Monday, May 20, 2013

Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A.C. Gaughen - Ashley's Review

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Title: Scarlet
Author: A.C. Gaughen
Year Published: 2013

My Pre-Reading

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: I can't believe I put off reading this book for as long as I did. That was such a huge mistake, because it was all sorts of fantastic. I love how Gaughen is (mostly) true to the classic Robin Hood story, and keeps all of the major characters there in one form or another. Robin, Little John, Much the miller's son, Will Scarlet, Friar Tuck, and all of the rest of the noteworthy gang are there, and they retain their identifying characteristics; Scarlet and Robin are very close, John is a brawny woodsman, Much is the miller's son who had his hand cut off as a punishment, etc. Even though these are old and well known characters though, Gaughen does an amazing job recreating them and making new and her own.

And I love Scar. She's strong and free-willed, but she's still so afraid of her past and her emotions. She's so very real, and it's really interesting to see how she grows and changes and matures over the course of the book. Her relationships with the other boys also seem very real, and the really awkward relationship between Scar and John made me laugh quite a bit. But it's very well done, and I'm glad things ended up the way they did.

At first, the dialect was kind of hard to get past. After the first few chapters or so though, I got used to it and I don't think the story would have worked as well if it hadn't been written the way it was. I think it really helps to get inside Scar's head and see how and what she's thinking, and to sympathize with her and her decisions. Her voice is so strong that to have everything in proper English would have really destroyed the character. So if you're having a hard time with that, just give it a little while. You'll stop noticing as you become more invested.

The story has so many twists and mysteries that are all revealed in a timely fashion, and the more you know the more secrets you wish you knew. I don't want to give too much away, but there was one twist that I thought I saw coming and was really excited when it actually happened. The world and the story are rich and exciting, and I can't wait to revisit it in the next two books. I'm just upset that book two doesn't come out until 2014!

I would totally recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Robin Hood stories, or just enjoys fairy tales that have been re-imagined. Or to anyone who is looking for a good adventure story with mysteries, secrets, and a little bit of romance. And I mean, one of the suggested things to watch if you want to learn more about Robin Hood is Mel Brooks' "Robin Hood: Men in Tights," so I think that just makes this book that much more awesome. This has been one of my favorite reads this year, and it definitely deserves a 5/5! Go pick it up ASAP!


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