Author: A.C. Gaughen
Publication date: February 14, 2012
Publisher: Walker Childrens (Bloomsbury)
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.
First line: No one really knows 'bout me.
Robin Hood was starting to feel like the fairytale that was retold too much to me. Robin is the hero, Robin is the villain, Robin is a secondary character in a contemporary novel, the protagonist is pulling a Robin Hood, there are Hood aspects to a story. I thought that with all the different Robin Hood variations in the world that surely, I wouldn't be too impressed with Gaughen's version.
Boy, was I wrong.
Instead of having Robin as the main character, he's a secondary character. Instead of having the main character be about crushing on Robin, she's one of his team members, a fellow thief. Right there, it's different. We've all heard about Robin and his merry men. The one I really remembered was John and he's there, but instead of having Will Scarlet be a boy, he is now a she under disguise as a he. Sounds trippy, but it's not. While Robin Hood is the hero among the people, Scarlet is the best thief and the one the girls like to swoon after, ironically enough.
What I liked:
- Scarlet kicking butt. I'm all about girl power, whether it's from inner strength or physical strength, and she definitely had the outer kind. Wielding knives, rescuing people from prisons, thieving, and undermining powerful people. I wanted to cheer her on like the obnoxious guys in football stands.
- Much, one of Robin's Merry Men. We have John, Robin, Much, and Scarlet. Two of the three guys are crushing on Scarlet and Much is not one of them. I pictured him as a lovable, quiet guy with his disability and he gives you the feeling that you want to hug and protect him, but you know that he wouldn't appreciate it. Can we have more opposite sex platonic relationships, please?
- I might have been in turmoil for most of the ending and I really, really liked that feeling. I already have enough stress in my life and usually don't go seeking for it in my reading. However, sometimes it's great to feel that angst because you know you're invested. You care. You're enthralled. The author has officially captured your attention and your emotions and she's doing a fantastic job of weaving her story.
- John aka The Pusher. I call him The Pusher because I felt overwhelmed and claustrophobic just reading about him. At first, I was torn because I thought, "I love underdogs!" and I wanted to root for him despite Robin being the other side of the love triangle. My feelings for John quickly evaporated though because he pushed. And pushed. He invaded my personal space, which is so not good. Back off, John.
- Scarlet's speaking, which consisted of were instead of was, added character in the beginning, but then slowly became annoying. I think she was the only one who did that and honestly, I think she would have spoken correctly by then. SPOILER I so knew from the beginning that she was proper. I didn't necessarily figured her real name, but should've if I thought about it. END OF SPOILER.
- Robin was right, Scarlet played with everyone's emotions way too much. John would flirt with her, she would tell him to back off. He would kiss her, she would reciprocate. Scarlet ran back to Robin, he kept his distance, she went back to John. It was a frustrating cycle. At times, I was able to just enjoy this love triangle and holler for Robin to make his move. Other times, I wanted to slap some sense into Scarlet for being confusing and inconsiderate. Of course John wasn't going to back off if she kept giving mixed signals!
Really, I don't know why I waited so long to read this. I love retellings and Gaughen wrote this one very well. I immediately longed to have the sequel in my hands so maybe it was a good thing I waited to read this first book.