Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Review of Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Scarlet

Title: Scarlet
Author: A.C. Gaughen
Pages: 292
Publication Date: Feb. 14th, 2012 


Back Cover

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.


First Lines

"No one really knows 'bout me. I'm Rob's secret, I'm his informant, I'm his shadow in dark places."


In a Sentence

Though I felt like the love triangle wasn't necessary, Scarlet was an extremely fun read that put an interesting twist on an old legend.


My Thoughts

Alright. I admit it. I went on a bit of a Robin Hood kick. After finishing Robin McKinley's The Outlaws of Sherwood, I immediately followed up with Scarlet: a book I'd been looking forward to reading since I first heard of it. Lucky for me, one of my friends snagged a copy with her Barnes and Noble gift card and was nice enough to let me read it. Because I went out of town to visit extended family over this past weekend, I had a six hour drive crammed into a van packed to the brim with my family and our luggage (and my brothers' mini arsenal of bows and shotguns). It was cramped and uncomfortable, but Scarlet provided me with the perfect escape. 

Because of the six hour drive from St. Louis, MO to Valparaiso, IN, I managed to finish Scarlet in a single sitting. However, Scarlet is also a fairly short book, and the pacing of the plot is very conducive to a quick reading. There were no slow parts for me in Scarlet at all. From the beginning, I was hooked, and I couldn't wait to find out what would happen to Scarlet and Robin's band of miscreants. 

A lot of reviewers have commented on the way Scarlet speaks in the book, and I can understand why. Personally, I did have a little bit of trouble with Scarlet's dialect at first, but I grew accustomed to it rather quickly. Scarlet speaks in a slightly broken sort of "commoner" dialogue that takes some getting used to, but once I was a couple of chapters in, I virtually forgot about it. 

My one big (and pretty much only) complaint about Scarlet is that there was a love triangle. Not only was there a love triangle, but like many love triangles, I found this one to be completely unnecessary in terms of plot and characterization. In my opinion, the story had no trouble standing on its own without the further added complexity that a love triangle provides. I feel like a lot of books use the love triangle as a plot device to keep two of the main characters apart or to further complicate things and subsequently, lengthen the story. Scarlet  didn't need this, and I felt like the addition of the love triangle was utterly superfluous. However, with that being said, I also have to admit that the love triangle in Scarlet was one of the better ones I've seen in recent YA literature. I still wasn't a fan, but it didn't annoy me as much as some others have. 

As a character, I really liked Scarlet. Being the only girl in a band full of boys in their late teens and early twenties had to have been a difficult task. Besides that, Scarlet also felt as if she had to hide her past from her friends, and carrying such a big secret as hers does not make for an easy load. In addition, Scarlet has the kind of personality that tends to take on big responsibilities and even bigger amounts of guilt if those responsibilities are not met in every way. She often blames herself for the suffering of the people of Nottingham, even though she is doing more than most to help them out. Finally, Scarlet is a strong girl, both physically and mentally, which got her a lot of respect from me.

Throughout the novel, there is an element of mystery about Scarlet's past. You don't find out about who she was or where she came from right off the bat, so curiosity definitely helps to keep the pages turning. I have to admit that I guessed the big "revelation" rather early on in the story, but suspecting what would happen didn't alter my enjoyment of the book. Overall, Scarlet was a fun and fast read that was definitely worth my time.



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Rating
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Really liked it

29 comments:

  1. Oh Natalie. I am so happy to hear you liked it so much!! I love Robin Hood related stories... I always have so when I saw this one I knew I had to read it. But, you are right I read some reviews where people talked about the dialect and being not native english speaking I was a little afraid to have problems with it.

    I also loved that you mentioned the mystery behind her past, looking forward to figure this one out!

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  2. Lucky that you can read in the car. It makes me carsick. Thanks for the great review. This sounds like something I'd like. And like you, I'm tired of those love triangles.

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  3. I voted for you! I hope you win the young adult category ::::crossing fingers:::::::

    I love the cover of Scarlet! I hadn't heard of this book and it does sound a bit like it would be a fun/fast read. I am so glad you enjoyed it :)

    Great Review!

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  4. Glad you liked it! I also had a hard time with Scarlet's dialect but I figured that it was a robin hood thing and after a while hardly noticed it.
    I voted for you!

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  5. I've actually seen quite a few good reviews for this, and that's enough to convince me to add it to my TBR. Usually I'm rather wary of such books, but some of my favourite bloggers seem to have really enjoyed it. Great review, Natalie!

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  6. YAY!!! So glad you enjoyed this one Natalie! I agree on the love triangle, I could have done without the John side of it, but I never felt like she had real feelings for him so it didn't really bother me. I didn't see him as an actual threat to her feelings for Rob. I'm hoping we get more books with Scarlet, she was fun to read about:) Awesome review!

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  7. I read the first chapter of this book but didn't venture much further than that. I've been meaning to pick it up and your review is propelling me too! I know what you mean about the dialect, I was surprised by it but it seems like a gradual thing to adjust to. Eeek to the love triangles though, especially since there's more than one?! I'm glad you overall enjoyed this book, Natalie. :)

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  8. I've read a lot of great reviews for Scarlet. As a fellow love triangle hater I'm glad to hear it was something you could handle and enjoyed the book over all in spite of it.
    I might take a chance and give this one a try.

