By A.C. Gaughen
Released: February 14, 2012
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Hardcover, 292 pages
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. --GoodReads
Ah, yes. Yet another fairy tale retelling of an old, OLD classic. Passed down from one generation to the next by word of mouth, no one really knows the original, but rather the "renditions" of previous stories. A whisper down the lane game, if you will. Robin Hood is the story of a fearless, as-honest-as-you-can-get thief, that steals from the pompous rich and gives without fail to the poor. Based upon a well known story known throughout the world, A.C. Gaughen pulls off a gender-blending story centered on the Hood's female partner-in-crime.
Now, truth to be told, when someone mentions the name,"Robin Hood" to me out of the blue, I would never ever suspect a girl.
|I think this counts as a traditional Robin. Doncha think?|
|Sorry. Doesn't come to mind...|
However, this is (almost) exactly what Gaughen thought of. At first, I was really excited. I mean, a girl creaming a guy in the art of thievery? Heck yeah! Count me in! Scarlet even specifies at one point that she has to teach all of the guys in her troop how to thieve properly (err, if there's actually a way to break the laws properly...)
|YEAH! Love the fist.|
Scarlet, the main protagonist, narrates the story in such a great way. She's crude, rude, and fits in with all the other guys in her "band" of lads. This band is made up of her, Robin Hood, Little John, and Much. Not to mention that she's one bad-ass with the knives. But, somehow, even with her foul mouth, she attracts the attention of two worthy-to-be-mentioned guys, the Hood and John. This is why I have a love/hate YA novels. No matter how insecure, rude, crude, sassy, silly, or introverted the main gal POV is, there's always 2 guys that fall head over heels in love. While I love the fact that the 2 coolest guys in the story fall in love with Scarlet, I also loathe the fact that it's so unrealistic and sometimes a bit cheesy.
Anyway.... back to the main point. I mean, I love Scarlet's potty mouth, but she's so over emotional about her past. I don't know. It's the one chink in her armor. Oh, yeah, and expressing her feelings without blowing up as red as a tomato.
|Like a tomato. Seriously.|
But well... I suppose that's what makes her a believable character. If you don't mind reading about some head strong girl fighting a guy 30 times stronger than her but is as shy as a lily when it comes to talking about love...well, have fun! Cause I didn't. Not really.
Another thing: this has to do with Robin and John. Remember how I said that both boys are seriously infatuated with this poor girl? Well, Scarlet leaves them hanging for quite a some time and as you know, boys with raging lusty hormones fighting over a girl that "just doesn't know who to pick because she loooooooves them both" doesn't end very well. Scarlet's indecisiveness really irked me. You can't have both Scarlet! You may have a six-pack (well, probably. She goes so long without eating and works out as a career, why not throw in a couple of abs. She more than deserves it.)
|Just image this on Scarlet. I dare you to.|
Oh. Don't get me started on her eating habits! They were really bad, even for an anorexic girl. Scarlet calmly states throughout the book that she's not eaten for weeks and days on end. Not to mention the fact that she's the type of person that fills others' stomachs before one's own. John and Robin nag her constantly to eat (I don't blame them. Curves are way better than bones for a teenage boy...*cough*) and Scarlet takes it as an offense. She says she can barely choke down two bites, and hates to accept charity when THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT SHE'S DOING TO FEED THE VILLAGERS. I BET THEY DON'T LIKE IT TOO BUT THEY ACCEPT IT ANYWAY BECAUSE
WHO DOESN'T LIKE FREE STUFF THEY'RE STARVING. So in reality, I believe that Scarlet ends up looking something like this:
|Bbnieoanfidasj!!!!! TOO SKINNY!|
Sooooo, back on to the overall analysis.
Plot: It was interesting at first but doesn't give you the feeling of "I CANNOT PUT THIS DOWN UNTIL I FINISH IT" sort of reads. It was a bit flimsy and it mainly focused on Scarlet's, John's, Robin's interactions and daily routines.
Style: Robin Hood does take place in England, so some of the slang is a bit hard to understand at first, but you get used to it. It's rough and
some a LOT of the grammar is incorrect (so if you're a perfectionist or have OCD, this may be a problem for you.) Here. Let me give you a few sentences as examples.
"[The bar] were heaving with bodies, laughs, and mugs slinging 'bout," (Gaughen 1).
"He were the youngest of us, too, bare sixteen, which didn't help none but Rob knew what Much were capable of in true." (Gaughen 2)
There's a lot of lads', lasses', and were's. The were's were the worst. They drove me insane...
Overall, if you're looking for a medium-quick read (depending how fast you read), a fairy tale retelling, cheesy love triangle and foreign slang doesn't bog you down while reading, go check out Scarlet. All I can say is that it's not half bad. (Although I am a bit disappointed with the lack of a sturdy, interesting, edge of the seat story. I loved the book because of the concept of a female side kick to the famous Robin Hood). Just don't get your hopes up too high for this one.
Happy Reading Everyone!