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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-10-30 16:47
Review: Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A.C. Gaughen


Will Scarlet is good at two things: stealing from the rich and keeping secrets - skills that are in high demand in Robin Hood's band of thieves, who protect the people of Nottingham from the evil sheriff. Scarlet's biggest secret of all is one only Robin and his men know...that she is posing as a thief; that the slip of a boy who is fast with sharp knives is really a girl.

The terrible events in her past that led Scarlet to hide her real identity are in danger of being exposed when the thief taker Lord Gisbourne arrives in town to rid Nottingham of the Hood and his men once and for all. As Gisbourne closes in and puts innocent lives at risk, Scarlet must decide how much the people of Nottingham mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles have the rare power to unsettle her. There is real honor among these thieves and so much more - making this a fight worth dying for.



Like the description says, Scarlet is an imaginative take on the Robin Hood legend, telling things from the point-of-view of a young girl posing as a boy in their band of thieves. And like all thieves, Scarlet is fleeing her past, a past filled with secrets that should they come to light, could destroy both Robin's group and Nottinghamshire as well.


What's Good: From the outset there's lots of showing not telling, slipping in teasers about Scarlet's past and her own innate goodness, and yes- her crush on a certain bandit leader. Throughout the story we're given cookie crumbs about Scar as the story progresses- maintaining the mystery and intrigue of her character. Gaughen does a good job of making you feel the different characters' own desperation of their situation at times, and firmly establishes Scarlet's motivations and perspective on things.


What's Bad: Scar's MarySue escapades: she's sure with a knife, got an eye for fat merchants when no else does (the boys can't even tell who to rob properly without her around), skillz enough to tell when a baby's turned in the womb, always knows how to break in and out a prison or a castle, etc. No explanation of how she acquired all these skills though- other than constantly repeating that she's been a thief... for all of three years. Yet Robin's as a seasoned war veteran with over ten years experience can't seem to plan half as well as this girl half his age.


The moments of suspense built up in the story crash like a lead balloon. At different points some of their friends and other locals are imprisoned, yet breaking them out is treated like another day's work. "Bob's imprisoned in the castle, you say? No problem; we'll break him out, oh... Tuesday after lunch? Guys? Tuesday it is, then!" And since they've been so good at it for so long, what's the point of even locking people up around here?


Neither Scar, her friend Much or anyone else should know anything about gunpowder; they don't even have guns yet, let alone actually calling it gunpowder. If anyone would have the faintest idea about it, it would be Robin from serving in the Crusades, and he really doesn't. And they certainly wouldn't come by it from scraping it off a cave wall- it's a chemical compound that has to be properly mixed.


Sir Guy of Gisbourne is a cheesy, two-dimensional villain who has nothing to do other than be a raving psychopath. Despite the reasons given for his presence he's only there because he's part of the legend, and that's it. He also wields a claymore- a two-handed Scottish sword- so well he has Robin on the ropes even after Gisbourne's been stabbed twice in his sword arm. If that ain't enough, how about the fact that at this point in history claymores won't even be invented for another fifty years or so. Gunpowder without guns and swords that don't exist- an excellent job of research by the author. And this being a YA novel is no excuse; if anything she should've worked harder to get things right since teens reading this wouldn't know much more than generalities.


Being a YA novel in this post-Twilight age, there's a love triangle dumped into the story. And like most love triangles that serve no real purpose not only is it forced, once Scarlet's true identity is revealed it's also pointless since you know how it's going to turn out.


The finale is rushed, convoluted, completely over the top and ridiculously bloody with a body count like something out of Game of Thrones. Also it's the only part where any real tension is generated but it gets lost in all the gratuitous, almost comical violence.


What's Left: Lots of flavor and a decent feel for the times- Nottinghamshire is a dirty, hardscrabble place in the wake of the sheriff's tyranny over the populace. Many of the lesser characters help to round things out, showing the desperation and sense of hope Robin and the group gives them.


Scarlet is a fun read overall, like a fresh twist on an old story often is. But it falls prey to too many cliché's and some laziness. But there's room left open for sequels, so here's to hoping for some tighter storytelling.

3/5 stars
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text 2017-12-26 00:26
Free today
Interest - Kevin Gaughen

Free on Amazon


Read this about a year ago. Enjoyed it.

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review 2016-02-07 01:31
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
Scarlet - A.C. Gaughen

Genre: Historical Romance


Year Published: 2012

Number of Pages: 287 pages

Date Read: 1/10/2016



Series: Scarlet #1

Publisher:  Walker & Company




You know what? I never would have thought that I would find an alternative story to the popular “Robin Hood” tale. I mean, I have seen many different versions of “Robin Hood” being played out on television and movies and yet, A.C. Gaughen’s “Scarlet” still remains to be one of the most original retellings of “Robin Hood” I had ever read!


Will Scarlet is a part of Robin Hood’s band of thieves and is pretty handy with using knives to take down the enemies. However, what everyone except for Robin Hood and his men do not know is that Will Scarlet is really a woman! It turns out that Will Scarlet had a tragic past that she refuses to tell anyone about, especially to Robin Hood and John Little. One day however, the Sheriff of Nottingham calls upon Lord Gisbourne to take down Robin Hood and his band of thieves and it seems that Scarlet’s past will soon catch up with her with Gisbourne back in town.


