Review: Scarlet

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: ScarletScarlet by A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #1
Published by Walker BFYR on February 14, 2012
Genres: Adventure, Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Historical, Retelling, Romance
Pages: 292
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

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.

Scarlet is one of the books I have been completely desperate to read, since the moment I heard it was being published. A reenvisioning of a legend! A strong heroine! How could this fail? Well, in the past, a lot of the books I most wanted to read turned out to be really disappointing and awful. As a result, I held myself back, prepared myself to be disappointed.

Guess what? Scarlet totally was not disappointing. At all. I maintained my skepticism for a while, but Scarlet completely won me over. I had a lingering concern through most of the book, namely what exactly Gaughen was going to do with Maid Marian’s character. Thankfully, what she did with the character was awesome.

What a fantastic way to retell the story of Robin Hood. Making one of the characters a girl changes so many dynamics, improves them in my opinion. Even better, Gaughen was able to make all of these changes without greatly altering the legend itself; it still fits within the parameters set by the accepted tale. That is seriously impressive. If I could, I would give Gaughen a high five.

Warming up to Scarlet took me some time too. At first, her dialect of English irritated me and she just was not that likable with her secrets and prickly-ness. As the book went on, I found myself loving the character more and more. The more I knew about her, the more I liked her, because Gaughen did such a fantastic job explaining why she were this way. Besides, in what world would I not respect a girl who’s so strong and able to protect herself? In a time when women were not allowed rights or independence, she seized them in the only way she knew how.

The romance in Scarlet is amazing too, because Gaughen really made me wonder which guy would be better for Scar. Just like Scar wonders, although she also wonders if she wants a guy. Love triangles only work if the winner of the battle is not apparent. The romantic parts were really well-written, creating a sense of longing and a lack of confidence about the correct choice. They also weren’t sappy, which is fantastic.

Most exciting is the fact that the door is wide open for a sequel. So far as I know there isn’t one in the works, but one probably is. Just in case it isn’t, I want to put my voice out here in the internet saying “Please write one, A. C. Gaughen! Please!”

4 responses to “Review: Scarlet”

  1. kohlo says:

    I just had to leave a comment on this entry! I picked this book up because I read your review on this blog and I’m loving it so far (I’m about halfway through). One of the things I really like about it is how Scar has a distinctive voice that carries on through the narration. It reminded me a bit of Temple from The Reapers Are The Angels.

    Stories with people posing as the opposite gender really intrigue me, it’s a shame they’re so hard to come by! (if you have any recs regarding this genre, please please please throw them my way!)

  2. Christina says:


    So happy to hear that!

    I actually have a category for stories like that. Check out the label gender bender. It’s probably mostly manga (that’s where the term came from), because they seem to like that storyline a lot more in Japan than they do here, but just watch for it on reviews. I use it when someone pretends to be the other gender. Hope that helps!

  3. I love this review! If I win your 100 follower contest, this is definitely the book I want:)

    • Christina says:

      It’s so amazingly good. If I could choose one of the books from my 100 follower contest, I would get this one. I’m going to need to get a copy for myself at some point…

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