Saturday, December 1, 2012

Book Review: Scarlet by AC Gaughen + giveaway

Scarlet by AC Gaughen
Series: Scarlet trilogy book #1
Published: February 14th, 2012
Publisher: Walker Childrens/Bloomsbury
292 pages (paperback)
Genre: Young adult historic fiction
Acquired this book: Bought
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Purchase this book: Book Depository || Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

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’ve loved Robin Hood since I was a little girl, so when I heard about Scarlet, I knew I had to read it - Will Scarlet as a girl? Brilliant. Despite my excitement, part of me was worried for several reasons - what if I didn’t like this version and it affected how I felt about Robin Hood in general? The synopsis hinted at a romance between Robin and Scarlet, but I’ve been in love with the idea of Robin Hood and Maid Marian since I first saw the Disney version at age four or five, so I couldn't imagine accepting a relationship between Robin and anyone else.

I needn’t have worried. Not only was Scarlet well written, it was an incredibly original, fascinating, compelling take on the Robin Hood lore. It captured me from the first page and held on tight, making me laugh, cry, fall in love, and yell at the pages. It broke my heart into a million tiny pieces then pieced it back together and healed it.

Scarlet has a bit of something for everyone - humour, action, suspense, romance. It’s full of unexpected twists, tension, and enough funny moments to balance out the serious ones.

As for the characters, Scarlet is quite possibly one of my favourite characters ever. She was so real, she practically leapt off the pages. Strong and tough, independent and clever, she was a fascinating contrast of hard and soft, fierce and vulnerable. More than once I wanted to wrap my arms around her and tell her everything would be all right. Underneath her rough exterior was a scared, damaged girl who didn’t think she deserved anything good in life. Just when I thought we knew everything there was to know about her, another layer was exposed, and it made me love her even more. 

Robin made me fall in love with Robin Hood lore all over again. Younger than in most of the stories out there, he was just as complex and layered as Scarlet, and the interactions between them made me swoon, made me angry, made me laugh, and even made me tear up more than once. The rest of the characters, particularly John and Much added so much dimension to the story. John was fun and flirty (I have to admit, I kind of fell in love with him too) while Much was steady and loyal. The four of them were like a band of misfits brought together by Robin, and I rooted for each of them for different reasons.

Overall, I thought Scarlet was absolutely brilliant. These characters and their stories, while somewhat familiar, were also brand new in the best ways possible, and I know they’ll stick with me for a very long time. I would (and will) recommend this book to anyone, but particularly those interested in Robin Hood lore, historical fiction with an authentic feel, and stories with lots of heart.

For those of you who don’t know, November was Scarlet Month here at Ramblings of a Daydreamer, as well as at Thoughts at One in the Morning, run by my amazing friend Jessica. When AC Gaughen found out we were doing a Scarlet Read-Along, she very generously donated a UK paperback version of Scarlet, along with signed bookmarks. Today we’re giving one lucky Canadian or US citizen a chance to win that book and a bookmark!

Giveaway Guidelines:
*This giveaway is open to residents of Canada and the US. Sorry international friends! I'll be doing giveaways for signed Scarlet bookmarks in the new year ;-)
*You must be 15 years old or older to enter, or have permission from a parent or guardian
*This giveaway runs from December 1st - 21st


  1. I am so.... soooo...... soooooooo glad that we picked this book. It was fascinating and brilliant. It did have a bit of something for everyone! I plan on passing it on to a few friends. Everything about it was good--the retelling, the history, the characters... just, so good. ^_^

  2. I still wish I could have joined you guys. This was a great review, btw. Very well written. :) I made me want to read this one even more!

  3. Christina K. in the rafflecopter

    Lovely review!

    Your love for this book, the story and retelling and characters came out perfectly:)

    Thank you:)

  4. I really appreciate you saying there was no romance between Scarlet and Robin as I have always felt he and Marian were meant for each other. My interest is piqued! :D

  5. I loved the overall idea of the book, but there was a few things that annoyed me. Still, I'm kind of hoping there'll be more books to come haha. I just need more Robin Hood.
    Great review.

  6. I definitely wanna read this after following your read-along. It sounds awesome!

  7. Scarlet sounds amazing- the book and the title character that is. I love feisty female leads, and this sounds right up my alley :D

  8. Oh my god. I had the same thoughts about Robin Hood and Maid Marian because I saw the disney movie growing up too! It's nice to know I needn't worry. Thanks!


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