by A.C. Gaughen
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Publication Date: February 14, 2012
Source: Teen Book Scene
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'm a big fan of Robin Hood and have been ever since I was a kid. I used to love watching the old Disney cartoon version and my family even used to have this fisher price Robin Hood playset. I guess you could say that Robin Hood (yes, even fox Robin Hood) was one of my first fictional crushes. So you can imagine that I jumped at the chance to read Scarlet. A new retelling of Robin Hood with a kickass female heroine? HECK YES! And I am happy to say that, despite a few minor flaws, Scarlet proved to be a fairly awesome read.
Scarlet is a bit of a mysterious character with a mysterious past. I found her to be flawed but perfectly so. She was aware of her faults and she didn't brush them off. The supporting cast of characters was also well developed. I particularly enjoyed the evil Gisbourne. He had that perfect old school bad guy quality to him that I just love. The only character I had a gripe with was Robin Hood. He was just so angsty! I've never been a fan of angsty guys and not even the gallant and fictionally attractive Robin Hood could change that. Sad face. :(
The story itself wasn't anything too special. If you've read/seen any sort of Robin Hood story then the formula should be familiar to you. But even with its fairly simple "steal from the rich give to the poor" plot Scarlet is enjoyable. There were also quite a few surprise plot twists that kept me on my toes!
If I were to point out one flaw with Scarlet it would have to be the romance. If you've been following my blog you should know that I'm kind of a romance cynic so this shouldn't come as a surprise to you. :P Anyway the main problem was that the author tried to create this love triangle between Scarlet, John Little, and Robin Hood, and honestly I found it to be completely awkward. When will authors realize that not all books need a love triangle? THEY AREN'T THAT EFFECTIVE!!!!
In conclusion Scarlet is an adventurous and imaginative tale that is sure to win over Robin Hood fans and probably gain some new ones. I found the love triangle to be unnecessary but it didn't detract too much from the overall story. I give Scarlet 4 out of 5 ice cream cones!