Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Title: Scarlet
Author: A.C. Gaughen
Publisher: Bloomsbury/Walker Publishing Company
Release Date: February 14, 2012
Pages: 304 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: from the publishers via NetGalley

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.


The people at large believe Will Scarlet is a boy, a thief, and a member of Robin Hood's band. Two of those descriptors are right, but one is not like the others: he is really a she, a girl named Scarlet--and she's on the run. As the thief taker Gisbourne is brought to Nottingham to help capture Robin Hood and his band, Scarlet could lose her life if she isn't careful. The truth about Scarlet, daring prison escapes, and more secrets all lead up to a bloody wedding.

Scarlet is a heavily flawed character: angry, caring, a little bit of a martyr,... Characterization of her and of Robin, the earl come home from the Crusades to find he no longer had a home, was fantastic, but their characters were difficult to stand for long stretches of time. For all Robin talks about Scarlet jeopardizing their band, he's the one that needs to take care of his love problems or leave because his transparent feelings for Scarlet were the real problem. Meanwhile, Scarlet's constant habit of using "were" where the average person would use "was" made me twitch a little each time. Is there a good reason for it? Yes, and I respect that. It doesn't make it any less annoying.

The greatest point annoyance had to be the love triangle between John, Scarlet, and Robin. In my opinion, both men were creeps and didn't have what it took to be the man Scarlet needed. The irony when Robin said Scarlet was leading John on was not lost on me; between his "I want you" body language and his "we're just friends, you're with him" spoken words, he was the one leading someone on in the story. John could use a lesson in boundaries.

I think I've made it clear that I spent most of the book annoyed and putting it down so I wouldn't scream at it, but it wasn't all bad. Scarlet was a pretty thrilling story. I may have had to put it down many times, but I always picked it back up and devoured more than half the book in a single day. My knowledge/interest in Robin Hood or any tales of him is less than or equal to zero, but this book has me thinking I might need to find out more.

This could have been so much better of a book--it showed plenty of signs it could be great--but irritating characters and too much love triangle drama made this a more difficult book to finish reading than I wanted it to be. This was supposed to be a pick-me-up from two bad books, not another bad book!

2 stars!

What am I reading next?: The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers