The Scarlett Legacy by K.N. Lee #Review

Posted June 17, 2016 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 16 Comments

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Scarlett Legacy by K.N. Lee #Review
The Scarlett Legacy

One StarOne StarOne Star

Series: Woodland Creek Series
Genres: New Adult Romance, Paranormal Romance
Published by Small Publisher
Released on November 15, 2015
Pages: 344
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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Cover got me!

Never heard of the series, the author, or this book, but a split-second during a book browse and…had to have it.  Head full of gothic, dark, spine-tingling paranormal tale, I took a deep breath and plunged in and…oh my beautiful eyes, a spider shifter and-and a gryphon shifter. So yes, it was off to a good start and ultimately became a moderately engaging story.

This one is part of the Woodland Creek series tied together by the theme of the Woodland Creek setting and the inclusion of shifter characters in each book.  There are different authors for each of the books and it seems that each story is written as a standalone and can be read in any order?  Not sure on that, but that’s my best guess since this is the only book from the series I’ve read.

Olivia, wife to new mafia don and wizard, Wes Scarlett, is sent in by her husband to assassinate rival mafia boss and murderer of Wes’ late father, Hugh Prince.  Olivia is good at what she does since she is a spider shifter and can get into the tightest places and go undetected.  She is loyal to her husband and the Scarlett family, but really she wants to walk away from death dealing and start a family with Wes whom she loves deeply.  Her past life is the secret she keeps from her husband hoping he will never find out.

Evie, the sheltered, innocent sister of Wes, attends college and dreams of the day she can be with her human childhood sweetheart, Patrick Drake.  Patrick is a ray of sunshine compared to the dark word full of secrets and duty to family she inhabits.  She knows about the feud between the two mafia families and is loyal, but has been deliberately sheltered from it all.  Her dark dreams foretell violence to come from a mysterious stranger with green eyes.  But then Evie learns a powerful secret about herself from her mother who has kept secrets up until now.  One encounter with a charismatic, gorgeous stranger, Avalon Prince, makes her realize that she is now being drawn into the storm of revenge that has come with the retaliatory death of Hugh Prince.

Wes Scarlett only ever wanted to work in his lab and enjoy his family, but then Hugh Prince started a blood feud that ultimately killed Wes’ father.  He is not cut out to be the head of his mafia family and so seeks to end the rivalry once and for all.  Wes makes a fatal decision.  His decision doesn’t set easy with him and the guilt is strong, but then he feels real fear when the last remaining Prince family member returns to Woodland Creek with an evil smile and a sinister ultimatum regarding Evie.

Alright, so this one jumped right in and started off strong.  The author had brought together some unique and powerful elements- mafia family wizards, spider shifter assassin, gryphons, a dark tortured man set on revenge, a young innocent girl planning to marry her childhood sweetheart, ominous mansion settings, secrets, betrayals, and small college town in the fall.  I should have been completely satisfied.

But I wasn’t.

Not that I hated it or even disliked it.  Well actually, I was a little irritated because there was so much potential.  This was a story that just ‘missed it by that much’ to quote Maxwell Smart.

I’m leaning toward the opinion that it bit off more than it could chew for the page count.

What caught my attention most was that there were echoes of Bronte’s Wuthering Heights with Avalon so much like Heathcliffe and the old Beauty and the Beast fairytale in those scenes where Evie sacrificed her happiness with Patrick to go live with Avalon to save her family’s lives and end the deadly conflict.

Avalon as a character and his plot thread eclipsed almost everything else in the story.  Wes and Olivia’s story thread and even the conflict between Wes and Avalon was strong enough to balance against Avalon’s charisma.  And this was an Avalon that wasn’t even completely teased out and at full potential.  Things were introduced about him that were left unexplained and that alteration in his character at the end left me so disappointed.  He was shades of gray and then suddenly he was full blown black with black on top.

Evie had the growth journey of young, naive and pampered princess having her eyes opened to the darkness in the world and tough choices.  Her romance with Patrick was sweet and easy- not a lot of depth especially since he is ignorant of the paranormal world hidden in plain sight around him.  I liked them together and they are a cute couple, but Avalon’s presence rushes over this lightly developed romance with his grief, loneliness, deep longing for someone to love and being willing to ruthlessly go after it not understanding until he has her in a cage that he can never make his caged bird want to stay if the door of the cage were to be opened.

