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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. 5 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. 5 out of 5

    A.Rae

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

  3. 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!

  4. 5 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.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ophelia

    That was so much fun! I just always enjoy Jonathan’s stories! There’s something about the humor that always clicks with me.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lauren James

    [Gifted] In a future world where London is submerged in a lagoon and animals have mutated into monsters, two incredibly fun spitfire teenagers are on the run from the law. This was so enjoyable, and Stroud has created a really unique and memorable future setting, that isn't drowning in negativity and darkness, despite some of the terrible things that have happened. Stroud's writing jumps off the page, and I devoured this. [Gifted] In a future world where London is submerged in a lagoon and animals have mutated into monsters, two incredibly fun spitfire teenagers are on the run from the law. This was so enjoyable, and Stroud has created a really unique and memorable future setting, that isn't drowning in negativity and darkness, despite some of the terrible things that have happened. Stroud's writing jumps off the page, and I devoured this.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Elizabeth

    I plan to start this as soon as it gets to me from England in the next week or two! I couldn't wait on the American release this Autumn. I plan to start this as soon as it gets to me from England in the next week or two! I couldn't wait on the American release this Autumn.

  8. 5 out of 5

    penmumble penmumble

    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

    Victoria

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

  10. 4 out of 5

    Johanna Burton

    Thank you to Netgalley and Walker books for providing me with an ARC of this book! Scarlett Browne is an outlaw. She is used to fending for herself and also used to being alone but then she meets a boy, Albert Browne. Against her better judgement Scarlett agrees to journey with Albert. Before long, they have new and dangerous enemies on their tail and Scarlett realizes that there may be more to Albert than it first seemed. This is one of those books that ended leaving me satisfied. It was funny, Thank you to Netgalley and Walker books for providing me with an ARC of this book! Scarlett Browne is an outlaw. She is used to fending for herself and also used to being alone but then she meets a boy, Albert Browne. Against her better judgement Scarlett agrees to journey with Albert. Before long, they have new and dangerous enemies on their tail and Scarlett realizes that there may be more to Albert than it first seemed. This is one of those books that ended leaving me satisfied. It was funny, full of action and surprisingly uplifting! I love books with solid friendships and Scarlett's and Albert's was a perfect fit right from the start. I loved how the two of them interacted with each other. The way Albert talked was so funny and it balanced really well with Scarlett's more snarky dialogue. I wasn't expecting Albert to have powers (even though after I'd finished the book I checked and on the back cover it does mention it) but I think it was a good addition to the story. I always like books that have a mind reading element because it really gets me thinking about what people would be seeing in my head if they were to have that kind of power. One thing that I didn't like was how we never learn anything about Scarlett's past. We do hear a lot about Albert and, though the book doesn't tell us everything, I was able to get a pretty good idea. However, with Scarlett, we get nothing and to me it made her character shallower than I would have liked. That said, I think the author is planning on writing more books in this series so I am hoping we learn more about her in the future! Overall, this was a fun book that left me really glad I read it. Happy Reading :) You can buy your copy of this book here⤵️ https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/pro...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Star

    DNF @ page 104. Unfortunately, this one was not for me.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elly Tarnas

    Scarlett is an complicated, morally gray outlaw in a broken world set loosely on Britain. She lives on her wits and steals for survival. Whilst running from the milita after a successful bank job she finds a recently crashed coach. There is a soul survivor on the coach, the naive and wide eyed Albert Browne. But just who or what is Albert. A very light hearted easy read opulent in humorous dialogue. An enjoyable quick read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Musings and Perusings

    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.

  14. 4 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)

  15. 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.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Émi

    I was lucky enough to find a random signed paperback in my local bookstore, so I decided to read it asap as I was still in the height of my Lockwood hangover. To sum it up, it was good, but probably not my ideal setting or book. Having loved Lockwood & Co, I have a lot of faith in Stroud and anything he might publish in the future or has already published. So I didn't mind the dystopian setting on this book - paranormal wasn't my cup of tea before Lockwood either. However, in many ways the settin I was lucky enough to find a random signed paperback in my local bookstore, so I decided to read it asap as I was still in the height of my Lockwood hangover. To sum it up, it was good, but probably not my ideal setting or book. Having loved Lockwood & Co, I have a lot of faith in Stroud and anything he might publish in the future or has already published. So I didn't mind the dystopian setting on this book - paranormal wasn't my cup of tea before Lockwood either. However, in many ways the setting combined with a few other things, found me wanting more. Dystopia had it's place in time for me, and sadly most of them don't do it for me anyway. I still love Stroud's worlds though - I love how they are very much out there. No hidden worlds or secret portals to different dimensions. Often the whole world is impacted, making it feel more fantastical than Percy Jackson (for me anyway). I felt like the writing style was a bit more mature in this book, it wasn't as easy to read as the Lockwood books were. There is more description, which made it feel more grown-up to read. Does it technically still count as middle grade, or is it crossing into YA territory now? Don't be fooled, by YA I don't mean to imply angsty romance or anything. Personally, I missed how easy Lockwood was to read. Each book was fast-paced, fun and funny... This didn't hit the mark quite like that. My personal experience with the story might be a reflection of me having no deep understanding of Westerns. To me, the book felt more dystopian than anything. At times, I didn't really see where the story was going and why, it was just kind of okay? Maybe things will pick up in the second book, but I'm still conflicted on whether I'll read it or not. I really liked Scarlett, she reminded me of myself in a lot of ways. Her short fuse was something I could relate to. Albert's character was very believable too, and I could picture him as a real person. To sum it up, this book was a bit of a letdown. I knew it wouldn't fill up the Lockwood & Co shaped hole in my heart, so I don't think I set my expectations too high for it. Maybe just a tiny bit.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    The moment I got this book in my Book Box Club I already knew reading this book would become a struggle. Literally all the elements in this story are not my thing. However, the main reason I will absolutely miss Book Box Club is that they forced me once in a while to get out of my comfort zone, to read books I normally wouldn't care about. And sometimes those books surprised and turned out to be amazing. Maybe this book would be such a book, right? However, in the end it turns out that nothing in The moment I got this book in my Book Box Club I already knew reading this book would become a struggle. Literally all the elements in this story are not my thing. However, the main reason I will absolutely miss Book Box Club is that they forced me once in a while to get out of my comfort zone, to read books I normally wouldn't care about. And sometimes those books surprised and turned out to be amazing. Maybe this book would be such a book, right? However, in the end it turns out that nothing in this book really worked for me. The only storyline I cared about a little was Albert's, but it feels like the true point of that storyline is never made. We never see enough of it to make it more than a little promising. We meet some of its key characters and we get a few flashbacks, but it still all feels so vague. I assume that maybe in the next books it will come back to haunt him, but I won't be there to read it. Mostly it felt like the author came up with an awesome world (which didn't really work for me either, because I feel we never really saw enough of it to understand it) and just wanted to show us. He therefore invented a few characters and let them go from place to place so he could show us this awesome world. The point of the journey I couldn't discover. When I closed the book it didn't feel like the story had some epic conclusion. And sometimes characters can make up for all that, but in this case that didn't happen either. I liked Albert's story, but as a character he was just like Scarlett simply not interesting enough. Both of them didn't really grow or change much. Both of them are quite guarded when it comes to their emotions and feelings, which means I didn't feel a thing while reading this book. It's quite hard to care about characters who never really come alive. I'm sure there are people out there who will enjoy this book (I will certainly meet them in the author chat this Thursday), but not one element in this book was for me.

