Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
Rating: 3 stars
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "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: Scarlet is not my favorite book I've ever read. There are several reasons for this. A list of said reasons:
1. Scarlet's annoying insistence to speak with the worst possible grammar. I understand that she is trying to pass as a commoner, but it was way too over the top and distracting. It really bothered me throughout the entire novel.
2. There is a love triangle, which, for me, is bad. But this one is exceptionally bad because it's between Robin Hood and Little John. WHAT IN THE WORLD. I will say no more on this issue, because it is way too conducive to eye rolling.
3. The only character I cared about was Much, and even that is probably only because he wasn't in love with Scarlet. This book contains that strange trope where the Girl is constantly rude, rash, and insecure, and yet has basically every major male character falling over themselves in love with her for no apparent reason. Cue more eye rolling.
4. The "mystery" of Scarlet's true identity is so glaringly obvious, it bothered me that none of the other characters had figured it out.
So, basically, I did not care for any of the dialogue, main characters, or angst that this book offers. That being said, I was surprised at how much I loved the action scenes and the villain. Gaughen really does a great job at executing an action scene. I felt each of my senses perk up as Scarlet and her band stormed the castle, or schemed a break out, or went pick pocketing. I could feel the dust and see the jewels sparkle, and I could feel my adrenaline go up each time things inevitably went wrong.
I also thought that Gisbourne was a fantastic villain. He was vicious and ruthless, but there was also an air of mystery about him that made me feel like he could be hiding behind any curtain, waiting to pounce. That element of suspense and danger very much saved this story, for me.
There were things that worked and things that didn't work for me in this story. I'm unsure if I will be continuing this series or not. Has anyone read Lady Thief? Should I read it? Is it any better than Scarlet?
For me, there was too much eye rolling on my part to really love this story, despite some great action scenes and a deliciously malicious villain. It's a shame, because I thought there was a lot of potential that went unfilled.
Review in a GIF:
Bottom Line: Robin Hood fans might enjoy this retelling from Maid Marian's point of view, though be warned: there is much to frustrate you in this story. Take heart in knowing that other reviewers found this book to be much more enjoyable than I did.