure. Like his alternate Britains in Bartimaeus and Lockwood & Co., I had a grand old time finding out how this Western-themed version of Britain works. In The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne, people are cloistered in defensible settlements called “Surviving Towns”. Horror creatures known as the “Tainted” roam the wilds. Meanwhile, a powerful organisation called the High Council of the Faith Houses rules over everyone with the twin iron fists of puritanism and eugenics. I particularly enjoy how areas in London had been reduced to a bunch of ruined archipelagic settlements like Bayswater Isle, Chelsea Atoll, and a plague island called Camberwell. I am sure there are a lot of jokes and allusions about London here which soared right over my non-English head. For the most part, The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne is a satisfying book on its own and it does answer the major mysteries of the plot like the nature of Albert Browne and the mysterious institute of Stonemoor from whence he came—but many of the greater world-building mysteries remain unanswered (presumably future books in this series will remedy that). Like all of Stroud’s YA series, the chemistry and banter between the characters just come naturally. Some of my favourite bits of this book are just scenes of dialogue between Scarlett and Albert. The boy was watching her. “Why are you doing this? What is that thing?” “I am setting out my prayer mat. I wish to pray.” He nodded. “Praying? I have heard of that. So you do it on that old rag?” Scarlett paused. “I use this fragile, sacred cloth, yes. And, by the way, once I’m sitting on it, there are rules. You don’t bother me, prod me, talk to me, or flick soil at my ears. You leave me alone and wait for me to finish.” Albert Browne considered the matter. “So it’s like a toilet, then? Old Michael at Stonemoor used to express himself in similar terms.” Scarlett clutched pre-emptively at her cuss-box, then took another deep slow breath. “I won’t strike you… Self-evidently you are a simpleton and have a head filled with clay. No, Albert, it is not like a toilet. Quite the reverse! This mat, when it’s unrolled, is holy ground.” “Yet you plant your backside on it,” the boy observed. “That is a sorry act, and surely disrespectful to the sacred cloth.” Scarlett gave a bleak half-smile. “It is not really so strange. When I sit upon it, I am in a state of grace.” “So if I sat on it, would I be in a state of grace too?” “No. You would be in a state of some discomfort, for I would beat you with a stick. My only complaint is that there aren’t nearly enough of them. While it doesn’t quite match up to the laugh riots that are the Bartimaeus books, I still found myself smiling and chuckling regularly through it. The plot moves at a good clip, and before I knew it, I finished the whole book in just one day. Jonathan Stroud’s books are like putting on a pair of old but comfortable socks for me. The story is rich, but not over-complicated. There is always a promise of a good few hours of discovery and adventure in a well-constructed alternate version of our world with fun charismatic characters. In a way, his writing is like good theme park rides and this time, the theme is post-apocalyptic sci-fi western. It’s Stranger Things by way of Sergio Leone. Rating: 3.75/5 You can read this and other reviews I wrote on my blog, A Naga of the Nusantara.