  18. 5 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.

  19. 4 out of 5

    thewoollygeek (tea, cake, crochet & books)

    A nicely written story in decent characters, this story was funny and scary and full of action. I'll definitely continue to read the rest of the series as it comes out as so many unanswered questions remain! Addictive reading Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion A nicely written story in decent characters, this story was funny and scary and full of action. I'll definitely continue to read the rest of the series as it comes out as so many unanswered questions remain! Addictive reading Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion

  20. 5 out of 5

    Barry Quinn

    "In short, Doc, I've been around." The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne took me a while to get into, but this weird hybrid of ideas that reminded me of Game of Thrones, Stephen King's The Institute and A Series of Unfortunate Events hooked me about 100 pages in. Jonathan Stroud has a knack for writing compelling characters! Can't wait for the next in the series. "In short, Doc, I've been around." The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne took me a while to get into, but this weird hybrid of ideas that reminded me of Game of Thrones, Stephen King's The Institute and A Series of Unfortunate Events hooked me about 100 pages in. Jonathan Stroud has a knack for writing compelling characters! Can't wait for the next in the series.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marjolein

    I guess the book and the story are decent enough, but I never managed to get invested in it. The characters never really spoke to me and the entire story felt like a way to show off a cool invented world, without the story ever really kicking off.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bea

    Brilliant. One of the best books I have ever read.

  23. 4 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!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    Excellent

  25. 4 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!

  26. 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.

  27. 4 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+

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    Scarlett is a complicated character, a contradiction of personality traits. On the one hand she has no problem shooting anyone who stands in her way, beaming a person in the back of the head, or stealing your last dollar. While at the same time Scarlett also has a gentler, introspective side, where she drops a coin into her cuss box for the occasional curse words that escapes her lips, and the moments of quiet reflection she demands to pray on her mat and contemplate life. She's snarky, loyal, s Scarlett is a complicated character, a contradiction of personality traits. On the one hand she has no problem shooting anyone who stands in her way, beaming a person in the back of the head, or stealing your last dollar. While at the same time Scarlett also has a gentler, introspective side, where she drops a coin into her cuss box for the occasional curse words that escapes her lips, and the moments of quiet reflection she demands to pray on her mat and contemplate life. She's snarky, loyal, somewhat of a loner, fast with a gun and adept at evading capture. Complicated. So when she first meets Albert, you'd think she'll just rob him, and take off. But Albert appears docile, naïve and she can't help but feel sorry for the kid who's been stuck in the toilet. He's intriguing to her and she knows there's more to him than meets the eye. He's like a deer stuck in the headlights, not sure where to move or if he should move at all. Together they appear to be an unlikely duo. But Albert has such a pleasant demeanor, he's optimistic and excited about all the new things he see's. Sure he's skinny, clumsy, defenseless, and likely to get himself into trouble pretty quick. He's defiantly not the kind of travel companion that Scarlett had ever envisioned or ever really wanted. Yet, Scarlett seems to respect Albert's desire for freedom, and she did promise to help him. Both Scarlett and Albert are instantly likeable characters, they'll make you laugh, fret and most of all have you eager for more stories about their adventures. And what a story this was. I loved watching their friendship broaden and develop into a strong bond. The way that they depended on each other, and the balance that existed between Scarlett's quick wit and gun skills with Albert's special ability. The post-apocalyptic England was also interesting, albeit slightly creepy with its Tainted, kind of reminiscent of something from The Walking Dead. And who could forget Doctor Calloway? The maniacal doctor intent on hunting down Albert. Ah, but I'm still left with so many questions about how all this came to be and certainly would love to know more about Scarlett's past. What led her to become an outlaw? She appears to be religious and what is her connection to the Faith House? Yeah, can't wait to learn more in the next book. For now, Lockwood & Company will still be my favorite Jonathan Stroud series, but Scarlett is defiantly right up there with the Skull and Bartimaeus in terms of my favorite Stroud characters.

  29. 5 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?)

  30. 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.

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