Thursday, March 20, 2014

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen [Review]

Scarlet (Scarlet, #1)3 out of 5 Robots!

Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #1
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Release: February 14, 2012
Hardcover: 292 Pages
Publisher: Walker Childrens
My Copy: Publisher (Netgalley)
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
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.
(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
Sigh.  I am definitely the black sheep on this book.  Now, I didn't hate it, but I certainly didn't love it.  I was much more frustrated with it than not.  So.  First, let's talk about the things I did like.  I liked the twist on the Robin Hood theme.  I liked that Will Scarlet was a girl disguising herself as a boy and was a trusted member of Robin Hood's gang. I liked that she could take care of herself.  I also liked the twist about her character.  I also loved the character Much, who was sweet and understanding.  

Now the parts that troubled me.  First and foremost...I could not get on board with Scarlet's "common" talk.  Usually it doesn't bother me too much (such as in Blood Red Road or The Knife of Never Letting Go), but for some reason it really grated on me and distracted me from the story.  It did not feel authentic and seemed very forced.  On top of that, other commoners did not speak quite as, uh, common as she does.

Secondly, there is the matter of the love triangle. Scarlet loves Robin, but Robin doesn't know.  Robin loves Scarlet, but she doesn't know.  Little John wants to get into Scarlet's pants, but she isn't into him.  But Robin thinks she is...despite the numerous times she spurns John's advances.  Robin goes between treating Scarlet like crap because he's mad about John and coming on to her.  I found the whole thing really frustrating.

Lastly, I found Scarlet a bit hard to understand.  She is feisty, strong, impulsive and  carrying a lot of secrets.  She keeps those secrets from Robin and their friends.  But while she is keeping those secrets from Robin, she is also keeping it from the readers.  I had no idea what her back story was so I had a hard time understanding her reactions to certain situations.  Scarlet just has a tendency to flip out on everyone, but I had no idea why.

Everyone spends an inordinate amount of time yelling and fighting with each other.  Especially when the love triangle rears its ugly head.  And because they spend so much time yelling at each other, there isn't much room left for anything else.  In other words...not a lot happens.  At least until the very end.

Overall, I think the premise is good.  And I know some people absolutely adore this book.  But I couldn't get into the story enough to see what everyone else sees. 

Other books in this series in the order that they should be read:
1. Scarlet
2. Lady Thief

Disclosure:  I reviewed a copy free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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