by A.C. Gaughen
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Posing as one of Robin Hood's thieves to avoid the evil Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only Big John and Robin Hood know the truth-that the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. It's getting harder to hide as Gisbourne's camp seeks to find Scarlet and drive Robin Hood out of Nottinghamshire.
But Scarlet's instinct for self-preservation is at war with a strong sense of responsibility to the people who took her in when she was on the run, and she finds it's not so easy to turn her back on her band and townspeople. As Gisbourne draws closer to Scarlet and puts innocent lives at risk, she must decide how much the people of Nottinghamshire mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles and temper have the rare power to unsettle Scarlet. Full of exciting action, secrets, and romance, this imaginative retelling of the classic tale will have readers following every move of Robin Hood and band of thieves.
Scarlet was an adventurous story that was filled to the brim with excitement and hardships at many turns. I was a little nervous stepping into a book that contained characters that I hold near and dear to my heart, but I loved how Scarlet felt familiar yet was uniquely different at the same time! While I did have some issues with a love triangle, I can’t wait to see what happens with the rest of this trilogy. Especially after that fabulous life and death ending!
I swallowed. “We watch each others’ backs.”
He nodded. “Precisely.”
One of my favorite changes to this story is the addition of a female in Robin Hood’s group. She goes by Will Scarlet, or Scar as their little band call her. The majority of the townspeople believe that she is a boy, but a select few know her secret. And it was so much fun seeing the female being painted as the thief within their group! As someone who loves females with a backbone and can stand on their own, I was ecstatic with Robin Hood’s possible love interest. In the previous stories, Robin Hood was always paired with a woman who needs to be rescued or taken care of, which always bothered me. Robin Hood deserves a fighter, a woman who can be his equal and stand by his side! And while Scarlet is that woman, there’s one small problem. She really isn’t his.
“…..if you stay, I’ll keep you safe as best I can.” – Rob to Scar
And here lies my struggle with this book and Scarlet. She tested my patience time and time again by showing interest in both John (aka John Little) and Rob (aka Robin Hood). I felt as though she toyed with them throughout the story. BUT toy isn’t the correct word because she is only 18 and doesn’t have any experience with love or relationships. Yet I was left feeling as though I wanted to shake her while yelling at her to make up her mind. But I still liked Scarlet because her heart was in the right place so many times. Not only by protecting the townspeople, but her little group too. She put her life on the line for so many of them again and again, which made for some amazing perilous situations.
He caught my wrist before I were full out the door. “Scar,” he said, rough, like rocks were running over his tongue. “I have done so many unforgivable things in my life. Don’t let failing to save you be another.”
And while I’m talking about struggles, some may have a few issues with the writing. But please know that I absolutely adored the way this story was written! I easily adapted into how the words came across, and it seemed like a unique mix of past, present, and dialect that would easily be found from that time period.
He pressed my cheek with the cloth again, and then his hand touched my cheek, hot after the cold water. “I hate seeing you hurt.”
The air whooshed from my chest but I rolled my eyes ’stead of letting on. “No one gets all bent up over John being bruised.”
He stepped back, looking into my eyes. I felt like my eyes were unprotected without my hat.
“Scar, you walked in here covered in blood. You don’t see how that would upset us?”
He caught my chin in his fingers. “Like it or not, Scar, we’re your friends. We care about you. I care about you.”
You know what else I loved? Rob! He was quiet yet powerful, and he had a heart of gold. He tried so hard to take care of others who weren’t able to care for themselves. And he wore their pain and suffering heavily on his shoulders, while keeping it all to himself. It even felt as though he purposely contradicted himself so others wouldn’t know how he felt. He did this multiple times with Scarlet, and I was dying to know the truth and his inner thoughts! I can’t wait to learn more about Rob as the trilogy unfolds!
He grabbed my arms, bringing me close to his face, and his eyes looked like the ocean, deep and dark and full of things I knew nothing ’bout. “We don’t lie to each other, Scar. Especially not about things that mean I might lose you.”
My breath froze in my chest. Did he just say that?
He let me go. “Because losing one member would put the whole band at risk. Do you understand?”
John and Much rounded out their little group, and the story proceeds with them trying to protect the townspeople from the evil Sheriff of Nottingham. Their group of four steal and loot all in the name of the greater good, yet twists unfold that take a typical Robin Hood story-line into another area. Because Scarlet is being hunted by an evil Lord, Gisbourne. And with him close on their tails, everything is about to spiral out of control. This is definitely a world you should step into. And I can’t wait to see what is going to happen after that fabulous, perilous ending!!
P.S. Random fact – I absolutely adore the Disney and Robin Hood:Prince of Thieves movies, so with those story-lines floating around in my head, I dove right into Scarlet. This story was just as unique as those two movies are from each other. I’m so very happy about that!
|Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)
Lady Thief #2
Lion Heart #3