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.
Hardcover, 292 pages
Four stars: A thrilling and surprising retelling of the famous Robin Hood story!
The small hooded figure melts in and out of the shadows at the busy market. Unseen, Will Scarlet nicks an apple here, some trinkets there, a few rolls, anything she can grab. Will Scarlet is actually a girl marauding as a boy. Scarlet is an accomplished thief, but she doesn't steal to feed herself. Scarlet takes food from those who can afford it and gives it to the hungry, poor, down trodden citizens of Nottingham. King Richard is still away fighting in the Crusades while his kingdom suffers under the rule of his brother Prince John. The Sheriff of Nottingham is taxing the people out of house and home, leaving them desperate for a hero. Thankfully, the fates delivered a few heroes: Robin Hood, John Little, Will Scarlet and Much. This band of four outlaws are the only hope for the people of Nottingham. Things turn from bad to worse when the Sheriff hires a ruthless and merciless thief taker to hunt down Robin Hood and his merry men. Will Rob, John, Scarlet and Much evade those who hunt them and save the people of Nottingham?
What I Liked:
- I have long adored Robin Hood. This story has captured the hearts and imaginations of people for hundreds of years. Who was Robin Hood? Did he really exist? Scholars can't agree on that, but no matter as we continue to embrace and love this larger than life character. I was pleasantly surprised at this modern day retelling. It takes the famous hero and story and adds some unique twists, first by making one of the merry men, Will Scarlet, into a girl. There are plenty of other surprises along the way that breathed new life into the legend. If you are a fan of Robin Hood, definitely pick up this book and enjoy the fresh and imaginative refashioning of the classic story. I was most pleased with this version.
- It took me a bit of time to warm up to Will Scarlet. She is rough around the edges and self deprecating. It is apparent that she has suffered some heart break in her past and something terrible drove her to a life of thievery. She hates herself and her life. The only thing that keeps her hanging on is her bond with Robin Hood and the suffering of the people of Nottingham. As the story moves along, I grew to understand this troubled girl and my heart went out to her. I admired her strength, courage and sheer tenacity. Scarlet is a fierce fighter, even reckless, willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of those she protects. By the end, I was a big fan of Scarlet.
- The romance is terrific. It comes at you in snippets. You think there is something more developing and then one of the players runs their mouth off and shuts it down. This is a romance that is a bit antagonistic and it is a romance that blooms between two friends. It takes the entire book to get there, but when it does it it magic! I was surprised and swept away by the big twist! In the end, I thought it was just perfect.
- Aside from Will Scarlet actually being a girl, the rest of story stays mostly true to the beloved classic. The danger, action, romance, and adventure are all there. Robin Hood is dashing and heroic as always, while John Little plays the role of the rascal sidekick. Much is the maimed villager who joins the band, he has a big heart and is courageous. Friar Tuck is always there to lend a hand and help hide the band of merry men. The sheriff is despicable and evil as he brings horrible suffering down on the town. I liked that the story rang true to the original while adding in a few exciting surprises.
- I loved that after a terrifying and thrilling climax, this book draws to a sweet and satisfying conclusion with no cliffhanger or unanswered questions. It could easily be a stand alone, but there are two more books coming that will follow up on the one loose end. Lucky us!
And The Not So Much:
- This book is told through Scarlet's eyes and it is mainly her story. I didn't feel for the first portion of the book that Robin Hood and Little John were fleshed out and well developed. However, as the story progressed, I got to know them better. I was eager to know, though, how the little band came together? How did Rob, John and Much meet up? I wanted just a bit more history and background on the merry men. Hopefully in the next installment more details will be forthcoming and the characters will continue to develop.
- I think the one thing that most readers complain about is Scarlet's speech. To make it seem like Scarlet is an uneducated ruffian, the author utilizes a crude dialect. This didn't quite work for me because it is mostly Scarlet using were in the place of was. It is annoying and it does take some time to get used to, but for the most part the rest of the dialect is correct with just a few grammatical errors tossed in here and there. Later in the book, the reader learns a bit more about Scarlet's crude speech and it makes sense. Still it was my least favorite aspect of the book, and I hope in the next book it will be done away with.
- Scarlet reveals most of the secrets regarding how she came to be a boy, but I was curious as to how she learned to become such a skilled fighter. It definitely wasn't something she learned growing up so did she learn her skills training with Robin Hood?
- Prince John is nothing more than a mention. I was expecting a bit more on his character. I am hoping to learn more about him in the next book.
Scarlet is a thrilling and imaginative retelling of the famous Robin Hood tale. I loved that this book featured a feisty, courageous girl masquerading as a boy. This book has everything you love in the original along with some exciting twists. If you are a fan of the beloved classic, definitely grab this one! I highly recommend it.
"I have done so many unforgivable things in my life. Don't let failing to save you be another."
"We do what we do because there's something we can do about it. Things like 'how long' and 'what if' aren't part of that. It's about the hope, not the horror."
"I know what it's like to look into your past and see nothing but your mistakes, he said."
"There are poor men out there," she told me. "And rich ones. Rich men never wait for nothing, so why would they be good? Good men are poor, because they have to count on others' kindnesses."
I borrowed a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.