Name: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen.
Publication: 14th February 2012/ Walkers Children.
"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."
Scarlet is A.C. Gaughen's debut novel which focuses on the historical re-telling of Robin Hood, but with a twist. The book is not focused on Robin Hood himself, but on Scarlet, the only female member of Robin's merry band. However, too most people in their town, she the whip boy 'Will Scarlet'.
Scarlet was a great, three dimensional character who you are rooting for by the end of the book. She is head-strong border lining on stubborn. Scarlet is very loyal to people who have been good to her. She is more of a thief than the rest of the band and bit more ruthless which for me, was cool to see since she was the only girl as well. She believes in herself and hates to be belittled by others, especially men, which is a good message to send to girls. Scarlet's layers are stripped away throughout the book slowly and by the end we not just reading about the bad-ass Scarlet but also the vulnerable Scarlet who despite being able to kill a man with knives is still an eighteen year old with a heart that can be broken.
Every other main character in the book was great. You have the moody yet heroic Robin who seems to love and hate Scarlet all at the same time. There is also John Little who seems to be throwing a few mixed signals at Scarlet and Much, who is so wonderfully adorable, all you want to do is hug him and never let him go.
The main plot of Scarlet is subtlety built throughout the book with prison break-outs, thefts, sword fights, bar brawl, weddings and murders. Scarlet also revolves around a very interesting romantic sub-plot which had my heart beating a little more than usual when I was reading those scenes.
What also made Scarlet so interesting and real was Gaughen's writing. The book is told from Scarlet's narrative and uses her language such as 'were' instead of 'was'. This was such a smart idea and it opened up Scarlet's world a little more to the reader.
Scarlet is such a captivating book. I read it in one sitting because I did not want to put it down. It has lots of action and suspense as well as romance, humor and surprises.
I am unsure if Scarlet is a stand alone novel or not but I such am hoping there will be a sequel to a great and original version of Robin Hood.
Give it a read. I think it is a fresh and interesting take on the story of Robin Hood and his merry band of 'men'.