  11. 5 out of 5

    hpboy13

    A new Jonathan Stroud book, let alone a wholly new series, is among the very best things that can happen in the world of publishing. I came to Stroud shamefully late in the game, near the tail end of the Lockwood & Co series, so I had yet to experience the feverish anticipation of this situation. So when I found out about this book, I promptly scoured the internet for a way to buy a British book in the US, thankfully found a website that offered free shipping, and dove right in. To say that Strou A new Jonathan Stroud book, let alone a wholly new series, is among the very best things that can happen in the world of publishing. I came to Stroud shamefully late in the game, near the tail end of the Lockwood & Co series, so I had yet to experience the feverish anticipation of this situation. So when I found out about this book, I promptly scoured the internet for a way to buy a British book in the US, thankfully found a website that offered free shipping, and dove right in. To say that Stroud is a superlative writer is merely stating the obvious. It’s hard to say what’s more impressive: the characters that leap off the page and into our hearts, the stories that have us on the edge of our seats because we know Stroud doesn’t mess around, or the worlds that are practically begging to be obsessed over the way Westeros and Hogwarts are. Really, the most impressive part is that Stroud’s works contain all of these elements, and he makes it look effortless. Beginning with the world-building: I really envy Stroud’s imagination. He has a gift for taking a premise (Genies! Ghosts that only kids can see! Dystopian Britain!) and truly following the implications for how society would evolve to deal with it. In this book, we are plunged into a dystopian Britain that has splintered into seven kingdoms, mostly with towns dotted among the wilderness – and it’s tough to say which is more savage, the society in the towns or the lawlessness outside them. A really cool thing is the specificity of this being Britain. Stroud makes the most of the geography, with the story following the Thames, and its literal twists and turns informing the story in a huge way. I can’t wait to go back to the UK and explore some of the locations that inspired this book. Stroud avoids throwing in a lot of Proper Nouns in lieu of backstory, but the implication seems to be environmental catastrophe. (In related news, can we make this book required reading in the halls of Congress?) The wildlife is huge and deadly. London is mostly underwater, with the skyscrapers jutting out of the sea. Mankind is increasingly hostile towards people’s otherness. Slavery is back in vogue, religion holds a vague authority over the feudal towns, and organized crime and banks are all still there. In short, it’s a world ripe for storytelling, and filled with tensions that seem bound to boil over. Yet we find ourselves in a small corner of the world, following one (then two) outlaws who are just trying to get by. Scarlett and Albert are a fantastic duo of protagonists, and I am on board to go on many many adventures with them. They are so very different. Scarlett is prickly, Albert is warm and friendly. Scarlett is world-weary and jaded, Albert is naïve and has an insatiable curiosity about the world. Both have mysterious pasts, and both are trying their damnedest to be good people in a world that’s clearly inhospitable to good people. Either one of them would be a great protagonist to carry a story – the two of them together, and their fantastic friendly chemistry, is an embarrassment of riches. Stroud doesn’t skimp on the quiet moments in this action-adventure – there are plenty of conversations, a chance for them to both banter and to open up to each other. It almost took me aback when near the end of the book, there’s a mention of “this crazy adventure I’ve been on with you for 10 days” – it felt like they’d been together forever by the end of the book! I couldn’t even imagine them without the other. Storywise, this is pretty much the most perfect “pilot” for a series I’ve ever read. It tells a somewhat complete story regarding a villain, but first and foremost, it’s a travelogue through this world to establish it, and a way to develop Scarlett and Albert as a team whom we want to go on adventures with. As soon as I read the last page, I immediately wanted to go on further adventures with these two. Lastly, I need to mention Chapter 20. I read it when I was having trouble falling asleep, and that was a huge mistake: I had to read for another hour just to come off of the terror that was Chapter 20. Stroud established he’s good at creepy scary stuff in the Lockwood books, but this was a whole other level. Stroud builds up the Tainted throughout the book, to the point where even though we don’t know much about them, we are viscerally petrified thanks to Scarlett and Albert. It reminded me, most of all, of the Reavers from Firefly. That entire chapter, the suspense and the action and everything… it was TERRIFYING. Genuinely one of the scariest things I’ve read in a long long time. The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne is a book that is firing on all cylinders, and one hell of a start to a series that I will be reading the very second I can get my hands on each installment. I can’t wait for the next adventure!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    This pains me to say, but I have to be honest. I've never read an ARC before but this reads the way I'd imagine an ARC to read. It's not bad. There are things that need to be expanded upon in the next revision. There is potential but it never fully materializes. But this isn't an ARC. The characters: Both Scarlett and Albert are nice enough. They're certainly not unlikable, but I can't really connect with them either. We don't know enough about them. We learn plenty of Albert's backstory and I gue This pains me to say, but I have to be honest. I've never read an ARC before but this reads the way I'd imagine an ARC to read. It's not bad. There are things that need to be expanded upon in the next revision. There is potential but it never fully materializes. But this isn't an ARC. The characters: Both Scarlett and Albert are nice enough. They're certainly not unlikable, but I can't really connect with them either. We don't know enough about them. We learn plenty of Albert's backstory and I guessed his ability before it was officially revealed. We know next to nothing about Scarlett. She's a study in contradictions. She has no problem with robbing, beating, and killing people, yet she has a cuss-box and a prayer mat she uses for meditation when it all gets to be too much. Yet we know nothing about her past. Where are her parents or family? How did she come to be out here on her own? Who taught her how to shoot? The problem is that Albert is very sheltered and knows little about the outside world and yet he doesn't ask a lot of questions. Scarlett isn't interested in asking a lot of questions and finding things out. She doesn't really care and doesn't want to get attached, so we the readers are left in the dark. The pacing: Pacing is a problem. There are times when the book feels quite slow and I even felt a bit bored at times. The story feels like one chase scene after another, with not enough scenes in which the characters sit down and get to know each other. The dialogue: Witty dialogue is something Stroud does quite well and this is no exception. It's not as humorous as Lockwood and Co, but there are hints of the same snark and Scarlett is a bit of a more serious character. The world-building: I have so many questions and no answers. What are the Burning Regions? What exactly are the Tainted? What happened to this world to make it the way it is? There are a lot of religions, that are familiar to us, presented that people can choose from, but a lot of characters seem to mix and match. They pick what they like from each one and combine them. Now, I can assume the answers to these questions. And since we don't get answers, assumption is all we've got. I can assume, but I might be wrong. I can assume that the Tainted are zombies, possibly caused by exposure to radiation. I can assume that they might be the people with deformities of some kind that were banished from the towns and cast out into the wilds. I can assume the world was destroyed by nukes. But I don't know any of these things. We don't need to be told all of these things right away or have every aspect of them explained in excruciating detail, but we do need something. I assume it will all be explained in later books, but we need something to compel us to keep reading to get to those books and I'm just not invested in the world. Now, I LOVE the Lockwood books and I don't want to compare the two because they are so different, but since they are written by the same author, there's no getting around a little bit of comparison. There was lots of character backstory given in L&Co, so that we understood these characters and where they came from. The world in L&Co and how it worked was explained in depth. This book just doesn't have the same sense of place. There are glimpses, but it doesn't quite have the same standards we've come to expect. I'm going to hope that things are expanded further in the next book and we can understand the world these characters inhabit.

