We’re officially entering the month, readers! After the post dedicate to new releases, I’m here with a brief review about a book that I read some time ago and I want to share with you what I think.
The author has become a little more know last year thanks to her new fantasy series. But in this case we’re going into a historical retelling.
This one is also an olde review I wrote on my italian blog, but since I’m planning to finish soon the third and last book, I decided that is time to bring my opinion on the first two novels here.
It has been a bit since I read this novel and I listed down all the trigger warning I can remember of. In case you have something to add or correct, please write it in the comments.
TW: poor oppression, violence, death, incarceration, torture, abuse against women
Author: A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #1
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.
I was attired by this book thanks to two things: gender bender and female Robin Hood. But the gender bender concerned only one character and no, there was no female Hood. And that’s my bad, because this is clearly illustrated by the blurb. But I’m a naive reader and I purchased it waiting for what I knew about the novel.
Not that this was a problem. I’m a reader that is easy to adapt and read everything that passes by their hands. And this time I got a Will Scarlet that is a Scarlet but a woman.
I didn’t start it waiting for a masterpiece and in the end it was what I expected, meaning my three start usual and cute. There’s a good mix of action, secret, points about how men tends to do not take woman into consideration or able to do certain things.
All along an easy to get angry protagonist that I like.
The plot was a bit weak, because I kinda knew the story. I mean, I was expecting that one of the narrative was about helping the poor people of the country. The most interesting part was about Scarlet’s secret. Also, the book started as really light but turned really really dark by the end.
That was a thing I wasn’t expecting and also explored the theme of abuse, when perpetrated by a man against a woman.
A thing that really didn’t make enthusiast is that some character are totally useless. They don’t really contribute to the plot, in my opinion. I’m talking about people like Tuck or another member of Robin’s gang, Much. Like, yes, they have plot utility but the book could have also survived without them.
Now, with some characters I didn’t have a nice relationship. We have John, that looks really superficial ,womanizer that relate to girl as use and goodbye (since we don’t get much of any feelings about them and him in the book from the girls perspective, and the way he speaks of them, I’m gonna assume that), kinda insensitive, terrible humor and randomly chauvinist. To be honest, if I was Scarlet, I would have punched him one time yes and the other time yes again.
Robin was my favorite for a long time, until the end of the book. He called the protagonist names, treating her like a sub-human, and his behaviour get excused because “he’s trying to protect her”. As I would say: huge mass of bullshit. Historical credibility, or what get used to excuse abhorrent behaviours, is not a good reasons to let Scarlet forgive him, in my basic opinion.
Talking about the historical part, I think the author did a goof job. I felt like I was in that time, and I appreciated the fact that protagonists have an actual religion and practice, thinking about what will be of their soul and such.
Scarlet may strike with this background but at the same time fits perfectly. We always knew that unconventional people existed in every century and she’s one of them, asking herself moral questions, ready to help others, takes heavy decision and sacrifice, a fighter, ready to jump into anger, spit on the soil and launch blades.
Also, she doesn’t expect the others to save here but to do it herself. That’s why it was profoundly irritating to see John and Robin argue over protecting her, sometimes like she wasn’t even there or a damsel.
The end had another surprise that I was not expecting, and I’ll give you a little preview about the second novel: it’s dark and sad.