Review: Scarlet

Scarlet (Scarlet #1)The tale of Robin Hood is an old and familiar one, but in Scarlet, Robin Hood’s iconic best friend, Will Scarlet, is a girl.

As one of Rob’s merry men, Scarlet works hard to disguise her identity so that no one, except the band, knows her secret. She’s an agile thief, that works with Rob and his men to protect Nottinghamshire from the corrupt sheriff, and steals from the rich to give to the poor.

But when Lord Gisbourne comes to town, with the sole purpose of catching Robin Hood and his men, Scarlet tries to escape his clutches, especially when he seems determined to catch Scarlet.

Scarlet struggles to protect Nottinghamshire against the vicious Gisbourne as her secrets start unravelling as she remains in danger of losing her heart to Robin Hood.

Don’t you just love being pleasantly surprised? I didn’t expect much from this book to be honest, since it seemed like a simple story. But the classic tale of Robin Hood has always intrigued me, plus I sort of have an obsession with stories about girls dressing up as boys to fight justice, and so I fell in love with the story.

Incorporating bits from other versions of Robin Hood, Gaughen does well to breathe fresh air into the story, especially since it’s told through the point of view of spunky Scarlet. Unbeknownst to her band, there’s a reason why Scarlet ran away from home and started stealing. But unlike her fellow band members, Scarlet has her own reasons for staying in the band, and doesn’t always fit in well with the Merry Men, who are too righteous for her. This fact doesn’t go unnoticed by Robin Hood, or Rob, as he works to maintain the harmony in his band of followers so he can best protect his people.

You can’t have a retelling of Robin Hood without Robin, except in this version he’s 21 years old and the rightful earl of Nottinghamshire, who’s been kicked out. The townspeople recognize him as their leader, but the sheriff doesn’t, and this is what makes Robin an outlaw. Unlike in other versions of the story, Rob isn’t exactly perfect, and struggles to be the best leader for his people, while also following his heart.

The love triangle doesn’t feature too heavily in the story, which I loved, so there aren’t many cheesy scenes between Scarlet and Little John and Rob; it’s pretty clear from early on who Scarlet’s heart belongs to, but she’s afraid that she’s not worthy enough as a lowly thief.

Filled with action, romance, and adventure, Scarlet is a fun and fast-paced retelling of the classic Robin Hood, which focuses on a young girl’s journey to accept and be true to herself.

So for that: 4.5/5.

Thanks for reading,

Ikhlas

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