Revolution is a bloodthirsty business . . . especially when vampires are involved.
It is 1793 and the French Revolution is in full swing. Vampires—usually rich and aristocratic—have slaked the become a modiste. But when the Baroness hosts a mysterious noble and his wife, they tell Eleanor she is the spitting image of a French aristocrat, and they convince her to journey to France to aid them in a daring scheme. Soon, Eleanor finds herself in Paris, swept up in magic and intrigue—and chaos—beyond her wildest guillotine’s thirst in large numbers. The mysterious Scarlet Pimpernel, a disguised British noble, and his League are heroically rescuing dozens of aristocrats from execution, both human and vampire. And soon they will have an ace up their sleeve: Eleanor Dalton.
Eleanor is working as a housemaid on the estate of a vampire Baroness. Her highest aspiration is to one day become a modiste. But when the Baroness hosts a mysterious noble and his wife, they tell Eleanor she is the spitting image of a French aristocrat, and they convince her to journey to France to aid them in a daring scheme. Soon, Eleanor finds herself in Paris, swept up in magic and intrigue—and chaos—beyond her wildest dreams. 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 a wildly engaging new series from Genevieve Cogman, which reinvents the beloved tale of the Scarlet Pimpernel.
Scarlet by Genevieve Cogman taps into the sense of adventure I always felt watching the film The Scarlet Pimpernel but what she excels at is raising new questions and spinning the tale to give readers an engaging new heroine that is brave and unexpected. The novel is full of adventure and thought provoking.
One of the biggest elements that I like is that Genevieve Cogman takes our expected ideas of the French Revolution and turns those ideas on their head, making us question why we are rooting for the aristocrats and the rich. Even without magic and vampires to liven up the drama, the idea of a common person wanting to help one who is rich escape does get questioned more than once. Eleanor is intelligent and more importantly, willing to question those who send her into danger. Her motivations and caring provide some of the reasons she helps but there are also moments where nothing is black and white on either side and it is some of the best writing for that aspect that I have seen. And even though the Scarlet Pimpernel is the nominal hero, Eleanor is the true heroine in this novel, as she questions the price of freedom but also the price of helping those in power.
The novel is full to the brim with action, intrigue, drama, and magic. The vampires vary, no two alike but that adds to the intrigue. The magic is intriguing and lends itself to continued stories in this world. The historical elements are realistic while the alternate history ideas flow well with the actual events as they happened. I love the idea of sorcerers and that the vampires are not necessarily good or evil, but something with their own desires and needs in mind, not humanity. The book was interesting and I really loved Eleanore’s personality, brave but intelligent, daring and willing to help others. She was a treasure that I’d love to read again.
If you like alternate history with vampires and magic, the adventure of The Scarlet Pimpernel and the French Revolution, this novel is for you. The magic and adventure will keep you on your toes while you fall in love with Eleanore’s bravery and wit along with loving the secondary characters who help her, especially Charles. There is nothing not to love about this fabulous and thoughtful book. It is full of adventure and very thought provoking.
RatingL 5 out of 5 disguises