Thursday, February 21, 2013

[Review: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen]

Author: A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #1
Pages: 292
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Retellings
Date Published: February 14th, 2012
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Format Read: Purchased Hardback


 Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.

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.

My Thoughts:

"Scarlet" was a book that is a hard cookie to crack for me.  Things started out a little rough for us in the beginning as I was having a hard time connecting with the writing style of the novel, but once I got into it and figured out the rhythm of the prose we started getting along quite well.  You see, A.C. Gaughen gives Scarlet/Will and the rest of the well known characters a form of broken medieval English, and once we became pals the book was pulling ahead and taking me on a rather epic ride.  And I love a good retelling of a favorite story and I've loved "Robin Hood" since I can remember.

In all honesty I had heard that the twist of the book (yes the one that isn't so clearly stated on the summary) was going to blow my mind!  I couldn't wait to uncover what mysteries the cast of players were hiding and so I was slightly disappointed when half way through the book I guessed the ending, or pretty close to what the ending was.  But I'll admit that I did it to myself.  So you might be left guessing when I wasn't.

The fact is that I really really enjoyed the character of Scarlet.  Her background (which is slowly uncovered), her personality and her knife throwing skills were only a small part of what made her so fascinating.  She was the girl surrounded by men, clinging to the little bits of femininity that she still had while still being able to handle herself in almost any situation.  She was never the damsel in distress, though sometimes her stubbornness would get the best of her and leave her in the position of needing rescue. 

The other main leads that we know include Robin himself and Little John.  There are a slew of other characters that you come to know and love even if they were never in the original tale.  And a villain that will make your blood boil.  But what fascinated me most was Gaughen's take on the legendary Robin!  He was much younger than we normally see him and his bravery was just what I would have thought it would be.  

There is also the semblance of a love triangle tucked between the pages.  I know another love triangle right?  But this one has a feel to it that makes it truly believable, which means it doesn't get in the way of the story.  I actually enjoyed getting to watch it infold and grow into what becomes of it.  I won't tell you what happens though.

Over all, I was enchanted by the forest and the thieves that hid beneath the trees leaves.  Their lives became more tangible and easier to understand under the direction of Gaughen.  Who twisted these characters and people into something new and exciting without straying too far from what we have been told about them to begin with.  If you enjoy retellings that are about love, adventure, hard choices, thieves and archery then "Scarlet" is right for you! 



Mel@Thedailyprophecy said...

I loved this one! I didn't see the twist coming, but I also wasn't busy to reveal it. I was just sucked into this story and mesmerized by the great characters :D I'm happy that you ended up liking it after the difficult start! Great review.


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