ScarletBy A.C. Gaughen

Publisher: Walker Childrens
Publication Date: February 14, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Historical/Fantasy
Source: Netgalley

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.

Goodreads Summary

Happy Monday y’all! It’s gray and dreary down here in Memphis, and winter finally decided to show up over the weekend so we’re all bundled up against the cold. Perfect day for writing reviews and reading all day! Now if only my munchkin would get that memo… 😉

Barbara and I got into a little tug-of-war over this book when it popped up over at Netgalley, and, well.. I won. And I don’t feel bad about it either (sorry Barbara!). I first saw Scarlet on someone’s WoW post, and I was immediately taken with the different point-of-view on the classic tale of Robin Hood. Not only was it not told from our beloved thief’s perspective, it was really a tale about his right hand man, Will Scarlet. Or in this case, his right hand woman. A.C. Gaughen has posed that Will Scarlet was indeed a young woman, and the heart and soul of Robin Hood’s merry band of men.

I won’t go into too much detail of the synopsis, since the one provided above does a pretty good job of explaining the story. This author’s version of the events is similar to the classic tale, and I’m going to assume that you all know the basics. The evil Sheriff of Nottingham takes over Rob’s lands while he’s away fighting the Holy Wars, and Rob returns to find his people are being overtaxed and struggling to feed their families. Rob recruits Scarlet to teach him and a select few others the fine art of thievery so they can steal from the rich, and give to the poor. Everyone with me?

Well, in the words of Ashley over at Bookish Brunette: “This book rocked my face off!”

The author has of course changed a few details, and one of them are the ages of the characters. Most often in Robin Hood retellings, whether it’s a book or a movie, Robin Hood is cast as an older man. In this author’s unique twist, Robin Hood is the oldest of the bunch, and he’s only in his early twenties. I think the younger cast in Scarlet will appeal to young adults, but the characters aren’t so young that adults won’t relate either. Clearly, since I loved the book and I was a teenager ages ago. I loved that the author made them a bit younger and gave the characters and the series room to grow.

As for the characters themselves.. completely brilliant. I thought Scarlet was one of the best heroines I’ve read in awhile. Her past is shrouded in mystery, and I loved watching every secret fall away and how I finally understood how she came to be who she is. Scarlet is an insanely good thief, and is fiercely loyal to the cause as well as Rob and the other guys in her crew. As for Rob.. be still my heart. You’ve got to admire a man who is willing to work on the other side of the law to help and serve the people he considers under his care. He may not have the manor anymore, but he is lord of the land in all the ways that matter and everyone knows it.

My Summary: Scarlet was such a beautiful story. I loved the details and imagery that A.C. Gaughen created with mere words, and the ease with which I was able to picture the story in my mind. I loved the authentic language and how it lent the perfect finishing touch to the characters and story. Out of all the retellings and movies created about Robin Hood, Scarlet is by far my favorite. Move over Kevin Costner, you’ve been replaced!

My Rating: A+



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