  13. 5 out of 5

    booksofthehuntress

    I mean ... is anybody surprised that I loved this? Okay, so, so far this hasn't reached the degree of love I have for Stroud's other series, BUT it's only the first book and I think this would have been true for the other series as well after I read only the first book. That said, I still absolutely fucking loved this. The world building is great. Jonathan Stroud always manages to come up with unique and intriguing concepts for his worlds, and turning England into a waste land haunted by cannibals I mean ... is anybody surprised that I loved this? Okay, so, so far this hasn't reached the degree of love I have for Stroud's other series, BUT it's only the first book and I think this would have been true for the other series as well after I read only the first book. That said, I still absolutely fucking loved this. The world building is great. Jonathan Stroud always manages to come up with unique and intriguing concepts for his worlds, and turning England into a waste land haunted by cannibals and monsters, with only a few save cities in between (that might actually not be that save if you just happen to be the wrong person)? Amazing. I loved seeing all the dark parts of this world, all the different settings, and seeing that through the eyes of two very different characters. I can't wait to explore more of it and to maybe find out more about the history of things in the sequel. The plot? Lots of action, but Stroud pulls it off. It's a bit more breathless than his other books, with lesser quiet moments and another danger constantly lurking around the corner or bend of the river. The fact that we're moving all the time enables us to see more different parts of the world and constantly confronts the characters with new situations. It's basically like a roadtrip, just with lots more death and gunfights. There's lots of somewhat episodic adventures, though they of course tie into the plot, but you can also sense that there might be something bigger lurking in the background, at least that's what I got (and knowing Stroud, that's what we'll get). And, of course, we have to talk about the characters, the strongest point of every Stroud series. I. Love. Scarlett. And. Albert. They're polar opposites, yet they make such a good duo, probably exactly for that reason. I love how their at first begrudging relationship grows and develops throughout their adventures, and it's of course amazingly executed by Stroud, because if he can do something, it's character dynamics. And the characters individually are to love too. Scarlett, the fierce, shoot-first-ask-questions-later outlaw with flaming red hair, her cussbox and her prayer mat is so cool and badass yet so intriguing because throughout the story you gather that there is more to her than you might think at first glance. And Albert, with his bright nature but dark past, and of course his own secrets, is so fun and I love following him along discovering this world (I also love the fact that I get a protagonist in an action novel who I can relate to concerning things like barely being able to support yourself climbing through a window). All in all, this is as good as a new book by Jonathan Stroud was to be expected to be, it's a great start to a new series, and I think it will find love from Stroud fans and new readers alike, and I absolutely need more of these two outlaws now.

  14. 5 out of 5

    WhatBookNext .com

    Miss Jane Oakley, Jenny Blackwood, and Alice Cardew are young women with fiery red hair, razor-sharp minds, The Outlaws Scarlett & Brownelightning reflexes and a penchant for violence. They also happen to be the same person – Scarlett McCain. Scarlett is a bank robber, a thief, a murderer (if she feels she must), and a highwayman, which has put her in a bit of trouble. She’s stolen on someone elses’ patch, and now owes a large debt. The Brothers of The Hand have given her a chance to pay them bac Miss Jane Oakley, Jenny Blackwood, and Alice Cardew are young women with fiery red hair, razor-sharp minds, The Outlaws Scarlett & Brownelightning reflexes and a penchant for violence. They also happen to be the same person – Scarlett McCain. Scarlett is a bank robber, a thief, a murderer (if she feels she must), and a highwayman, which has put her in a bit of trouble. She’s stolen on someone elses’ patch, and now owes a large debt. The Brothers of The Hand have given her a chance to pay them back, so there is nothing for it but to rob another bank. Being as clever, badass, and nimble up a wall as a monkey up a tree, this is child’s play and she flees with a tidy sum indeed – enough to pay her debts and have some fun. If only she hadn’t stopped to check out a carriage accident. Instead of scoring more goodies to add to her haul, she finds a pale, gangly, and altogether strange boy called Alfred. To Scarlett’s consternation, Alfred seems incredibly naive, and far too enraptured by the world around him. She’s trying to flee a posse sent by an angry bank manager, and Alfred is slowing her down. Not to mention that this posse seems particularly hell bent on their pursuit. Normally, they would’ve turned back before dark – no-one wants to be in the forest at night. Darkness brings out all manner of beasts, all keen to strip a human’s flesh off their bones in seconds. The Tainted are the most feared of all, with the remaining towns of England well guarded, armed and protected after nightfall. Alfred is in awe of Scarlett and does his best to keep up. Unbeknown to Scarlett, Alfred isn’t the pathetic waif he seems to be. He’s been in a unique prison his entire life, and is hiding a most terrible secret. All is revealed as Scarlett McCain and Alfred Browne flee across an England that is part Wild West, part Dystopian and part Fantasy. Being a huge fan of The Lockwood Series, The Outlaws Scarlett & Browne is a must read for me. I was hooked from the very first sentence That morning, with the dawn hanging wet and pale over the levees, Scarlett McCain woke up beside four dead men. The Outlaws Scarlett & Browne is part quest, part road-trip, part Wild West, and part Dystopian. Britain is now broken up into Seven Kingdoms, towns peppered across them with their own laws and customs. These laws must be followed if you don’t want to be staked on the outskirts at dusk – to be eaten by whichever beast lurks out of the surrounding wilderness first, hung in a cage in the town square to starve to death, or any other manner of horrors. Overflowing with action, rich description and simile, Jonathan’s Stroud’s new novel is riveting, and often funny too. After reading this first book in a new series, I’m looking forward to more escapades of Scarlett & Browne. Author – Jonathan Stroud Age – 10+

