Gwen & Kate's Library

Two sisters' reviews of Young Adult and Middle Grade books, inspired by their lovely library.

Gwen’s Review of Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen

I definitely enjoyed Scarlet, but I didn’t love it. If you are a fan of the story of Robin Hood, this book might appeal to you more. The plot is well-moving with frequent skirmishes (some of them quite violent and descriptive), much romantic tension (but not too much actual romance), and a bit of the good-old stealing from the rich to deal out to the poor.

ScarletUS.indd

Series: Scarlet Trilogy, Book 1

Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Robin Hood Retelling, Thieves

Rating: 4

Description:

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.

Review:

I definitely enjoyed Scarlet, but I didn’t love it. If you are a fan of the story of Robin Hood, this book might appeal to you more. The plot is well-moving with frequent skirmishes (some of them quite violent and descriptive), much romantic tension (but not too much actual romance), and a bit of the good-old stealing from the rich to deal out to the poor.

Something that was at first annoying but soon made me feel more enveloped in the era (which is the 11th century under King Richard I)  was the usage of “were” instead of “was” in the normal narration (it is in first person from Scarlet’s perspective). This did however help form an accent in your head, along with the commonly used terms like “mug” for face.

This version of Robin Hood stars an unusual love triangle between (Will) Scarlet, John Little, and Robin himself. John pushes himself (not entirely unpleasantly) on Scarlet, who has a secret crush on Rob, while Rob acts jealous of John’s relationship with Scarlet while calling her names and shouting at her. I had a hard time both understanding and liking Scarlet’s decisions in this position, because she constantly went back and forth between John and Rob (kind of reminds me of America in The Selection series), angering both of them without choosing a side. I also began rooting for John in this annoying triangle, although Rob was the one Scarlet liked better. However, in this version of him, he has few admirable qualities and is always seen scowling or insulting something or other. Just because he is the protagonist in the original story doesn’t mean he needs to be the love interest!

Scarlet is a very unique and complex character, but can be very indecisive and weak at times, but these flaws of hers do make her feel very real and alive. Although she often enjoys playing the hero, towards the middle of the book she stopped protesting when the boys hurried to protect her from harm. She portrays herself as a master thief and knife fighter, but there is more to her past than meets the eye (although the ending is a little predictable since I guessed it around the 50th page).

The author’s note at the end of the book is very informative and helps explain the unusual idea of Will Scarlet as a girl disguised as a young boy. Something A. C. Gaughen says that I really enjoy (being a history nerd and all) is this quote:

 “I like to think of history as a very long game of Telephone; it’s never going to come out at the end exactly (or even close) to the way it started.”

This book does leave off on a bit of a cliffhanger, but at his point I am not sure yet if I will read the second book, Lady Thief. If you did enjoy this book, I would recommend The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats and Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, since they are written in a similar style (but without the street-rat grammar) and are also both historical fiction.

Advertisements

One comment on “Gwen’s Review of Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen

  1. Pingback: Book Review: “Scarlet” | The Cheap Reader

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on May 30, 2014 by in Author: Gwen, Review, Young Adult and tagged , .
%d bloggers like this: