Author: A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #1
Published: February 14th, 2012 by Walker Childrens
Genres: Fantasy, fairy tale retelling
Rating: 5/5 stars
Synopsis: Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in. It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.
The Bookdepository link provided above is an affiliate link.
I included this book in my Reader’s Choice poll for the month and although it didn’t win, I just had an urge to read a Robin Hood retelling. So I decided to pick it up. The winner is Heir of Fire by the way which I will really try to read this month as well! I had tried to read this one before but the writing style is quite different and I didn’t really give it a chance back then. I thought “Oh no, can I deal with this?” and maybe just wasn’t in the mood. But I have heard so many great things about this book so I figured I’d try again. AND I LOVED IT.
First of all, what I said about the writing style. This story is told through Scarlet’s POV and she uses words like “ain’t” or “were” instead of are, etc. It doesn’t seem like a big deal -and maybe for most of you it isn’t- but it took me a good few chapters to get used to it. Not that it bothered me, I guess it just slowed down my reading pace a bit.
Okay, I’m going to start with the plot. This novel is a whole lot of awesome! I don’t really want to say too much because it’s just a journey you’ll have to go on yourself -if you haven’t already done so. Basically, as in the actual Robin Hood tale, Rob and his band are trying to help the villagers survive while trying to install Robin as the rightful sheriff again. I’m pretty sure everyone knows the tale. And so the sheriff calls on Gisbourne, the famous Thief Taker, to catch Rob and his band, including Scarlet.
I really enjoyed the pacing of this novel. It was fast but still allowed me to get to know the main characters well! And the story was just so captivating, I kept reading until it was like midnight because I just couldn’t put it down. I needed to know what would happen.
While this novel includes a lot from the actual tale, the author obviously put her own spin on it. To be honest, I was a bit afraid of this before I started reading, because I do love Robin Hood stories. But I felt as if this version was even more focused on the actual character.
As I have mentioned before, the characters are really where the author put her own twists on the story because obviously, in the original story Robin’s band does not include a woman. The story actually includes the so-called Merry Men but the biggest difference is Will. In the original story, we have Will Scarlet. Now, “Will” is our actual main character here. To make sure the outside world never realizes Scarlet is a girl, they all call her Will. I loved this twist on the story!
Scarlet’s character is very complex. It takes you a long time to really get to know her -aside from her obvious traits. But I enjoyed that part, it makes her feel more real. And I really felt for her! She is definitely a strong character, seeing as she is still standing after everything she has been through. She has grown stronger, smarter and has learned to fend for herself. She definitely made choices that baffled me sometimes -as every character does, because obviously we are different- but it didn’t really bother me.
I really enjoyed reading about the other characters as well. I wish there was a little more Rob in the story -I do adore him- but I have a soft sport for Much. I just love him. And Gisbourne. That man just puts the terror in me. He seems like a terrible, terrible person!
I highly enjoyed the characters -and their development- in the novel! I think that’s probably its selling point. If you want to read a Robin Hood retelling with amazing characters, this would be the one to choose.
I found an amazing quote in the author’s note of this novel which I really enjoyed:
To me, true love is about finding someone who not only sees and accepts your demons but also is willing to step up and fight them when you stumble.
I would definitely recommend this book! Whether you love YA or retellings or Robin Hood specifically. I think most people would really enjoy this novel. The characters are intriguing and strong, the plot is incredible and the novel will just captivate you until the end.