Review: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Published Date UK: June 7th 2012
From: Publishers
My rating:
5 out of 5
Thanks to Emma at Bloomsbury for allowing me to read this book and give my honest opinion
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
AC Gaughen hasn't just written an extraordinary book named Scarlet, a retelling of the Robin Hood fables; she's put her own spin on it and made it something vastly different to anything I've read before. Type in Robin Hood into any good book database and hundreds of titles will greet your eyes. Mostly everyone in the world knows of the stories, has seen the movies/tv series or read other books relating to the adventures of Robin and his Merry Men. Was he an Earl, was he just an ordinary man who adopted a name and gives people hope? The answer is: no one knows. History, even in the present day, reveals very little so it’s up to the storytellers to keep us entertained with adventures of a small band of people who robbed the rich and give it back to the people. Scarlet does exactly that, with gusto!

Scarlet as a character hero is exciting, flawed, in awe of the people around her, and truly terrified of someone discovering her true identity. She hides her feelings well, but the pain and suffering of her past is difficult to forget sometimes. She has a secret that she's kept hidden away for two years. In that time, she’s joined Robin and now fights for a greater cause. She's managed to build a great rapport with the other three vagabonds in the band. John is like a big cuddly older brother. Much comes across as a weaker young brother who needs looking after. And Rob is someone Scarlet aspires to be, but never can. She has enormous admiration for all of them but she keeps her distance at the same time.

Her disguise as a boy is so convincing that only a few know of her true gender. Scarlet herself, in her complexities, is almost androgynous. She's hates being a woman and all that it perceives, weak and with no voice. Women in those days had little value except to be bartered off to a husband of good means with no choice in the yay or nay of it.

Eventually John starts to notice changes in her. Maybe her femininity and the draw of her 'funny' eyes lures him in and soon he's making a play. Scarlet has no experience with men and when she's lived in such surroundings with a higher cause that she has to battle with every minute of every day, she's incredibly unsure of whether she likes his advances or not. What does it actually mean to be in love? How do you know? Her feelings for Rob are confusing and at times Rob can be harsh and unkind when he addresses her, other times he lets his guard down and his soft words are meant only for her. She constantly fights inside, hoping for something more but Rob can never open up enough for her to see his true feelings. However, John is someone that will let her in openly, and his arm around her and occasional kiss makes her feel wanted on some base level.

The story captures the hearts and minds of the people of Edwinstowe, Worksop, and Nottingham. The Sheriff has finally had enough of Robin picking off the rich and brings in the legendary thief taker, Guy of Gisburne. His antics and methods are extremely horrible. Rob and the gang are surprised when Scarlet is more terrified to hear that news. Soon they all realise that Guy and Scarlet have previous history, but it isn't one that Scarlet wants to divulge. She's a thief, a liar and a good one. When confronted she fobs them off with a vague story that settles them but only for a while.

This fast-paced and extremely likable book is full of adventures with fun moments and serious situations alike. The dialogue is fun and mostly written in common-speak, and captures the middle ages wonderfully. Young adults who love adventure and coming of age romance will not be disappointed as the characters finally open up to each other as the story continues. Eventually Scarlet reveals herself and makes the ultimate sacrifice for Rob and the people; she does it gallantly and having turned full circle from the beginning, knows it’s only her true self that can save the day.

Scarlet is a must read and comes out on 7th June 2012 in the UK
-CB x
 About A.C. Gaughen
 I am shamelessly addicted to staying up far too late (it feels like stealing time), diet coke (it burns so good), Scotland (stupid country stole my heart and won't give it back. Interpol has been ineffective for prosecution) and thieves (so I guess I'm not that mad at Scotland).

Want to know more? Just ask!
You can reach A.C. Gaughen here:

New YA Book Publications - week ending 25th May 2012

Week Ending 25th May

** HOT PICK  **

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One Planet.  Two Worlds.

Population: Human ... 7 billion.
Others ... unknown.

When 14-year-old Char­lie Blake wakes up sweat­ing and gasp­ing for air in the mid­dle of the night, he knows it is hap­pen­ing again. This time he wit­nesses a bru­tal mur­der. He's afraid to tell any­one. No one would believe him ... because it was a dream. Just like the one he had four years ago - the day before his dad died.

Char­lie doesn't know why this is hap­pen­ing. He would give any­thing to have an ordi­nary life. The prob­lem: he doesn't belong in the world he knows as home.

He belongs with the others


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