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Will in Scarlet

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  1,000 Ratings  ·  276 Reviews
This reimagining of the Robin Hood legend tells the story of the young boy behind the bandit hero's rise to fame.
Will Shackley is the son of a lord, and though just thirteen, he’s led a charmed, protected life and is the heir to Shackley House, while his father is away on the Third Crusade with King Richard the Lionheart.
But with King Richard’s absence, the winds of
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published September 25th 2013)
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Oct 09, 2013 Liviania rated it really liked it
I enjoy fairytales and folklore retold, so of course I'm a fan of the Robin Hood legend. Luckily, people retell it all the time. (See current Robin Hood books SCARLET and LADY THIEF by A.C. Gaughen.)

Matthew Cody's WILL IN SCARLET takes several liberties with the legend, to good effect. It doesn't just feel like a checking off of rote setpieces. The eponymous Will is actually William Shackley, a noble heir displaced by the machinations of Guy of Gisbourne. The first bit, about Will's backstory, g
I'll admit off the bat that I am a Robin Hood fan. I've read quite a few different Robin Hood stories. Stories with Robin as a boy, a girl, a grown man, or just a cover story for someone else entirely. But this book comes at it from another character altogether. William Shackley is the heir to Shackley Castle and while reluctant to assume lordly duties, expects things to remain as they are until his father returns with King Richard from the Crusades. But when Richard's imprisonment becomes known ...more
Aug 18, 2015 Tammy rated it liked it
I enjoy a tale retold from a different point of view, and lore is, by nature, fictional. I'm a little put off by this one because too much of what has traditionally been Robin's story has been given to a relatively minor character in the old tales. It's a good read and stands on its own, but I'm siding with Robin Hood.
Mississippi Library Commission
What makes a person a legend? Why does the world remember some and others fade away? Is it all just collective forgetfulness and wishful thinking? Matthew Cody explores the Robin Hood character in a whole new light in Will in Scarlet: what if Robin Hood weren't actually Robin Hood at all? We had a ball reading this one; it's always fun to see old friends in a new way.
Jun 16, 2014 Jessica rated it it was amazing
I adored absolutely everything about Will in Scarlet. That, my friends, is getting harder and harder for me to say. It's not often anymore that a book completely sweeps me off my feet. That it enchants me so wholly, that I'm saddened when it ends. Matthew Cody's brilliant reimagining of Robin Hood did just that, and I'm thrilled! Let the gushing commence.

First off, this is a much different take on the Robin Hood tale. While all the essential elements are there, the reader is taken on a new journ
Sep 02, 2013 Soup rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, netgalley
ARC via NetGalley

Solid and ultimately relatively* satisfying retelling of how Robin Hood came to be. Robin Hood isn’t a new topic for YA or adult fiction and, unsurprisingly, nothing new is created here. There’s the trope of the boy-on-the-verge-of-manhood, the well-trod trope of the girl-pretending-to-be-a-boy-in-Robin’s-band (this time it’s Much), and of course the noble-who-discovers-his-privilege-is-built-on-the-backs-of –the-starving-poor. All these common themes are carried off relatively
Mar 19, 2014 Brenna rated it really liked it
Will in Scarlet is an imaginative retelling of the Robin Hood legend from a new perspective--that of the young Will Scarlet, a boy of fourteen who's growing up as merry old England is falling apart under the rule of Prince John Lackland.

