Monday, 10 September 2012

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: ARC
Published: 7th June 2012
Number of Pages: 304
Book: For Review*
Genre: Historical, Fantasy, Romance, Action-Adventure, Fairytale Retelling, YA
Recommended Age: 12+
Contains: Violence, Swearing, Death, Alcohol References
No Drug References
Author's Blog: A.C. Gaughen

“No one really knows about me.  I’m Robin’s secret, I’m his informant, I’m his shadow in dark places.”
Will Scarlet has a secret.  One only Robin Hood and his band of thieves know – this boy, whose quick hand with a knife protects people from the Sheriff of Nottingham, is really a girl.
Scarlet’s past is even more closely guarded.  Until the thief taker Lord Gisbourne arrives in town to rid Nottingham of the Hood once and for all…  Now what price will Scarlet pay for her loyalty to Robin Hood, the only man with the power to unsettle her with a smile?

After reading this I found myself dreaming of Robin Hood and his band of men.  It was almost as awesome as reading it all over again.  Not quite, but almost…  *sighs*  Robin... 
"What, a whip of a lad and a few pin sticks?"
I smiled at that, and Rob chuckled.  "You don't want to know what those pin sticks can do."
Will Scarlet is one of Robin Hood's most devoted men, known for his skilled hand and quick temper.  But the truth about him is known only to a selected few - Will Scarlet is not a man at all, but a girl. 
And while few know Scarlet's true identity, none know the story of her past.  It is her most closely guarded secret, one she herself barely likes to think about.  
Until Lord Gisbourne, a thief taker, returns, threatening to tear her and all of Nottingham apart, here with the task of getting rid of Robin Hood, once and for all...
And if Gisbourne discovers Scarlet...  Then he will live up to his name of "The Devil"...
It's fair safe to say, that this book were like nothin' I'd read 'fore. 
Ok, that was my one and only attempt at sounding like Scar.  I totally failed, but hey.  I just loved everything about this book so much I simply had to give it a shot!  Anyway, back to the review: I'm rather ashamed to say that other than the animated Disney movie, I don't really know the Robin Hood legend.  (Ducks to avoid disapproving looks.)   I've never read a book on it.  So I was insanely excited to read Scarlet.  Just a few pages in, I realised that I would not be disappointed!  What really struck me was how real Scar felt to me and how authentic her voice was.  Oh, and how utterly swoonsworthy both Rob and John were.  I just loved this book to absolute pieces and can't wait for my Robin Hood book or for Gaughen's next book (Hopefully a mix of the two!!)!
I loved how real all of the characters were, how they really jumped off of the page.  Scarlet was rough round the edges, but she was quick, smart, caring and could totally take care of herself - plus, I loved her snark and independence!  She really was a "Warrior Woman" and had to be the strongest girl ever, in the history of YA fiction.  I just loved her: her awesomeness and hidden vulnerability, how relatable and real and totally badass she was.  And I loved that she was so caring – she went without food to feed everyone else, was willing to do anything to keep the ones she loved safe and never let anyone tell her what to do: she was so flawed and it made me love her even more.  So, yay Scar!  And Rob was yummy.  Noble, kind, gorgeous, caring Robin who was just trying to protect his people.  Tortured, moody, gorgeous, intense Robin Hood...  Oh, I'm in love with a guy a cartoon fox was based on.  Go figure!  I loved John too: he was brave and funny and protective and also so, so yummy!  Much was the final member of the band and such a sweetie!  I really loved Lena and Tuck too - they were both awesome!  But I really loved the relationship between the band.  Sure, there was 'the triangle', but they all really felt like a family.  The one I didn't love was Sir Gisbourne, 'cause he was evil and made my skin crawl.  Grr!
The style of writing Scarlet had was a little tricky to get used to at the start - it was rough and she left out letters, etc. - but I quickly came to love it 'cause it was just so Scarlet!  And even though the old-time-peasant speak was odd at first, soon I barely even noticed it.  I was way too wrapped up in Scar, Nottingham and the plot.  Which I adored!  There was just so much action, so much suspense, so much awesomeness!  And the total desperation of knowing the truth about Scar's past.  But, man was it suspenseful!  My heart was roaring like mad, I was always on the edge of my seat and I never saw most of it coming.  Hence: just wow!
The only niggling thing about the book, the only thing I could say was not as good, was that I felt the love triangle wasn't really needed.  With everything else going on, the suspense was enough, without an added who-will-she-pick? side.  Then again, when you have one girl in the middle of three boys, spending all their time together, what do you expect?  We're just lucky it wasn't a love square!  Poor Scar was torn enough without the added cuteness of Much!
Oh, and I just have to mention the setting, because it was just so awesome!  I love historical novels - there's something so magical about the part about books set in the past.  They're like little time travel machines.  And this time zone.  Man, I could just whiz right back into the book/time machine and live there forever and ever.  Ergo: I must read more Robin Hood books, especially if they're even half as good as this!
With a band of merry - and yummy - men, one kickass lead girl and a legend that just jumped right off the page, Scarlet was an amazing, amazing debut, one I loved to pieces!  It was just so darn addictive and I hated that I was so busy when I was reading it.  I could of happily read it all in one go!  Though spreading it out did make the magic last...  Which is good, 'cause I am now officially head over heels in love with Rob.  I'm gonna sit here a few moments to get my heart back in order, then I'm going to wish, wish, wish that there's another book coming out after this one really, really soon! 
Oh, dammit!  I want more Scar and Robin!  I may have to reread the book...!

Star Rating:
5 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:

Challenges It's Taking Part In:
Happy Reading
* This book was received from Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review


Twitch said...

I really want this one! Love Robin Hood :)

beth dean said...

Hey, just to let you know I've nominated you for the Beautiful Blogger Award! If you check out this post it says all you have to do to acheive it :)!/2012/09/to-kick-off-with-this-award-is-sorta.html

Cliona said...

Amazing review! Don't worry, I won't dissaprove-look you (that doesn't make sense ;) ) cause I've never even seen the whole movie! Or read listened to or seen ANYTHING to do with Robin Hood!

Anyway :) Scarlet sound like a an awesome character! I'll have to add this to my TBR list now, can't wait! :D

TheBookAddictedGirl said...

Twitch: Me too! It's an awesome book!
Beth: Oh, thank you so much! I'll go check it out. :)
Cliona: Thanks! Phew, I'm glad I'm not the only Hood-newbie! I really recommend the book, as you guessed, 'cause it's amazing!! Hope you enjoy it! :D

Ashley @ Book Labyrinth said...

YES, this book was fabulous!! I'll definitely need to re-read it, because I love the characters, the action, and the swoony-ness of it. I only wish it were a series, because I need more of those characters!

TheBookAddictedGirl said...

Ashley: It's so amazing - I've reread it twice now!! I can't get enough! A.C. Gaughen said on her site that it was written as a standalone, but that there definitely WON'T be a second book. So fingers crossed!! :D