  15. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Before I start, thanks to Netgalley and Walker Books YA for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was a huge fan of Jonathan Stroud as a kid - the Bartimaeus Sequence was one of those book series that, as a teenager, I just kept returning to because the world was lush, the writing was funny and the characters were people/daemons that I wanted to be friends with. It's underrated and for that reason, I felt it was my duty to read and review his new book to make more people as pa Before I start, thanks to Netgalley and Walker Books YA for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was a huge fan of Jonathan Stroud as a kid - the Bartimaeus Sequence was one of those book series that, as a teenager, I just kept returning to because the world was lush, the writing was funny and the characters were people/daemons that I wanted to be friends with. It's underrated and for that reason, I felt it was my duty to read and review his new book to make more people as passionate about his writing as I am. I appreciate that set the book up with HIGH expectations and pleasantly, it did not disappoint. Scarlett McCain is on the run. From who? No real idea. To where? Not entirely sure - she gives you some ideas but I'm not sure even she knows. But on her journey, she encounters Albert Browne hiding in a toilet on a coach that's been ruined. Britain is not as we know it and there's something not right about them either... It was a fun read as I expected from a Stroud story - the humour is there and the characters have an innate bluntness that I appreciate in a YA novel. There is also no sugarcoating the dystopia they live in, nor the ways they must behave to survive - major hijinks abound along with a dash of death. I did not feel pandered to, which as a child, was something I sought in my books. My only critique is that it took a really long time to get interesting. Once I'd found 'it', I rushed through to the end. I wanted to know what was happening and finally I'd started to care about them. But in a 400 page book, it's a shame that happens around the half way mark. For a teenager, that is a LOT of wasted time. I appreciate you need to understand the world and the motives but boy, it was hard going. Interestingly though, I distinctly remember feeling the same way during The Amulet of Samarkand and it took me an age to finish it the first time but then, we've already heard what happened with that series so there is definitely hope for Scarlett and Albert. (and boy, do I want more backstory on Joe and Ettie.. who is with me?)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sifa Poulton

    I received an eARC from the publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions. 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 pl I received an eARC from the publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions. 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.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Geraldine

    Violent retro SF I shall not let the fact that my home town (Cheltenham) is portrayed in a very unflattering light in the first chapter prejudice me against this novel. Well, maybe just a bit. `The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne' is set in a shattered post-apocalypse England in which only a few fortified settlements survive. The young outlaw, Scarlett McCain, prefers to live in the Wilds, where the dangers include giant mutated animals and the terrifying cannibals known as the Tainted. After robbing Violent retro SF I shall not let the fact that my home town (Cheltenham) is portrayed in a very unflattering light in the first chapter prejudice me against this novel. Well, maybe just a bit. `The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne' is set in a shattered post-apocalypse England in which only a few fortified settlements survive. The young outlaw, Scarlett McCain, prefers to live in the Wilds, where the dangers include giant mutated animals and the terrifying cannibals known as the Tainted. After robbing the bank in Cheltenham, Scarlett travels to Lechlade (another Cotswold town that Stroud seems to have a grudge against) to pay an urgent debt. On the way she rescues a young man, Albert Browne, who appears to be the only survivor of a terrible accident. Independent Scarlett doesn't want to be stuck with helpless Albert but they are destined to make a perilous journey together to the Free Isles - the last remains of drowned London. Post-Apocalypse fiction is popular again but this novel seemed rather old-fashioned to me. Its scenario of sinister government organizations, towns that have reverted to brutal medieval laws and countryside full of mutant beasts and humans, is familiar from fiction of the 1950s and 60s. The one thing that marks it as modern is a level of violence which wouldn't have been tolerated in 20th century novels aimed at young readers. On the very first page we learn that Scarlett has just killed four men who attacked her and the violence escalates throughout the novel. Scarlett is a complicated character and Albert is given powerful excuses for some of the dreadful things he does but their opponents are entirely one-dimensional. I longed for some of the moral subtlety and compassion for human fallibility to be found in Phiip Reeve's wonderful Post-Apocalypse `Mortal Engines' quartet. No one is better than Stroud at writing scary scenes so `The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne' is an enticing read but personally I shall be saying `No' to the rest of the series.

  18. 4 out of 5

    S.J. Higbee

    It was interesting to read this one so soon after I’ve completed The Rampart trilogy by M.R. Carey, because the setting is very similar. A hostile post-apocalyptic England, where there are all sorts of wild beasts and cannibalistic tribes roaming around looking for an easy snack. Civilised settlements are small oases where food, clothing and supplies can be found, along with law and order and safety. But Scarlett doesn’t make a habit of spending much time in one of the settled towns – other than It was interesting to read this one so soon after I’ve completed The Rampart trilogy by M.R. Carey, because the setting is very similar. A hostile post-apocalyptic England, where there are all sorts of wild beasts and cannibalistic tribes roaming around looking for an easy snack. Civilised settlements are small oases where food, clothing and supplies can be found, along with law and order and safety. But Scarlett doesn’t make a habit of spending much time in one of the settled towns – other than to rob the bank. She doesn’t like the Faith House network, which is constantly looking for people who have deviated from the physical and mental norms (think of John Wynham’s The Chrysalids). She is not afraid of a fight, being an excellent shot and very good in a scrap – she wouldn’t have survived in the wilds, otherwise. By contrast, Arthur Brown is a walking disaster. He has no instinct whatsoever for keeping himself safe and is liable to fall over his own feet, or get distracted by some pretty-looking seed pods or butterflies, rather than pay attention to the business of keeping himself alive. When chance brings these two together, Scarlett’s one instinct is to offload such a liability as fast as she possibly can – and the growing relationship between them was beautifully handled. It could have so easily puddled into sentimentality or lurve – and it does neither of those things. Along the way, all sorts of adventures happen to this unlikely duo which steadily reveals more and more of this fascinating, blighted world. I highly recommend this one to anyone who enjoyed Carey’s Rampart trilogy. It’s sufficiently different to be enjoyable in its own right – and certainly provides an interesting backdrop to two fascinating, complicated characters and I can’t wait to see where Stroud will next take this adventure. While I obtained an arc of The Outlaws Scarlett & Brown from the publishers via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own. 10/10