Like all Matthew Cody's books, this one is smart and funny. It's an accessible middle-grade read that's both action-packed and meaningful. Beneath all the goofy fun, there's a very serious undercurrent about the nature of identity and how we define ourselves. Mos
Josephine  the Rereader
The 13 year old heir of Shackley Manor, William isn't eager to leave his days of mischief and play behind. But one fateful night, when December's cold is so deep that wolves are pushed to desperation, Will Scarlet becomes Lord William, Wolf-slayer. Leading the entire serfdom doesn't seem so terrible, eve ig it is a bit boring. As questions come to the castle from a pretender testing his uncle Lord Geoffrey for his loyalty. Will knows that King Richard and his father will be home soon, putting an ...more
Nov 14, 2013 Lanie rated it really liked it
so good, althought i think some more work could have gone into the cover art. its not eye grabbing enough. i know, i know, one should never judge a book by its cover, but that is pretty much impossible and we all know it. i loved will he was realistic and much was so awesome. she reminded me of scarlet from the Scarlet buts but much less . . . .well, bitchy. it was a nice spin on the story, if a common one. all hood stories now a days seem to contain a girl disguising her self as a boy. heres a ...more
Middle grade readers can hitch a ride back in time to merry old England, filled with medieval castles, sword fights and thieves who rob from the rich and give to the poor! Sound familiar? Will in Scarlet by Matthew Cody is filled with adventure, danger and larger than life action as a thirteen-year-old boy must flee for his life from his father’s castle as it is overrun by treacherous and scheming villains looking to gain power, wealth and favor in the eyes of the crown. Young William is capture ...more
Jul 22, 2013 Val rated it really liked it
There are so many Robin Hood tales that have been written over the years. Will in Scarlet stands out as a great book for middle graders. The books tells the story of Will Scarlet like you have never seen him before.. a rich noble. His story is the main focus of the book in this coming of age Robin Hood tale.

Told in more of a historical fiction fashion, we get a glimpse of life for both Nobles and peasants during the crusade. While King Richard is off fighting an almost endless war his people ar
Jun 30, 2013 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-reading
Matthew Cody has created a new Robin Hood tale. This story about William Shackley, who comes to be known as Will Scarlett, is presented with a new perspective. There is little of the romantic notion we hold about Robin Hood to be found in this tale. Instead this is a story about how England might have been during those feudal times, and the brutality of life is quite clear. A band of Merry Men living in a forest is not exactly the picture Cody paints in his story.

We meet Will while his is still
Jun 14, 2013 Wendy rated it really liked it
I really enjoy books about famous fictional heroes that aren't actually about the famous fictional heroes.

Will in Scarlet is a Robin Hood story told first and foremost through the eyes of the young lord, William Shackley. Later, the voice of Much, the miller's daughter turned son, is added. Their stories and the paths that lead them to the Merry Men of Sherwood Forest shape the lore around the infamous Robin Hood. But while we get a glimpse into the wanted bandit, it's Will and Much who the read
Jul 01, 2013 Ionia rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. I like to read middle grade fantasy as it is some of the most imaginative reading material there is. This book is certainly no exception.

I was impressed with this for a couple of main reasons:

I didn't feel that the author spoke down to the intended audience. The story has a very traditional Robin Hood feel when it comes to the way the dialogue is written and I thought it was intelligent enough for an adult to keep entertained with. That was a nice change.

Secondly, the book
Sep 28, 2013 Cheryl rated it liked it
Will Shackley is the son of Lord Shackley. Will's father is accompanying King Richard. Will's uncle has a nickname for Will. It is Will Scarlet. Because whenever Will was in trouble he would turn crimson. So his nickname is a play on his troublemaking ways and his name.

Sir Guy of Gisborne is King John's main man. He visits the Shackley house. An attack takes place and Will's uncle is killed. Will escapes into the woods. There he meets the Merry Men.

This book still had all my favorite character
Sarah Eisele
Aug 27, 2013 Sarah Eisele rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s, netgalley
In this retelling of the Robin Hood legend, Matthew Cody focuses on Will Shackley, the protected son and heir of a wealthy lord. Will's father is away with King Richard the Lionheart, fighting in the Third Crusade, and with the cat -- I mean king -- away, the mice are beginning to play. Whispers of treason are heard throughout England. Will's charmed life has not prepared him for the power struggles and machinations erupting in King Richard's absence -- including in his own Shackley House. Will ...more
May 27, 2016 Alex rated it really liked it
Shelves: work-reviews
Everything I know about Robin Hood I learned from Loony Tunes, Men In Tights, and Disney. So I was reluctant to read this historical fiction title based off of a character that I couldn’t readily recall from one of my three Robin Hood sources. Will is a little lordling, reluctantly learning what it means for him to be a lord of a house. His father is off in foreign lands with King Richard, and Prince John and his lackeys are trying to take advantage of this fact. They come to kill his family and ...more
May 08, 2014 Mackenzi rated it it was ok
Dear Robin Hood retellings,

You have to be more than just a Robin Hood retelling. You have to have a plot too.