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  9. *sighs* If the plot device ism't a love triangle to keep them apart, then it's the whole 'it's safer for you if we are not together but I will secretly stalk you to make sure you are safe' thing.

    WHY??? Oh, well. I would imagine in a one sitting read, you have to get accustomed to the dialect quickly. Glad it wasn't a problem.

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  10. I've actually been very pleasantly surprised by the positive reviews I've seen--for some reason I was so doubtful this would be good, but reactions like yours are definitely promising! A friend whose taste I trust said I'd enjoy it, so I'm definitely going to read it soon. Nicely reviewed, Nat. :)

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  11. I love The Outlaws of Sherwood too! It's the only book of Robin McKinley's that I've actually finished. And I also loved Scarlet. I didn't like the Little John romance though. It was really kind of weird.

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  12. While I'm not a huge fan of too much dialect in stories, this one really appeals. I have it on my shelf already & just need the time to read it! Big Robin Hood fan. :)

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  13. Too bad about the love triangle, but the book does sound so good! It had me at Scarlet being a female! Such an interesting twist right there! I'm so adding this to my wishlist!

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  14. This book sounds really great! I'm sorry to hear that the love triangle thing didn't really work for you. It usually doesn't work for me, either. But Scarlet sounds like a really good character, and the book itself looks really fascinating. Thanks for the great and well-written review, Natalie! :)

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  15. I REALLY want to read this one. I almost got it but didn't have a coupon and didn't want to pay full price. I have to say, I think I'll be caving and getting it somehow cause your review has me wanting to read it even more. It sounds amazing!

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  16. I so badly want to read this one because I absolutely love the tale of Robin Hood and ever since I found out about this book I have been thinking about how much I would probably enjoy it! I'm a little nervous about the love triangle because like you I don't really enjoy them in YA books... Thanks for the great review!

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  17. i hate unnecessary love triangles. It does sound interesting though. I was offered this for review, might just take them up on it now! :)

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  18. This one sounds rather delicious! I'm already reading every Phantom of the Opera retelling and Beauty and the Beast update I can find--might as well add Robin Hood-themed stories to the mix. :-)

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  19. I hate it when they add unnecessary love triangles! Totally takes away from the story. But glad to see you liked it for the most part :) Great review and I'm a new follower!

    Rabiah
    Confessions of a Readaholic

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  20. Wonderful review! I've been going back and forth about this book but I'll definitely have to give it a try. Though, I am pretty bored of love triangles lately!

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  21. I can't tell you how ecstatic I am that you really liked this book. It's one of my absolute favorites of this year. The love triangle didn't bother me at all, mostly because I didn't view it as one. I never really saw anyone else with Scarlet besides Robin, and that it just appeared to be her exploring what it means to have romantic feelings for someone and learning how to separate what's real from what's not. Gosh, I loved this book. I'm praying there's a sequel just because I loved it so much!

    Asher

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  22. Hah, I'm with you, Natalie. a girl can never get tired of Robin Hood. As a linguist, I actually adore it when authors get playful with language. The Knife of Never Letting Go was awesome that way, and Blood Red Road too, even though I really disliked the book itself.
    I've been hearing some pretty good opinions on this one and I really think I'll read it soon.
    Btw, I totally voted for you on IBBA. Pssst. :D

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  23. Robin Hood fans unite!! <3 Natalie, I'm so happy to be able to add you to my list of Bloggers Who Loved Scarlet list too -- I've been trying to get my hands on a copy for ages, but your review tells me that I should try a little bit harder! x) I'd probably have trouble with how Scarlet speaks too because I'm not the biggest fan of dialect, but at least you can get used to it after a while. And about Scarlet's mysterious past? I want to know what it is!

    Amazing review as always, Natalie! Unnecessary love triangle or not, I still can't wait to finally be able to read this cool Robin Hood tale! :) <3

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  24. I love Robin Hood. I am so sad I passed on this one when it was on NG. I have read some great reviews on this one, including yours. .i know it is good when you give it a four star rating, since you are a fair reviewer. Definitey picking this one up ;)

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  25. Yay! I'm so glad you were able to finally read this. And that you liked it so much. ;-) I'll have to check out The Outlaws of Sherwood, since anything Robin Hood related never gets old.

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  26. I was kind of up in the air on this one. I do enjoy Robin Hood stories. Sounds good, though! Awesome first sentence. Definitely going to pick this up. Great review :)

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  27. OH I WANT TO READ THIS ONE SO BADLY!!! Absolutely everything I read about it is just glowing and wonderful. I have read about the love triangles bothering people, but they typically don't tend to bother me all that much for some reason. At any rate, this is probably among the top three that I want to read the most right now! (I hate budgeting! A never-ending book budget would be just grand, ya know?)

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  28. I also hated the love triangle especially because the one guy just seemed to feel that Scarlet should like him because he was briefly interested in her in between his many flings. I want the more canon couple.

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  29. WOW.

    OK. SO. The VERY first review I read for Scarlet was a negative one. Girl just DIDN'T like it... and it seriously coloure my opinion of it... and I've not read a SINGLE bad one since... I kind of don't understand what I'm waiting for :S

    LOVED your review, LOVE the sound of it, and love triangles be damned, I'm going to keep an eye out for it. Sounds AMAZING, Natalie!

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