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gareth Osborne

    2021 Reading Challenge Book 31 THE OUTLAWS SCARLETT & BROWNE: Being an Account of their Daring Exploits and Audacious Crimes by Jonathan Stroud 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 In my day, young adult novels were all very Home Counties – cream teas and jolly hockey sticks and cosy burglaries and an occasional friendly Neanderthal. I guess that’s why I rarely read YA fiction now. Just like Wuthering Heights almost killed my love of classic literature, C S Lewis made me want to force-feed Turkish Delight to prep school kids unti 2021 Reading Challenge Book 31 THE OUTLAWS SCARLETT & BROWNE: Being an Account of their Daring Exploits and Audacious Crimes by Jonathan Stroud 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 In my day, young adult novels were all very Home Counties – cream teas and jolly hockey sticks and cosy burglaries and an occasional friendly Neanderthal. I guess that’s why I rarely read YA fiction now. Just like Wuthering Heights almost killed my love of classic literature, C S Lewis made me want to force-feed Turkish Delight to prep school kids until they threw up. But it’s all gone a bit Katniss Everdeen these days, and YA books are the very 'de' of de rigueur. Where would we be without plucky anti-heroes surviving in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, facing down tyranny with a huffy sneer and a tres fashionable haircut? Trouble is, these kinds of books are two-a-penny, and most of them are pretty bad. This one is not. It’s pretty gorram excellent, pitched for younger teens, but discerning readers of 10-ish and up will devour it. Scarlett McCain is a shoot-first-ask-questions-later kind of outlaw. She survives on bank heists, her wits – and never looking back. That is until she meets Albert Browne, a boy with a dark past and an even darker talent. Thrown together in a lawless future Britain, populated by strange and savage beasts (giant blood otters, anyone?), the two must escape across the wilderness – with deadly enemies close behind. This book has come with shameless gobbets of praise from the likes of Eion Colfer and Philip Reeve and deservedly so. Stroud sets a fast pace and never lets up, dragging his charismatic leads from frying pan to fire through zombie hordes and giant toothy birds. Stroud’s writing is a treat for the brain – brilliant world-building, taut action sequences, villainous villains and sparkling dialogue. He was clearly having the time of his life writing this, and I’m looking forward to Scarlett and Albert's next adventure.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Colin Hardy

    This is an anti-hero adventure story set in a post-apocalyptic South of England. A diamond-in-the-rough girl and a boy with powers beyond his control are pursued by powers who seek to capture or destroy them both for different reasons. Characterization is well done with little time devoted to backstory, what is know of the world they live in as well as the central characters themselves are revealed as the story progresses. Both have sufficient likable characteristics to overcome the incidents of This is an anti-hero adventure story set in a post-apocalyptic South of England. A diamond-in-the-rough girl and a boy with powers beyond his control are pursued by powers who seek to capture or destroy them both for different reasons. Characterization is well done with little time devoted to backstory, what is know of the world they live in as well as the central characters themselves are revealed as the story progresses. Both have sufficient likable characteristics to overcome the incidents of death and mayhem that accompany their travels. The juxtaposition of worldly-wise cynicism and naivete allows for revelations of their characters with a bond that develops over time. They are a very unlikely pairing and the thread that holds them together is a little too tenuous to be credible. The baddies are archetypically wicked with no redeeming features. The environment and society are quite typically post-apocalyptic with blatant hostility to outsiders. Monsters abound and these are faced or avoided as the story progresses. Although they provide moments of action the focus remains strongly on the central characters. The story has a balanced pace of periods of relative quiet disturbed by pursuit or risk-taking. The quieter periods allow for the introduction of secondary characters who are sufficiently well fleshed out. There is no romance to the story beyond the development of the bond between the two and even there it is not possible to infer any romantic entanglement. Interventions of the baddies are somewhat predictable and whilst they provide a modicum of risk, the reader is largely confident that all the important characters will survive until the denouement. The story resolves itself quite neatly with some important reveals provided to fill in missing gaps. Sadly these feel contrived, down to the monologue of the baddie. In all, it was a good read and recommended particularly for teens who maybe haven't read as widely.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Caitlyn

