Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen [book review]

Scarlet coverScarlet by A.C.Gaughen
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
Release Date: February 14th 2012
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Series: Scarlet #1

Goodreads description: 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.

I have been wanting to read Scarlet since I heard about it. I’m not sure why I kept forgetting to pick it up. Lately, I’ve seen the sequel mentioned and that made me want to bump it up on my TBR list.

Scarlet is a female member of Robin Hood’s band of outlaws. Everyone outside of the group and not in the know calls her Will Scarlet and thinks she’s just another merry man. They know Scarlet is strong, fast, and capable. They know Scarlet steals from the rich to feed the poor and that Robin trusts Scarlet. They don’t know Scarlet wraps her chest, has long hair, and wears dresses to church each week.

The band is trying to save the over-taxed people of Nottingham from the Sheriff and Prince John’s evil schemes. Most of the details are the same: Robin is an earl, he went to the Middle East and fought in the Crusades with King Richard, and when he came home his lands and title were no longer his and the people that relied on him were being mistreated. He gathers a crew and they try to feed the people and fight the oppressors. In this story, Lord Guisborne is a thieftaker who has come to rid the Sheriff of his thief problem.

Scarlet is such a great character. She is smart and skilled. She has knives, she can climb, and she’s the most capable thief of the group. She’s also kind and she wants to help people. She pretends to be a male member of the gang, but she’s still feminine. I love that she liked having long hair. A lot of times when there’s a strong female warrior type, they seem to have to leave girlish aspects behing. I like that Scarlet got to keep hers.  She also had postive and understanding views of other women which is so nice to see. Especially in a historical fiction, and even more so because Scarlet goes to church. I also liked that she went to church, it felt realistic for her character.

“I suppose you want me to say what a tart she is. Or you are? But really, every time you climb in her window, you make her think that’s all she’s good for. Bess is a nice girl.”

Scarlet also has a secret past that nobody in the band knows. I feel likst I should have figured the twist out because when I read it I felt like it should have been really obvious. However, I think I was just enjoying the book so much I didn’t need to try to guess things, if that makes sense. I think it might be easy for most people to guess, but I don’t think it would be very disappointing if you figure it out before the reveal. I liked what it ended up being and it made a lot of sense for the story. Some of the reactions after certain characters found out all of it were annoying, but that’s another thing.

I had issues with the romance of the book. There’s a bit of a triangle and I thought it was unnecessary. Some of it was just awkward. I feel like one of the guys was just there to generate jealousy for the other one. I did like Scarlet’s sort of exploratory sense of dealing with the situation. I liked that she was never ashamed of her feelings and that she stood up for herself when the guys were trying to boss her around or be too protective. I really loved her views on so many things and I really just love her as a character. I actually did like the “real” romance a lot, too.

I was slightly disappointed by some of Robin’s behavior. He wasn’t completely awful, but he had some typical male views for the time period. It makes sense that someone from his background might feel that way, but he is an outlaw and he is usually portrayed as kind in modern tales. Sure, he has is issues and anger, but he’s trying to help his people, which is something he doesn’t have to do. I think his personal feelings cause him to say some things he might not actually mean, which everyone does, but it felt weak for him. I wish he would have used a different tactic, I guess. It wasn’t a huge deal, but it was a deal, if you know what I mean!

4 star rating

Scarlet was lovely. I love the girl, I love the world. I want more! I had a few issues, but overall I loved it. I borrowed this from the library but I definitely want to buy a copy as soon as I can. I will definitely be reading Lady Thief and the rest of the series! I recommend it to everyone but especially if you love females kicking ass while maintaining feminity and putting up with a merry band of outlaws.

Check out A.C.Gaughen‘s website and twitter!

Do you have any Robin Hood recs? I heard from Christina at You Book Me All Night Long that Robin McKinley’s The Outlaws of Sherwood is amazing. I’ve watched a lot of Robin Hood movies and the BBC show (where Harry Lloyd, my pretty, plays Will Scarlet) but I haven’t actually read much. Scarlet did have a list in the back of it, but I forgot to note them and I’d like recs I know people have enjoyed! 

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7 thoughts on “Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen [book review]

  1. I wasn’t too keen on the romance in this, either, but I loved how it was a Robin Hood tale with a strong female main character. I’ll definitely have to check out The Outlaws of Sherwood because I’m also into reading/watching different takes on the legend. I loved the BBC version and was so sad when the series ended.

  2. Pingback: Goodbye September! [recap] | a blighted one

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