Book Review: Scarlet (Scarlet #1) By A.C. Gaughen

ScarletUS.inddSynopsis

Will Scarlet is good at two things: stealing from the rich and keeping secrets – skills that are in high demand in Robin Hood’s band of thieves, who protect the people of Nottingham from the evil sheriff. Scarlet’s biggest secret of all is one only Robin and his men know…that she is posing as a thief; that the slip of a boy who is fast with sharp knives is really a girl.

The terrible events in her past that led Scarlet to hide her real identity are in danger of being exposed when the thief taker Lord Gisbourne arrives in town to rid Nottingham of the Hood and his men once and for all. As Gisbourne closes in a put innocent lives at risk, Scarlet must decide how much the people of Nottingham mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles have the rare power to unsettle her. There is real honor among these thieves and so much more – making this a fight worth dying for.

Rating: ★★★½

I’ve always been a fan of gender bender books. On the other hand, (please don’t kill me) I never liked Robin Hood. The story is a bit too stupid for me. A thief stealing from the rich to give the poor? Please.

I was reading a blog and the blogger was saying how excited she is about the release of the last book in this series so I looked it up to add it to my tbr. Once I read the synopsis, I was very meh about it; the book has mixed reviews and the love triangle that it promised didn’t make me any more excited about it, so I went into it with zero expectations. I must say I was pleasantly surprised! The book had its ups and downs but I liked it. I liked it enough to round my original rating of 3 stars to 3 1/2.

Let’s start with the writing style. It took me a while to get used to it because I prefer books with no colloquial writing, but it is crucial to this book. To me,  it symbolizes the difference between Old Scarlet (London) and New Scarlet (Sherwood).

Will Scarlet, our MC, is no damsel in distress (YES TO STRONG WOMEN!). Being the spy and the thief in Robin’s quartet, she has to be cunning, and deadly. And she is. Her knife throwing skills require no polishing and she jumps from tree to tree the way normal people walk on the ground. No one really knows her past though. Not even Robin; the person whom she thinks is too good for the likes of her.

“If he had known me back then, before the thieving and the scars and before my soul turned so black, would I have earned his smiles?

Would that have made that whole awful life worth it?”

Robin found Scarlet on the streets of London and took her to Sherwood with him. He doesn’t know anything about her life in London; nothing about why a thief as good as her was starving to death. Every time he tries to get her to talk about it, Scarlet runs away. She is a lot like me that way. Constantly running away from her feelings. Constantly shutting people out so they won’t know what’s in her heart. I sympathized with her. A lot.

There really isn’t a lot to say about Robin. He spent most of the book being jealous because he thought Scarlet and John were an item and whenever Scarlet tried telling him that they weren’t, he wouldn’t believe her. You are so dense, my friend. I mean, she blushes whenever you look at her. That should indicate something, no?

I found the love triangle to be useless. I do not like love triangles. I repeat: I do not like love triangles. I dub them “The Rating Wrecker”. All they do is add unnecessary angst to the plot. Um thanks but no thanks. The author could have removed it and nothing would have changed. Maybe it will play a part in the next two books? I certainly hope not. Every time John Little made moves on Scarlet, I rolled my eyes. Every time he tried feeding her the you-are-different-than-all-the-other-girls-I-hook-up-with crap, I rolled my eyes. Every time he tried to kiss her, I rolled my eyes. As you can see, there was a lot of eye rolling on my part. And Scarlet, WTF how can you let him?? Does Robin mean nothing to you????

Another major dislike: the plot was a bit slow until the halfway mark. Nothing very important was happening and it got boring. Then things started to get real interesting after Gisbourne made his appearance. Because of him, Scarlet talked to Robin about her past and that was the first step to her moving on.

Bottom Line

This book is not perfect; it suffered from a slow start, the love triangle could’ve been omitted and the writing style is a bit confusing in the beginning. It redeemed itself about halfway through when Gisbourne actually appeared and we learn about Scarlet’s past. Most of the important events happened after that, so even though it took me a while to reach that part, once it did I couldn’t drop the book.

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