Wes and Olivia’s story line really needed its own book.  They are intriguing characters with backgrounds that scream to be developed into something more.  This pair and their relationship was my favorite part of the book outside of Avalon’s handsome, dark, and broody pull.

In the end, I was happy to have read this mildly dark gothic tale of revenge, romance, and doomed love that hit pretty close to the mark.  I think it is definitely worthy of a sweet paranormal romance lover’s interest.

I picked the book up at Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #193 NA
Mt. TBR #82
New to Me #79 author/series
Blogger Shame #24

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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5 years ago

Uh oh…Anna and I were at dinner one night and the talk turned to paranormal shifting. I can only handle wolf, vampire and tiger shifting, but she’s a lot more open. I couldn’t stop laughing when she told me about a book that had a bunny shifter. (lol) Not being a fan of spiders in general, I would seriously have nightmares at night after reading about one that shifted into something else. The irony is that this sounds really good other than that, and I love your review. Hugs…RO

Sophia Rose
5 years ago
Reply to  RO

Haha! This would give you the willies for sure, Ro. I think I know which bunny shifter story she was talking about. That was a hoot!
Yes, this one had a bit of everything even creepy gothic mansions.

Mary Kirkland
5 years ago

A spider shifter. I was just talking on fb about saving a spider I found in the house and so many get the willies when talking about spiders.

Sophia Rose
5 years ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

Hey, you might have saved Olivia! Haha! If I see the spider at a distance first then I’m alright, but I get jumpy if I come across one suddenly. I grew up with black widows and brown recluses getting inside the house and around the other local places so I’m cautious, but not freaked. 🙂

Lover Of Romance
5 years ago

oh wow this story sounds pretty disappointing especially when it started out so good!! That is the WORST!!

Sophia Rose
5 years ago

Yeah, it set up for something wonderful and seemed to run out of pages so the author rushed things and even altered a whole character to get there. I saw so much more in this story and that’s why I was disappointed.

5 years ago

I have this series on my to-read list as it sounds like a fun one and some of the shifter types are very original, which is always a good thing in my opinion. I don’t think there is a order, they are just tied together from the setting and the fact they all have shifters I think, from what I’ve seen so far. A spider and a gryphon shifter sure sounds original, never read about those before. It’s too bad this one had so much potential and then fell a bit flat. It does sound like they author tried to… Read more »

Sophia Rose
5 years ago
Reply to  Lola

Good to know. That’s what I guessed about the series being a group of standalones from the same universe. I do like the uniqueness of the shifters.
But yes, I could see where it switched from complex to rushed to get everything in for the page count and it disappointed me.

5 years ago

I read one of the books from this series a few months back and really enjoyed it. The shifters in that one were deer which I thought was unusual. Sorry this one wasn’t as good as it had potential to be!

Sophia Rose
5 years ago
Reply to  Lorna

Oh, that is unique with a deer shifter. I got one of the earlier books with a gargoyle so I look forward to it.
Yes, this one ended up alright, but it did have the potential to be so much better. Probably needed to be a novel to keep fleshing out this story better.

5 years ago

Not sure if this one’s for me or not. I’d have to take a pick at the first book. Great review!

Sophia Rose
5 years ago
Reply to  Lekeisha

These are a little of this and that, for sure. 🙂

Melanie Simmons
5 years ago

I can see how the cover got you. It is an amazing cover. The story sounds interesting. I love the idea of spider shifter. That is one I haven’t heard of before. Great review.

Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

Sophia Rose
5 years ago

I hadn’t heard of these either and then I was able to pick up one of the earlier stories with a gargoyle so I have another fun ‘shifter’ romance from this world to try.
Normally, covers are neither here nor there with me, but this one grabbed me. 🙂

Anna@herding cats&burning soup

Oh that is frustrating when you can see more potential and it just doesn’t quite get there. It does sound unique. I’m totally freaked over the spider shifter bit. lol

Sophia Rose
5 years ago

Yeah, it was a good story, but could have been so much more.

Haha, there is a scene late in the book where things got interesting for our poor spider shifter.