    I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Walker Books in exchange for an honest review. I have long been a fan of Jonathan Stroud. His Bartimeaus series is one of my favourites of all time and the ending of those books...I'm not sure I'll ever fully get over it! So it's fair to say, I went into this book with very high expectations. I'm pleased to say that once again he delivered a wonderful reading experience. This book has it all: excellent world building; characters who can make you l I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Walker Books in exchange for an honest review. I have long been a fan of Jonathan Stroud. His Bartimeaus series is one of my favourites of all time and the ending of those books...I'm not sure I'll ever fully get over it! So it's fair to say, I went into this book with very high expectations. I'm pleased to say that once again he delivered a wonderful reading experience. This book has it all: excellent world building; characters who can make you laugh out loud with their wit and stop your heart with their moments of vulnerability; villains that only have to be mentioned by name for your heart to start racing and an ingenious plot that makes you question everything. We begin the story following Scarlett McCain (outlaw, bankrobber extrodinaire, sometimes holy woman and also teenager). She journeys throughout the shattered landscape of a dystopian future England moving between the safety, but scrutiny, of the well-guarded towns and the dangers of the wilds outside them. While on a deserted road, she discovers the wreckage of a coach with only one survivor, Albert Browne. As Scarlett and Albert begin travelling together, they are pursued by many unsavoury characters. We learn more about the secrets both of them are keeping about their pasts and the dangers they are both running from. I thoroughly enjoyed every part of this book, so rather than picking out the things that worked well as opposed to those that didn't, I am selecting my favourite aspects from eveything that I loved! First, I have to mention the characters. They were all so full of life and personality both in the actions we saw from them and the backstories we learned. Each one felt authentic and made you want to know more about them. I hated, feared, loved, laughed (both with and at) and cried with them throughout the story. The way the relationship between the two main characters developed was brilliant. I absolutely adore Scarlett for her fierce determination, quick thinking and even her grumpiness. However, nothing can top my love for Albert, his optimism and straight forward way of viewing the world are so precious and if anything happens to him... Second, the dry wit that runs throughout this book is hilarious. The scenes when Scarlett is being awesome and outwitting everyone around her are a delight to read. In addition, while there is a lot of tension and peril in this story and the author is so skilled at cutting through this with a hilarious one-liner, providing a moment of comic relief, yet still maintaining the glorious sinister atmosphere he has built. Finally, the villain. Pure evil - and I love it! It's easy for villains to be too over the top that they become ridiculous, or conversely have a villain that sounds scary, but when you actually meet them just isn't. This is not the case here. The level of threat and malice exuding from the villain is masterful. They worm their way into your brain and you love them, because they're such a fantastic character creation, but you also hate them because they're so cruel and manipulative! This book sits in the older MG/younger YA range. There is some swearing, a lot of violence and a heavy level of threat throughout the book. Readers who enjoy dystopian/adventure/mystery stories will love this. I would particularly recommend it to people who have enjoyed books like the Mortal Engines series, Orphans of the Tide and Evernight.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bee Jay

    Years after an unexplained cataclysm has shaken England - and presumably the world - to its core, Scarlett roams the outskirts of the walled towns that protect what's left of civilisation, stealing and killing where she has to - but only where she has to. She's quite moral, actually. And that very morality gets her into trouble when she meets the sole survivor of a bus crash. Against her better judgement, she offers to escort him to the nearest town. And that's when the trouble starts... Ok, conf Years after an unexplained cataclysm has shaken England - and presumably the world - to its core, Scarlett roams the outskirts of the walled towns that protect what's left of civilisation, stealing and killing where she has to - but only where she has to. She's quite moral, actually. And that very morality gets her into trouble when she meets the sole survivor of a bus crash. Against her better judgement, she offers to escort him to the nearest town. And that's when the trouble starts... Ok, confession time; I haven't read any other Stroud books. They published when I was too old to read children's books, before I was old enough to know I could read anything I bloody well wanted to. I'm glad I read this one. Jonathan has a deft hand with the characters; narration sounds completely different depending on which character is doing it, which is something that doesn't always happen in dual narration books. The countryside they travel through is well described and thought out, but there's no real explanation as to what happened to turn everything upside down. And, although it's clearly been a long time, there's petrol all over the place. Who's refining petrol and selling it in Wild West level England? I really enjoyed this read. Jonathan wisely lets a good part of the book go by before we start figuring out what's up with Albert. but once the revelations start coming they come thick and fast. There's something in Scarlett's backstory we don't know about yet, but hopefully that'll come up in a later book. BE AWARE, although Scarlett is not gratuitously violent, she has no hesitation in injuring or killing people who are trying to kill or injure her. This is a great read and I'm really looking forward to the rest of the series.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Graine Milner

    Absolutely delighted to have been able to read a proof of this new book by the hugely entertaining Jonathan Stroud, whose Lockwood and Co books are a huge favourite of mine. In this first book in his new series, we're in an alternate future England, mostly laid to waste, much of it underwater, in which Scarlett, bank-robber and outlaw, joins forces with Albert Brown, survivor of an awful coach crash. But it soon turns out he's no ordinary survivor, and unpleasant people are on the hunt for him, l Absolutely delighted to have been able to read a proof of this new book by the hugely entertaining Jonathan Stroud, whose Lockwood and Co books are a huge favourite of mine. In this first book in his new series, we're in an alternate future England, mostly laid to waste, much of it underwater, in which Scarlett, bank-robber and outlaw, joins forces with Albert Brown, survivor of an awful coach crash. But it soon turns out he's no ordinary survivor, and unpleasant people are on the hunt for him, lead by the terrifying Dr Calloway. A great adventure with humour and plenty of action. Somehow, despite starting with the aftermath of a killing, this took a little while to build momentum, but once it got going it was great fun. Albert is such a gormless character and Scarlett's exasperation with him is the source of much of the humour. The world that they inhabit, with its many perils, is one that you instantly accept, and without really knowing much about Scarlett's past we really want her to succeed - and Albert to escape the terrible people who are chasing him. I didn't enjoy this quite as much as the Lockwood and co books - perhaps because they were running away from something and in Lockwood and co the characters were always involved in a very particular case. I did want to find out more about Albert and his abilities and past, but felt that this remained a bit vague, as was Scarlett's past. The long river journey put me in mind of La Belle Sauvage with the indestrucable Dr Calloway. The ending sets us up well for the next in the series where I'm sure more will be revealed.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rozarka

