Rummanah Aasi
  I was highly anticipating reading Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen because of its cool premise. I haven't read any books about Robin Hood, though I did enjoy some of the movies based on the legend. I was curious how the switch in gender any other changes would work in this new retelling of the famous legend. Thank you to Walkers Children and the Teen Book Scene for giving me an advanced reader's copy of the book to do an honest review. 

Description (from Goodreads): 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: Full of swashbuckling adventure, romance, and humor, A. C. Gaughen debuts with a historical re-telling of the renowned legend of Robin Hood, the prince of thieves. Instead of focusing on the legend himself, Gaughen zeroes on Will Scarlet, a well known, prominent member of Robin Hood’s band of Merry Men. What sets Will Scarlet apart from the others is the mere fact that Scarlet is a girlWith this clever premise, Scarlet re-imagines a woman's role in this English folklore.
  When I first heard about this book through several bloggers, I was instantly intrigued by the concept of a fearless girl working alongside the famous men and who has cleverly kept her identity as a disguise for so long. Will Scarlet, mostly known as Scar to Robin and the boys (Little John and Much the Miller’s Son) was a terrific character that I loved and supported right away. She is impulsive, brave, and strong. She also didn't lose her feminine touch either. As a great strategist, Scar is the first to come up with a plan. Her disguise as a boy allows her to bend her society's expectations of a woman. As a man, she can make her own decisions and stand up for herself. Her voice is very distinct. Like all the characters in Scarlet, she is not perfect but flawed, which makes her accessible and approachable to the reader.
  The book is filled with chalk full of great characters. All of the secondary characters stand on their own and have distinct personalities and voices. Each of them have scars, some physically and/or emotionally, from their past which serve as a catalyst to aiding Robin in his adventures. By helping others, they are able to try and correct their own mistakes. All of Robin's men work as a family who take care and look after each other. There is a great friendship amongst them that feels natural which is demonstrated by their dialogue and body language. 
   Of course a retelling of Robin Hood is incomplete without a great Robin Hood. Gaughen's Robin is definitely swoonworthy in looks and in behavior. He treats Scar equally and respects her. His charisma and passion to  fight the injustice in his society leaps off the page. Despite of all this, I loved how he never saw himself as a hero who deserves all the accolades that his community bestows upon him. Though his reasons behind his actions can be seen as selfish, you can't help but admire him. It goes without saying that I loved watching him and Scar interact. Their romance and longing is slow burn which makes it exquisitely tantalizing. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for one of these characters to make a move.
  The plot of Scarlet focuses on unveiling Scar's real identity since she is the focus of the book. What is nice is that none of her friends knows Scarlet's secret and they are learning the truth right along with the reader. We are told snippets of her past and of the new threat, Guy of Gisbourne, who is keen on looking for her. The book does a good job in keeping the reader entertained with lots of action scenes, great romantic tension, and well placed clues to Scar's history. I thought the pacing of the book was relatively fast as I finished it in one sitting. By the end of the book, we get answers to many questions, but it does leave it wide open for future books, which I hope the author writes because it was so hard to say goodbye to these fantastic characters. All in all, if you're looking for a quick, fun, retelling of a popular folklore with a kick butt heroine be sure to check out Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen. I really recommend it. 



Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: Some mild language and a scene of attempted rape. Recommended for Grades 8 and up.

If you like this book try: The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley, Rowan Hood by Nancy Springer, Forestwife by Theresa Tomlinson
3 Responses
  1. Christina T Says:

    Fantastic review! I was already interested in reading this book but I want to read it even more after reading your review.


  2. That romantic tension kicked my butt. I seriously hope there is another book because I'd like her to expound on the relationship and the whole Guy and her thing at the end. I mean...JOHN! I was so angry he didn't *insert action here*. I tweeted the author to see if there was going to be another and she never replied. *sigh* Oh well...Guess I'll wait. *pouts*


  3. Jenny Says:

    YEAH!!!!! Loved this one so much! I'm really, really hoping she's writing more. It felt like there could definitely be more story there at the end:) I agree with you completely on the characters, I thought they were wonderful and the romance with Scar and Rob I thought was perfect. Lots of tension and I love that:)


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