Sunday, July 8, 2012

Scarlet, by A.C. Gaughen- Review

From Goodreads:
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.

It was the last night in New York City, and all through the Javits, not a creature was stirring not even a blogger.  I needed another book like I needed another hole in the head, and where did I find myself? Why a signing at Books of Wonder of course!

It was the 2K12 debut group signing and since I had read two of the books already (Megan Bostics Never 18 and Meredith Zeitlin's Freshman Year and other Unnatural Disasters) and I had a hotel room full of books I still had to pack, my intention was to enjoy the talk and then head out for dinner and a quick browse at the Strand.  However, Scarlet was singing a siren song to me, A.C. Gaughen was funny and lovely, and there was a rumour circulating that Holly Black had some glowing words for it the night before at her signing.  So I bowed down to fate, bought a shiny new copy and got it signed.  Boy am I glad I did!

For starters, the book was awesome sauce.  Total, unadulterated, kick-ass girl, fun.  One of a very small number of books that appeals to my inner Tamora Pierce fan girl self.  But to improve the situation exponentially, it now has a fab personalization, possibly one of the best I've seen to date.  That's right, Never be afraid to fight like a girl!  Be still my Tamora Pierce-loving heart.

Gaughen had a really clever angle on her Robin Hood re-telling, and although you're thinking, yup, I read the blurb- Will's really a girl, I'm going to tease you with the info that there's more to be discovered as you get further in.  No spoilers! But I have to moon-about a bit at just how cunningly she pulled it all together.  I mean it left me with one of those full on *gasp!* moments, which are exceedingly rare in reading, and I'd venture to say, even more rare with Debut authors.

Now I've probably said too much, right?  Forget I said anything, OMG!! Did you see that spider over there??!! That one!! RIGHT THERE!!!! Opps, stepped on it. Oh well, we could use the rain.

Now, what was I talking about again? Oh right, Scarlet.

Besides great plot, and a fantastic kick ass heroine, Gaughen uses some great language to set the mood. I love a book that's not afraid to get its hands dirty in slang and unique voices.
I open the door to Friar Tuck's and the air fair slapped me 'cross the face.  It were too hot and stank of beer and men, and I smiled.  It were rough, but none here would turn me out for being a thief and a liar.  I slipped in the door and moved quiet past Tuck, the innkeep, and went into the barroom.  It were heaving with bodies, laughs, and mugs slinging 'bout.  The lasses pushed through the lot, using a smile or slap as needed to get their own way.
Between Scarlet's commoner tongue, way with knives and hopelessness with boys I was thoroughly charmed, but Gaughen also wrote in a cast of strong secondary characters and two spectacular villains.  Sherif Nottingham will forever be ingrained in my mind as Alan Rickman shouting "And cancel CHRISTMAS!", but Gaughen has managed to eek out her own Nottingham moments which won't soon be forgotten, not to mention the creepy thief taker Gisbourne.

In the end I loved this book, I ripped through it in under 24 hours and I'll be forever disappointed if her publishers don't buy a book two from her.  This is a series I'm willing to see through for quite some time, it has incredible potential.  If you haven't read Scarlet yet then wait no longer.  Pull up you summer reading seat of choice (lakeside chair, hammock, back yard patio sofa, floaty in the pool, they all work), and dig in.

Scarlet, by A.C Gaughen
Published by Walker Children's, February 14th 2012
Buy Scarlet on Amazon


  1. This sounds like a fab book and now I'm going to be doing that version of Rickman in my head all day!

  2. Do you think there will be another one? I just read it and loved it but the ending was left her with the option of continuing into a series or not.

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