    I have no idea how to rate this book. Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. It just didn't click with me. Technically, it's a postapo novel, but it reads more like a fantasy. An adventure story. The plot is decent, suspenseful, with little twists at the right places. It's technically a middle-grade but you notice this only when stumbling upon certain tropes I could do without (eg. villain's monologue at the end). Worldbuilding is the best thing about the novel. It's an inte I have no idea how to rate this book. Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. It just didn't click with me. Technically, it's a postapo novel, but it reads more like a fantasy. An adventure story. The plot is decent, suspenseful, with little twists at the right places. It's technically a middle-grade but you notice this only when stumbling upon certain tropes I could do without (eg. villain's monologue at the end). Worldbuilding is the best thing about the novel. It's an interesting world to look at; the landscape itself as well as its inhabitants, human and non-human alike. Stroud is that type of author who shows, doesn't tell (and that is what I like about him!) so you don't get to see the full picture. There is still a lot to explore and it's the main reason why I am looking forward to reading the next installment in the series. The only problem I have is that I'm a character-driven reader. I need to care to be fully invested in a book. And this time I simply wasn't, none of the characters I felt attached to. Scarlett was too superhero-y for my liking and I missed Stroud's humor a lot. Lockwood & Co and Bartimaeus Sequence strike a perfect balance between thrilling plot and domesticity with loads of funny banter, this time only the plot drives the story forward. The good thing is that there seems to be a found family trope in the play (and I mean it quite literally), so I have high hopes for the next book *crosses fingers*

  25. 5 out of 5

    Timea

    I was very excited to receive this eARC - huge thanks to the publisher! I am a great fan of the author's previous two series, which is why I couldn't wait for his newest book! The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne is set in a post-apocalyptic England where civilization has retreated behind the fortified walls of a few cities. The wilderness is taking over and it's populated by monstrous predators and mysterious, almost human-like cannibals. This is why the cities fear and punish any genetic deviation. S I was very excited to receive this eARC - huge thanks to the publisher! I am a great fan of the author's previous two series, which is why I couldn't wait for his newest book! The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne is set in a post-apocalyptic England where civilization has retreated behind the fortified walls of a few cities. The wilderness is taking over and it's populated by monstrous predators and mysterious, almost human-like cannibals. This is why the cities fear and punish any genetic deviation. Scarlett is a young outlaw who survives by robbing banks and traveling the wasteland fearlessly. When she discovers the remains of a bus accident and naive Albert Browne, she feels compelled to help him, despite pursuers hard on their heels. The world feels intriguing and suspenseful because of the lack of information about its past. By the end of the book, we still don't really know what happened and caused the catastrophe that shaped it. Even less do we really get to know Scarlett's path and why she chooses the dangerous life of an outlaw. Both her and Albert have many layers as characters and it was very interesting to see them react to each other and evolve over time. However, I couldn't really form a personal connection to either of them. This isn't a huge problem for me, though, because the book provides constant tension and action. While we don't find out about the main conflict until halfway through, I was always very entertained. The ending is fitting and intense. Sadly, I didn't feel wow-ed even then, which has left me with a fairly good, but not outstanding opinion of the book. Still, I am curious about the sequel and will definitely read it as well. Despite my emotional disconnect to the characters, I liked and enjoyed the story well enough. I definitely recommend it to everyone, especially those who would like to try an interesting mixture of dystopia and the Wild West with vibes from Stranger Things.

