Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sweet, Sweet Scarlet

Published: February 14th, 2012
By: A.C. Gaughen
Walker Children's
ISBN-13: 9780802723468

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.


   Will Scarlet is a companion of Robin Hood, the notorious thief who helps the poor and takes from the rich/corrupt.  Only the rest of the Hood's band of thieves know the truth - Scarlet is really a girl.  She has been working with Robin for two years and none of the others know her real name or were she's from.  All they know is that Scarlet had a rough life and that Gisbourne, a cold-blooded thief taker, is after her.  When Gisbourne makes his way to Nottinghamshire to try his hand at catching the Hood and his accomplices, Scarlet is in true danger of being discovered.  When all of the secrets finally explode, everyone will be changed but will it be for the better?  Scarlet's narration was so true to the era that it took me a little bit to get into the book.  That said, I appreciate Gaughen much more because of this than I would if Scarlet and the other characters would have spoken like I do.  The novel's charm is in the rough-hewn edges and complications of its character's lives.  All their deeds are not perfect or heroic.  I adored the way Scarlet refused to pidgeoholed just because of her gender, insisting on being a useful member of the band.  Oftentimes, Scarlet was the one who mananged to most out of everyone.  I was unimpressed, however, with the love triangle between John Littl, Robin Hood and Scarlet.  I felt that it was an insult to my intelligence as a reader because it was really obvious which guy Scarlet was going to choose.  It also made them all act like idiots who couldn't keep it in their britches at times, and ratcheted up unnecessary angst.  The only other really present female character was Ravenna and the novel only showcased through her plight how little of a choice women had during that time.  The only character besides Scarlet that I truly loved was one-handed, somewhat simple Much.  He was always trying to help out and his character was sterling in comparison to many of the others.  Recommended highly for the adventure and suspense of Scarlet's past, if you're able to overlook the love triangle. 

VERDICT:  4/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money was exchanged for this review. The book was published February 14th, 2012.*

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