Scarlet by A C Gaughen

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Scarlet by A C Gaughen

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: Superb main character makes this retelling of Robin Hood a truly original one. I had some issues with the love triangle at the centre but the excellent action scenes more than make up for that.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: June 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781408819760

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Everyone knows the story of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. But what if they weren't all men? What if Will Scarlet, the violent youngster who can throw a knife with the same accuracy as Robin shoots a bow, was a girl?

It's an intriguing question, and debut author AC Gaughen has real fun answering it. It's a little bit hit and miss, to be honest, but the parts that do hit are pretty spectacularly great. Most notably, Scarlet's voice is captured wonderfully well, and her background is revealed at just the right pace to be completely intriguing. Her history with Guy of Gisbourne (surely a front runner for the most despicable villain in years!) was especially cleverly plotted. The action scenes stand out as very well written and engaging, even if Scarlet seems to be improbably acrobatic at times.

So, plenty to like here. It's not without its faults, though. I never felt the love triangle between Scarlet, Robin and Little John was particularly convincing (apart from anything else, Much the Miller's Son seemed so much more likeable than both of the other two put together that surely Scarlet should have seen this and taken more of an interest in him!) Robin, in particular, comes across as less of the tormented soul which seems to be the intent and more of an annoying control freak who needs to make up his mind about what he wants. While I found Scarlet to be an excellent character in general, and initially thought Gaughen's decision to give her an eating disorder was very interesting, the way this eating disorder seemed to disappear by the end of the book was rather strange. There are also a couple of early bits of dialogue which seem awkward, with characters explaning things to people who would surely know them already in order to pass information on to the reader.

Despite these criticisms, though, it's certainly worth reading. While I've taken much longer than normal to read several books recently because I haven't found that much which gripped me, the brilliant central plot and wonderful heroine here had me glued to it despite the issues I had with the romance.

Recommended to those looking for an exciting read.

If you want more Robin Hood, then the Stephen R Lawhead trilogy which starts with Hood by Stephen R Lawhead are recommended by us at the Bookbag. If you're looking for another heroine with an unmistakeable voice, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein is a must-read.

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Buy Scarlet by A C Gaughen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Scarlet by A C Gaughen at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Scarlet by A C Gaughen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Scarlet by A C Gaughen at


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