Feb 11, 2014

Review: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Title: Scarlet
Author: A.C. Gaughen
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Publishing Date: February 14, 2012
Pages/Format: 292, Hardcover

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.

Initial Reaction of Book in One Word: Weeeee!

It's always great when you finish a book that so many people said was good and you can agree with that statement. I'd been eyeing for Scarlet for over a year, and with the release of its sequel Lady Thief fast approaching, I finally read it. And thank gosh this book wasn't boring or fully of any dislike: it was great. And the sooner I finish this review, the sooner I can start the next book, so...

Another good thing about Scarlet: I can't think of anything complaints. Did I head-over-heels love it? No, I don't think so. But I started this yesterday morning and finished it today, and I was into it in the first chapter alone, and all I really wanted to do was read this book. (If I wouldn't have fallen asleep last night with like fifty pages or whatever left, I would've finished it within a twenty-four hour time period, and that rarely happens, so there's that.) Also, historical fiction isn't a favorite thing of mine, but this is one of those books that makes me want to read more of a genre I don't usually show interest in. (I don't know that it's straight up historical fiction, but it's definitely set in a time that's once upon a timeish.)

In short, here's what Scarlet's about: The story surrounds Robin Hood and his band of thieves: John Little, Much, and Will Scarlet. It's told from the POV of Will Scarlet, who's actually a girl, but only the band knows that. As is true to Robin Hood's tale, the band steal from the rich and give to the poor. But when a thief taker comes to town and tax day is fast approaching, chaos begin to unravel. (And, of course, some romance.)

Part of what made this book work well was the characters. Scarlet's willing to do anything to help people, but she also has a past she's trying to hide from. And her dialect was interesting--I'm not sure if she ever used "was," since she typically used "were" instead (in conversation and thought). I initially thought it would annoy me, but I didn't, and it helped display Scarlet's voice. Of all the boys in the band, my favorite was, of course, Robin Hood. He was swoony as a cartoon fox, so of course he's swoony as an actual human. The buildup and obvious attraction between him and Scarlet was just UGH, and I loved it. I liked the kind of nerdiness with Much--he's the underdog of the band, but his presence was still extremely important. John Little was fun, but him and Scarlet are NO NO NO. The villainry with the sheriff and Gisbourne was villainous, and I liked how their threats were constantly present.

Yet another thing I liked about this book was the story/plot. It went so smoothly, and I was never bored. There was always something going on, whether it was the dynamics of the band or action as they acted out their thievery. Something was constantly happening, but not in a bad way. This story kept itself busy, and in doing so, keeps the reader constantly intrigued and wanting to turn page after page.

In the end, YAY FOR BOOKS THAT AREN'T DISAPPOINTMENTS BECAUSE OF HYPE. Scarlet had it all: action, thrills, mystery, romance, friendship, humor, drama, and it all mixed together to create a fantastic story. If you haven't read this yet, I'd suggest you do. Because good books are good (especially when they're out of the zone you usually read in and are surrounded by rightful hype and good comments). Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to read Scarlet's sequel Lady Thief.

Did I like it? Yes!
Did I love it? Just about, I think!
Would I reread it? I wouldn't say no.
Would I purchase it? Yesss.
Who would I recommend it to? If you're a fan of retellings, Robin Hood, time periods of the past, and good books, then this is for you.

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