  26. 5 out of 5

    R S

    I received a copy of this arc from NetGalley and Walker Books UK in return for an honest review. As a longstanding fan of Stroud, I went into this with high expectations and was not disappointed. The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne is set in a dystopian Britain after a 'cataclysm' which led to the fragmentation of the country into the old kingdoms, i.e. Mercia, Northumbria, Wessex, as well as Welsh and Cornish frontiers. The young outlaw and bank robber, Scarlett McCain, finds a wrecked bus and insid I received a copy of this arc from NetGalley and Walker Books UK in return for an honest review. As a longstanding fan of Stroud, I went into this with high expectations and was not disappointed. The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne is set in a dystopian Britain after a 'cataclysm' which led to the fragmentation of the country into the old kingdoms, i.e. Mercia, Northumbria, Wessex, as well as Welsh and Cornish frontiers. The young outlaw and bank robber, Scarlett McCain, finds a wrecked bus and inside it, the mysterious but seemingly hapless Albert Browne. The pair of them, pursued by enemies, travel through England's broken landscape in search of safety. I loved this book to the point where it is difficult to find fault with it. My only issues are maybe the book could have been fifty pages shorter and the characters lacked some of the depth of his previous work, but this is only the first book in the series. The story and setting felt very unique and new to me, as expected from Stroud, and I'm excited to see where the story goes next. This story presents new settings, interesting storylines, and good characters and character development. I'd definitely recommend this to fans of Jonathan Stroud, Rick Riordan, or Eoin Colfer, as well as those with an interest in YA dystopian novels.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    This new series is set in a future England that has suffered an unspecified cataclysm - London is now a dangerous lagoon with concrete islands the only remnants of buildings past, other areas are uninhabitable or home to deadly creatures- giant predatory versions of animals and the terrifying Tainted. Surviving towns, overseen by the Faith Houses, are walled off from the outside world for protection and outsiders are viewed with suspicion. Scarlett is an outlaw, a skilled bank robber, skilled at This new series is set in a future England that has suffered an unspecified cataclysm - London is now a dangerous lagoon with concrete islands the only remnants of buildings past, other areas are uninhabitable or home to deadly creatures- giant predatory versions of animals and the terrifying Tainted. Surviving towns, overseen by the Faith Houses, are walled off from the outside world for protection and outsiders are viewed with suspicion. Scarlett is an outlaw, a skilled bank robber, skilled at surviving on her own outside of the protection of these towns. In the wilds she meets Albert, a strange, optimistic boy who seems to have little idea about the real world. I really enjoyed this new book from Jonathan Stroud - he has a brilliant ability to create believable, twisted, alternative or, in this case, speculative future versions of our world. Action-packed and quickly paced it still leaves room for the characters to develop and relationships to form. It also manages the fine balancing act between creating a satisfying complete story whilst also leaving questions unanswered and mysteries to be revealed in later books - something I particularly liked about the Lockwood & Co series. And, as with the Lockwood & Co books, Stroud is able to create just the right sense of dread and peril for his audience. I can't wait to spend more time with these characters and see where the story takes them next. Thanks to NetGalley and Walker Books for providing a review copy.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Penelope

    I adored the Lockwood books and was super excited to see that Mr Stroud was embarking on a new series and the first book does not disappoint at all. From the very first page we are launched into an inventive and perilous world populated by strange and vicious creatures and even stranger and more vicious humans. The characters are a dream, both Scarlett and Albert leap off the pages fully formed and ready to fight (especial in Scarlett's case), and I can see them becoming every bit as beloved as I adored the Lockwood books and was super excited to see that Mr Stroud was embarking on a new series and the first book does not disappoint at all. From the very first page we are launched into an inventive and perilous world populated by strange and vicious creatures and even stranger and more vicious humans. The characters are a dream, both Scarlett and Albert leap off the pages fully formed and ready to fight (especial in Scarlett's case), and I can see them becoming every bit as beloved as the Lockwood crew. The interplay between the characters is wonderful, it's witty and clever, at times hilarious and at others heart-breakingly revealing. The world building is brilliant, there is obviously much we don't know, but what is revealed is intriguing and imbued with a genuine sense of menace and mystery. I'm quite sure that in the capable hands of this author all will be revealed and explained as the series progresses. All in all this is a brilliant start to a new series and Jonathan Stroud, in my humble opinion, is one of the best fantasy writers for YA (and fully grown adults) currently on the block.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nigel

    What I hope is the first in a rollicking and swashbuckling series of post-apocalyptic yet also somehow classically British adventures in a divided future Britain, as the outlaw Scarlett stumbles across the strange Albert Browne, and against her better judgement, but entertaining the vague possibility of selling him off later, helps him survive the wild countryiside infested with strange and deadly beasts, not to mention determined men in hot pursuit, to the nearest sproximation of civilisation. What I hope is the first in a rollicking and swashbuckling series of post-apocalyptic yet also somehow classically British adventures in a divided future Britain, as the outlaw Scarlett stumbles across the strange Albert Browne, and against her better judgement, but entertaining the vague possibility of selling him off later, helps him survive the wild countryiside infested with strange and deadly beasts, not to mention determined men in hot pursuit, to the nearest sproximation of civilisation. Albert, despite beung more or less completely useless in survival situations, or social ones, for that matter, has a strange talent, and though this is a society that throws anyone with any sort of deformity out into the wild, the sinister authority of the Faith House want him back. Flight and pursuit take place along the River Thames, beset on all sides by the normal, everyday horros of this world, and with the awful Doctor Calloway uncomfortably close behind. Loads of fun. Fast paced and exciting, with lovable characters, despicable villains and an intriguing world. Some of the dialogue seems oddly arch, ironic and formal, as though influenced by Jack Vance, and perhaps his Dying Earth series was part of the inspiration for this, or perhaps not. Loved it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Blue

    Want to see more... Bookstagram Website Thank you Walker Books for this book in exchange for an honest review I didn’t read the blurb for this book, but the cover was something that hooked me in right away. I mean outlaws is an instant hell yeah for me! The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne is based in a dystopian version of Britain where we meet Scarlett, a bank robber and young outlaw. Scarlett stumbles across Browne and the two set out a journey while running from their enemies. This duo is powerful, Want to see more... Bookstagram Website Thank you Walker Books for this book in exchange for an honest review I didn’t read the blurb for this book, but the cover was something that hooked me in right away. I mean outlaws is an instant hell yeah for me! The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne is based in a dystopian version of Britain where we meet Scarlett, a bank robber and young outlaw. Scarlett stumbles across Browne and the two set out a journey while running from their enemies. This duo is powerful, exciting and wonderful. While I loved seeing them develop their friendship, I found that the book dragged on for two long. While it was edgy, it was muted by a great deal of conversation. But with that in mind apparently this is the first book in the series so the overall plot and world building could be developed as the series go.

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