Wow! Now, I will admit that I was a little hesitant about reading this book at first because I was not sure what to expect from this book and I did not know that it was a retelling of “Robin Hood.” So, after I read this book, I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome of this book and how it retold the story of “Robin Hood” to feature a more capable and heroic female protagonist! A.C. Gaughen did a fantastic job at retelling this story of Robin Hood and his band of thieves by featuring a strong female protagonist in Will Scarlet and the love triangle between her, Robin Hood and John Little. It was great seeing Will Scarlet fighting against her enemies by using her knives to stab them and the action sequences where Robin Hood and his band of thieves fight off the Sheriff’s men were well written and literally had me sitting on the edge of my seat to see if Robin Hood and his band thieves were able to defeat the Sheriff’s men! I also loved the way that A.C. Gaughen wrote each character, especially Will Scarlet and John Little. I loved the fact that Will Scarlet is capable of taking care of herself when it comes to fighting since it shows that she is not your stereotypical damsel in distress and I also loved the fact that she speaks her mind about what she truly wants in life instead of letting people make the decisions for her. I also loved the character of John Little as he is shown to be a bit flirtatious with Scarlet, but he also has a heart of gold and is willing to protect everyone in the band of thieves at the cost of his own life.


The reason why I took off half a point from the rating is because I felt that the romance in this book was a little annoying to sit through. I usually do not do well with love triangles in books because they are often done poorly and they make you wish that you were not rooting for anyone to hook up in the story. I got a bit fed up with Scarlet not making up her mind about whether or not she wants to spend her life with John Little or with Robin Hood as she spent the majority of the book going back and forth on who she wants to be with. Also, I was a bit put off by how Robin Hood was portrayed in this story as it seemed like he was too moody and he did not have that cheerful personality he usually does in other adaptations and I wanted his character to be fleshed out a bit more than just being a moody character who does not know how to show his feelings for Scarlet.


Overall, “Scarlet” is a truly interesting read for anyone who wants to read a creative retelling of “Robin Hood” with a strong female protagonist!


 Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog



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review 2015-12-14 00:00
Scarlet - A C Gaughen This review was originally posted on Bookish Things & More

Quickie Review

Scarlet was a reread for me.  The first time I read it, I wasn't in the frame of mind for a historical based book.  I decided to give it another go, and I'm happy I did.

I really like Scarlet's character.  She's opinionated, and doesn't let the guys boss her around.  She does have a habit of going off on her own when she's upset, but I do that too.  I was able to connect with her.

The mystery of who she is was something that I loved.  You get subtle little hints, and I like when breadcrumbs are left for me to have that aha moment.  There are aspects of a romance, but it doesn't overshadow Scarlet's struggle.

There is a ton of action.  I mean, it is a Robin Hood retelling.  We see some pretty awesome sword fights, and witty banter.  (My favorite parts)

I need to get the next book in the series so I can see what happens.
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review 2015-09-01 07:59
Sorry for the probably incoherent dribbling of words. hopefully you get it
Lion Heart: A Scarlet Novel - A.C. Gaughen

WHAT!? You can't end a whole series there! What's wrong with you? did you just go....er thats good enough they got the gist. NO! I want need the rest!!
Does the king come back? Do they have babies? Did Winchester and Margaret get married? How did Elenor react to her son/the prince loosing his shit? and in front of everyone!? What happened to Prince John afterwards? and poor David!?

[spoiler]why would you kill him off? he was so wonderful [/spoiler]

- plus i felt his character had secrets to explore! Did they involve Allan? Also who is this Allan character? why don't i recall him from the previous book? How am i suppose to live without more Scar and Rob stories?

Alright I'll stop with my whinging - this was truly remarkable read and I'm grateful I was introduced to this incredible series (thanks again Joan for pointing it out to me)
I absolutely love the play on history. I unfortunately don't know much about what actually happened during this time period but from my understanding the author (A.C. Gaughen - who did an excellent job in the re-telling) stuck to a good chunk of whats described in history books but managed to make it much more interesting and compelling for people like myself (people unwilling to read the usual history books cause they can be a little stuffy!) with little changes here and there when she had to make the book more fun for her short attention span reader. I for one loved all 3 books! The characters leapt off the pages and caught my heart with their wonderful quirks - I recall crying and laughing more than once from them. The world building was spectacular, that forest! I know all forest in general look alike and there for not much imagination in needed but this forest made me crave being outdoors, I just wanted to run through the bush jumping mossy logs, climbing trees, swimming scandalously nude in pools of water. It really was beautifully written and made me feel at times that i truly was Scar, just loving the simple beauty of freedom.
Shame her life is for the most part sucky as hell - but then i suppose she wouldn't make the same character i adored the whole way through without all those horrible events. Just a shame we didn't really get to picture her and Robin happy together. The book ended in the middle of a fight for christ sakes! oh well still a really good series even if this wasn't my favorite book (as you should know by now i think it could do with some more pages, I'm a demanding reader like that! lol)

Well its almost 2.30am and i have school work tomorrow so bed time for me.

What to read now....


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