Friday, 29 June 2012

Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen **Review**

Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen
Series: None
Pages: 286
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release date: June 7th 2012
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones

Add it to Goodreads
Thanks to Bloomsbury for my copy of the book

Goodreads synopsis:
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.

I had been ridiculously excited when I first heard about this book, but back then, I had thought that it was only being published in the US, and would not hit our British shores. So imagine how excited I was when I got an email from Bloomsbury, not only informing me that they would be publishing this in the UK in June 2012, but also asking me if I would like a review copy. YES, Bloomsbury, yes I would!
I used to love the story of Robin Hood and his band of merry men when I was young, so I was hoping that this book would be perfect for me, and it really did not disappoint me in any way.

I suppose I'll start with what stood out to me first, and continued to stand out the most, throughout the book; the way it's written. The writing is heavily stylised, but this works really well, especially as it's used to reflect how Scarlet speaks, and I could definitely 'hear' her character and voice come through. It made her character so much more defined, and it set the tone for the book so well. It just felt more real to me, than it would have done, had it been written in a style that was closer to something that we would consider to be more 'normal' prose. For me, this really sets it apart from most of the other books I read. It stands out - in a very good way.
I also loved the setting. The book is so richly described, that I could feel myself being transported into the little villages, such as Edwinstowe (where a lot of the book takes place), or into the forest (either the trees that Scarlet climbs, or the cave, where the band hides out). I could see myself there, walking through the market in Nottingham with them, or sitting in Tucks. It was so well described, that it felt incredibly real to me.

As for Scarlet's character, I loved her for most of the book. I say most because I did with she'd opened her eyes more, especially when it came to Rob's feelings for her - it was just so obvious that he cared about her, but she was so convinced that he wouldn't ever go for her, that she made herself blind to it. I'd also gotten her real identity figured out pretty early, even though she's fairly secretive about her previous life.
But other than that, she was a strong female character, with strong morals, unshakable independence (despite her part in Robin's band), and a great deal of strength. She was just so brave and intelligent, and I loved her.
I also adored the relationship that builds between Scarlet and Robin (despite her ignorance, as I've mentioned). The chemistry between them is thrilling, and it's given space to grow and develop, rather than just suddenly materializing and being shoved down your throat. They bounced off each other really well, even when there wasn't a romantic tension going on, and it was really entertaining to watch unfold. They're both just adorable!

If I'm honest, I knew the story of Robin Hood inside out, when I was young, but it's been a long time since I was fully familiar with it, and so I can't really say how close this was to the original, and so, how good it was as a retelling. I can tell you though, that it was an excellent story - it definitely stands on its own.
The plot absolutely never stood still - every page too it somewhere new and it was never boring, or slow, in any way. My only grievance with it, is the ending (as is the way with so many books). It's not that it was a particularly bad one - it just didn't feel entirely finished.
I had a look around on the internet, and it doesn't seem as though the author is planning to write a sequel to this book, but it feels to me, like it should have one. So much happens, and is revealed, at the end, but not resolved, that it feels as though the story has not really come to a proper ending yet. Plus, personally, I would love to see more from these characters, this story, and of course, more from this author!

I absolutely adored this book. It's a well-written, exciting and utterly compelling page-turner. I devoured it in only 24 hours - I just could not bring myself to put it down for longer than a few minutes (if at all!).
I seriously recommend that everyone give this book a go - it's definitely a memorable read.


annamwrites said...

When I was in third grade I had to read a set of Robin Hood stories. I fell in love with them, so hearing about this book and seeing such a great review of it is really exciting! I'm putting it on my to-read list and hoping that I can read it soon!

Shelver 506 said...

Yay! So glad you enjoyed the book. I loved it when I read it earlier in the year, but it quickly fought its way up to being one of my favorites. I even spent one of my precious gift cards to buy myself a copy, which is near impossible for me. Gift cards are like gold.

Personally, I'm hoping that a sequel will focus on Much. He was my favorite. GREAT review!

My review, if you're interested:

Tara said...

I'm so looking forward to reading this one! I loved the story of Robin Hood as a kid, too, so hopefully I'll enjoy this interpretation! Thanks for a great review!

Jess Hearts Books! said...

What a fantastic review! I thought it was only coming out in the US too so was excited when Bloomsbury got in touch as well! Your review has boosted this right to the top of my to be read pile and I'm hoping to read it soon :)

caroline.taylor078 said...

Its safe to say a Robin Hood inspired book isn't something I would normally read after never liking the books, films, tv shows in the past but I have to say I love the cover of this book and your review might make me give it a go!

Sierra Abrams said...

Great review! I'm really looking forward to reading and enjoying this one! I love the legend of Robin Hood and all his merry men! ;)

Sierra @ Yearning to Read

Lissette Martinez said...

I like retellings. The cover is awesome and your review make me want to run to look for this book and buy it! (Sadly, I won't find it in my local library) Book really sounds great, plus I love when it describes very well things or places.

Christina Fiorelli said...

I love this new twist!

Awesome dialect:)

The Blonde Zombie said...

I've had this on my shelves since it's release. I bought it for the cover, it looks pretty and I'm enjoying retellings at the moment... I'll get to it soon, I hope :-)

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

Okay, you have convinced me. Off to add to my wishlist.

Lynn K. said...

I loved this book as well! An interesting retelling and it has a gorgeous painted cover! (I have a weakness for them)
But one thing I have a different opinion on is regarding the ending. I like how it ended. It satisfied me and it leaves room for a sequel if the author wants to write another (which I hope she does, one day)

SweetMarie83 said...

This is THE top book on my wishlist. I can't usually afford to buy books but I've been seriously considering buying this one and I told myself that if I found another really great review, I'd cave and buy it next I guess I'll be buying it...thanks Dani! lol
Great review, now I'm even more excited to read it. I LOVE anything to do with Robin Hood. :-)

Jaime Lester said...

I love Scarlet, in a huge way! Love it. A.C became one of my favorite authors the moment I started reading this book. I fell in love with the characters. I could close my eyes and imagine myself in the trees with the crew. I just love it. Thanks so much for the review!

beccabooklover said...

I keep looking at this book meaning to buy it and I just haven't got round to it yet! It looks so good and now there's a sequel I'm even more eager to read it. I love the idea of the book and I need to pick it up asap! Great review :)

Becca xx

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