Thursday, April 26, 2012

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Title: Scarlet
Author: A.C. Gaughen (her website)
Release Date: February 14, 2012

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'll start by saying how much I LOVE the story of Robin Hood. He's a hero if I've ever read of one, not even Spiderman can succeed him. Now that that is settled....
This story is amazing! It's a seriously awesome retelling of the Robin Hood story in Will Scarlet's POV. What's so amazing about that? You may ask? Well, first off knife throwers are deadly and seem to have a liking for the mysterious rolls in books and/or movies, and secondly, Will is a she. Don't worry, you read me correctly, Will Scarlet is a girl dressed in a disguise that even fooled Robin at first. Girls can kick butt, too :) But, before I get into detail about Scarlet, I have a few things to say.
The setting of this book is in the times of the Crusades for the holly lands in Europe (thank you world history) and King Richard I. Now, I'm going to give you guys a few details i learned from the "Authors Note" in the back of the book. In this time Prince John really did tax the people of the kingdom horribly to pay for the Kings ransom when he was captured in the Crusades. The whole thing, apparently happened in England, and, in this story, it's mainly focused around Nottinghamshire. Also, historians believe that Robin Hood really was an outlaw in the 12th century.
Something I really like about this book is the fact that Scarlet's past isn't immediately put out for the reader to see. The author gives then a little bit at a time and some clues that leave you guessing and wondering what made her the way she is.
Now, I'll move on to the characters.
Will Scarlet is your regular, moody, knife throwing thieve...or, at least, that's what she wants you to think. Scarlet dresses as a boy for multiple reasons that are relieved throughout the book. I like to think that the main reason has to do with the fact that it would be nearly impossible to run, kick and fight in a dress. Scar is very good at hiding her emotions so it would be easy to think that she is fearless. But that's far from true. She is just is better at hiding it more than most people. Or just hiding from fear in general. Throughout the book, I've come to admire Scar as a character because of all the traits she possesses, the good and bad. She can be almost exactly like Robin (see below) but also very different. She, like him, have gone through losses in her past that left her with scars that aren't as visible with the one on her face. Scar is truly one of the strongest characters in this book and there's so much about her that is revealed in the book and not in my blog.
Robin Hood is a born leader. He knows responsibility and sacrifice and loss and that's what makes him a strong leader. I've had a crush on Robin Hood my entire life because of what he does for the his people and just because he's, well, him. So this book has a huge appeal ;) Anyway, Rob's characteristics are very...mixed. He has his moments were he can be very deep or blunt. He can be the nicest, most calm guy in the world or he can be angry. He can be fierce or concerned. And above all, hero-complex prone. Bottom line is that Rob has many sides that are revealed in the book. True, he's moodier that most retellings but he's also only 21 and in a teen book and he has to deal with Scarlet... so he has the right.
John Little is a big guy. Muscles wise and in height. He throws punches that make you cringe just thinking about how horrid it would be on the receiving side. He is, as Scarlet puts it, a charmer. You know, the kind of guy that like to toy with girls but not to be mean, just for some fun. Actually, he's a very nice guy, always being the protective big brother and using his muscle and heart to look after others. In my opinion, that's what makes him such a great addition to the band.
Much has had a hard life, like most of the band, his hardship started with his family in need of food and ending with his hand being cut off from stealing. I see Much as shy and sometimes not very confident of himself. He  has a habit of taking hard comments and critisism hard. Even then, he has a way of charming people in an entirely different way than John. Some people just feel bad about his hand and other just like him because he's a nice kid. Either way, Much is a loyal addition to the group dispite his handicap.
The Sheriff is a bad man from afar and crueler up close. Through the book you don't see to much of him, he's just like a presence that you know is in the least, until the end. He like to think that the he cares for the people of the villages he oversees when the truth is that all he cares for is the money that they are forced to give him. Typical, money hungry villain... and not the only bad guy in this book.
But I won't say much about the other "bad guy" so moving on.
I like how in this book, the author incorporated the narrator's (Scarlet's) way of speaking. She has horrible grammar (Ex: I were fearless)  but it matches her as a character and the way she speaks. I will admit though, the first time I read this book (I'm on the third now since I got it last Friday) I felt like cringing a bit. Luckily, so many other things (Characters, plot, action, awesomeness, etc.) superseded that. Actually, I've been so enraptured by this book that I've had to catch myself and try not to speak like Scar. Her expressions are pretty catchy and so is the accent I imagine her having with her words.
Now, on to the ending...
I honestly love-hate the ending.Love because of obvious romantic reasons that nearly had me saying "Awwwww!" every second. Hate because of the fate of a certain character that is not very liked (by "not very liked" I mean "extremely detested"). But you all can read the book and find out more that certain someone's fate.
I'm highly anticipating a sequel and I'm crossing my fingers hoping that it will happen because I think that the book has so much to grow off of. It has so many things that seem to end with loose ties that i want to see tied up and not basically I really want to see a sequel. Okay, maybe i just really want more Robin but that's not a just have to dodge Scar's knives.
I realized, about two days ago, that this book has to be one of my new top favorites. I've been telling anyone who will listen about the things that go on in the book until they are only pretending to listen. I even gave the book to one of my friends to read and she came back with it smiling and saying she really liked it and how much some parts shocked her. We had a ten minuet discussion on the middle of English class.
I could co on for days so I'll stop myself by saying that this books broke my rating scale with it's incredibleness (it's a word now) so i'll have to go with the closets rating on my scale... an A+ for everything I wrote in this blog and all the little things I didn't reveal in my blog due to spoilers or lack of room. I highly recommend this book for any and all Robin Hood fans, fans of books where the girl is a bad A** who isn't always running and hiding and being saved, books that just plain rule and basically if you enjoy YA.

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