Friday, January 6, 2012

Review: Scarlet by Gaughen

By A.C. Gaughen
Published: Valentine's Day, 2012
Review copy from netgalley
In the mood for swashbuckling fun?
Read this.
From Goodreads:
"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 tale of Robin Hood has always been a fave, so the premise appealed to me. The long story short? It's a great read!
I found Scarlet to be rather awesome, and there are tons of fight scenes (all of them written very well). The whole sense of good vs evil is good and muddied, as it is supposed to be. We have outlaws stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, don't we? The swashbuckling is really exciting, and the dangers really threatening.
I also loved that Robin, John, and Scarlet are all young. I never believed that Robin Hood should be an older man, although, Alan Rickman will forever be the Sheriff of Nottingham forever and ever to me. The sheriff is not the lead villain here, but he makes a few guest appearances. And Robin Hood could come off as rather Hamlet-ish but Gaughen's Robin is able to laugh at himself and cares deeply for his band of "men".
  I am not one for romance, but the chemistry between Robin and Scarlet is thick-even though Scarlet cannot see it. Too bad we did not get more of their back story (they met in London at a low point in each of their lives, and that is about all we know). I would have liked to know more about Scarlet's prior life as well. I understand why she left her situation, but it was unclear to me as to why she would don pants and take up knife wielding.
   These are just tiny gripes that just prove I want more of the story!
   I did have a pinch of a problem with the John/Scarlet situation as I did not understand it, or where John was coming from. Also, I appreciated the vernacular, that made sense, but I would have liked more of it. 
So many times, Scarlet wipes "water" from her eyes and says "were" instead of "is". How about some more? Some medieval slang would have been cool.
  I highly recommend reading the author's note at the end of the story (it was in the arc, so I'm hoping it's in the finished copy). I liked learning about the process of how Gaughen decided to write about Scarlet and her love for Robin Hood. 
  I think she honored his legacy with this story, and created a new spin on Will Scarlet as well. 
  That were fair amazin'! as Scarlet would say,.