Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A.C. Gaughen (2012)
YA Fiction | Historical
“Will Scarlet is good at two things: stealing from the rich and keeping secrets – skills that are in high demand in Robin Hood’s band of thieves, who protect the people of Nottingham from the evil sheriff. Scarlet’s biggest secret of all is one only Robin and his men know…that she is posing as a thief; that the slip of a boy who is fast with sharp knives is really a girl.
The terrible events in her past that led Scarlet to hide her real identity are in danger of being exposed when the thief taker Lord Gisbourne arrives in town to rid Nottingham of the Hood and his men once and for all. As Gisbourne closes in a put innocent lives at risk, Scarlet must decide how much the people of Nottingham mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles have the rare power to unsettle her. There is real honor among these thieves and so much more – making this a fight worth dying for.”
pooled ink Review:
This book was a load of fun to read, honestly. I’ve always had a soft spot for Robin Hood (the Disney animated film was one of my absolute favorite movies as a kid) and medieval times. Although as cool as it would be to time travel and visit there is no way I’d ever willingly opt to live there. I value modern plumbing and cleanliness far too highly. But that’s besides the point.
Gaughen takes an incredibly old and well known legend and gives it her own unique twist. There are, like, a thousand and a half re-tellings, interpretations, and inspirations of Robin Hood but we love it all the same. In this version Robin’s best friend, Will Scarlet, happens to be a girl in disguise as a boy. It brings a whole new edge and spice to the story. I really liked Gaughen’s “Author’s Note” at the back of the book explaining her reasoning behind writing this book and how women are constantly written out of history. That plus Robin’s story being one of the most historically hazy tales (I do believe she compared it to the game Telephone) makes a girl member of Robin’s Merry Men totally possible. It’s not as if women just woke up one day and became awesome, their heroism just wasn’t encouraged or admitted as much before.
Well, whether you’re willing to accept the possibility or not the book is still quite good. Full of action, betrayal, theft (of course), heroism (obviously), love (hurrah!), and all sorts of other good bits.
The book ends in a way that allows the reader to be satisfied with just enough loose ends to entice them to perhaps read the sequel (something I will be dashing to the public library to do). I wish this were made into a movie because I think it could be quite awesome if done right…but there’s also something about being written on paper that feels so right for Robin Hood’s story.
A quick easy read overall, although some people might struggle just a touch with Scarlet’s common English (in other words the grammar book is all but thrown out the window haha but the accent comes through quite nicely because of it). The plot snuck along at a swift pace, the characters developed over the course of the whole book, and even though the story of Robin is a very well known one this book still managed to sneak in some surprises and twists along the way.
Very enjoyable and recommended for any thieving fan.
Scarlet is a sneaky twist on a beloved legend. Full of daring, thefts, skirmishes, and love, this reworked band of thieves put on a thrilling show and a very enjoyable tale.
Purchase here: Scarlet
Meet A.C. Gaughen!
I am shamelessly addicted to staying up far too late (it feels like stealing time), diet coke (it burns so good), Scotland (stupid country stole my heart and won’t give it back. Interpol has been ineffective for prosecution) and thieves (so I guess I’m not that mad at Scotland).