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Series: Scarlet, Book 1
Also in this series: Lady Thief
Published by Walker on 14 February 2012
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Adaptation, Adolescence, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Historical, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, People & Places, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: 2014 - Read 12 Books Published Before 2013, 2014 Personal Challenge
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Place(s) Traveled To: Notinghamshire – Edwinstone, Nottingham, Sherwood, Trent, Worksop, Leicaster (12th Century, England)
First Line(s): No one really knows ’bout me. I’m Rob’s secret, I’m his informant, I’m his shadow in dark places.
Scarlet by AC Gaughen is one of those books that I had been meaning to read for the longest time but for one reason or another just didn’t. This was made all the more awkward as I kept running into the author at signings and telling her that I’d be reading Scarlet soon and then soon never seemed to happen. So with yet another signing fast approaching I decided to stop making empty promises and just read the book already. And then once I finished it I could have kicked myself for more reading it sooner. My only consolation is that because I waited so long is that now the second book in the series, Lady Thief, is already out so there is less wait for more story involved. Especially with how Scarlet ends!! (Gah!! Its a killer!)
I really enjoyed Gaughen’s take on the Robin Hood story. Which I was thankful for as I do really enjoy this bit of English folklore. And the character of Will Scarlet has always been a favorite of mine as well. At first I was a bit on the fence about female Will Scarlet but then once I started to read the book I feel head over heels for this character. Scarlet is fierce and intelligent and filled with secrets that you can’t even imagine at. Oh, there were some that I figured out before the big reveal but even then I had a suspicion that it was only because Scarlet wanted me to know.
The pacing and writing of this story are both great things and the only real negative that I have is the dialect speech. Yes, I can see how it might be historically accurate but once you know some of Scarlet’s secrets it seems a bit far fetched. That and dialect speech, like text speak, is always something that I’ve cringed at in books. It can make things a bit harder to read swiftly and for me it just takes away from a story. Though for most I am sure that this will just be a minor quibble…if it makes it on other radar’s at all.
Another thing I liked about Scarlet was all the secondary characters. I loved meeting them and seeing how they interacted with Scarlet and each other. There were even times when I was sad that this wasn’t a mulitple POV story so that I could see more of some of this characters and learn what makes them tick. I also think that its a fatal flaw of British TV that I can now never come across a character named Guy of Gisbourne and not picture Richard Armitage. I say this is a fatal flaw because the Guy of Gisbourne in this book is nothing like the one of the tv show and its so hard for my brain to reconcile the two because one I adored and the other I wanted to punch in the face.
Scarlet is a fun, fast paced story and I think that it will appeal to many different audiences. Its more than just a historical novel and its more than just a Robin Hood adaptation. Its a great discussion opportunity for gender roles and how ones identity is perceived. Scarlet is a strong, independent, female in a time when that sort of thing was actively frowned upon and how she deals with society doesn’t really help matters much at all. But Scarlet doesn’t care much about what people think of her as long as she likes herself and those she calls a friend like her as well. And that is something that everyone can identify with. If you haven’t picked this one up yet then what are you waiting for? Read it.