Love, M
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
This is a very satisfying re-imagining of the Robin Hood legend, an origin story. I really enjoyed the audio book. It's read by the star of Grease 2, but don't judge! He is excellent at voices.
Pretty Wit
Oct 26, 2016 Pretty Wit rated it really liked it
Loved this story! A cool twist on Robin Hood.
Liz Friend
Apr 02, 2014 Liz Friend rated it really liked it
The story: One moment, Will is the son of a nobleman and heir to the castle. The next, his uncle is murdered, his mother flees into hiding, and Will is nearly killed in an ambush. He survives to swear revenge on the man responsible for all these misfortunes: Sir Guy of Gisborne, traitor to the crown and his uncle's killer. Surprisingly, when Will finds himself hiding out with a band of outlaws, he finds there may be more honor among thieves than among the nobles of his own class. Take Rob the Dr ...more
Anne Beardsley
Not "the boy behind the Robin Hood stories" (I would have enjoyed reading that book), but "the boy whose life crucially intersected with that of Robin Hood, changing both their lives"...less snappy as a phrase but interesting to read about.

Mostly it's the story of a young lord, Will Shackleton, who loses everything at the hands of a first-class villain. He even ends up a prisoner of a band of outlaws led by the ruthless Gilbert Whitehand. At first he lives for revenge, then he struggles just for
Jan 18, 2017 Kylie added it
Shelves: middle-school, blog, j-col
This middle grade take on the Robin Hood story follows Will Scarlet.

Recommended grade level: 4-7

Pages: 272 (for ISBN 9780375868955)

Genre(s) and keywords: adventure, historical fiction

Tone/Style: folktale

Pace: leisurely to moderate

Topics: Robin Hood, medieval society, thieves, hunting, outlaws

Themes: revenge, redemption

Who will like this book?: This book blends action with personal drama and a little bit of politics in a way that isn’t too heavy or difficult to digest. It’s a good choice for youn
Ally Goodwin
Read this book because it hadn't circulated in two years. I enjoyed it as an adult; but i have an interest in Robin Hood and the time "he lived" Not really sure how much children will enjoy this, could bump it to YA but again not sure of the audience. Very realistic, well told story
Mar 02, 2017 Lynn rated it it was amazing
I wasn't sure about the book when I started. It seemed overly "wordy" but then it took off and I couldn't put it down! Great, fresh telling of the story before Robin Hood!
Ismael Garcia
Let me just tell you that I was so close to be a complete jerk and right this review in Japanese but
I didn't because one it would take to long and two 私は別の言語で書き込みを吸います and I'm very sure that righting in a language that your teacher doesn't know is "get in trouble" worth. Now moving on from that side note let me just tell you that this book review has or is going to have a ton of spoilers
and maybe some puns if I can think of any good ones that aren't of used. So if you aren't a fan of spoilers
Dec 18, 2014 Jamie rated it really liked it
Will Shackley is living amid the turbulent times of Prince John’s regency over his brother’s kingdom. When one the Prince’s pet lords starts coming around and dropping not too subtle hints that Will’s family should throw in their support against King Richard, the agent’s servant is murdered and it is ordered that Will, the accused, should be sent to the castle for his trial. But the family are not fools and know Will would be used as a hostage against them. Will and his mother flee only to becom ...more
Lisa Wolf
Oct 10, 2013 Lisa Wolf rated it it was amazing
In this exciting middle grade adventure story, Robin Hood takes a backseat to young Will Scarlet, born the son of a nobleman, now a refugee on the run from the evil lord who has captured his father’s castle and betrayed the king. When we first meet Will, he is the 13-year-old son of the estate, born to privilege and prone to mischief. Now on the verge of manhood, it’s time for him to grow up and start acting like a lord — but when his family is betrayed, Will escapes to Sherwood Forest, where he ...more
According to Matthew Cody, author of this book, there really is no official version of the Robin Hood tale. The basic foundation of the folk lore surrounding this classic hero seems to change with the political climate often enough to suspect that perhaps the legend evolving over the years is more a conglomerate of characters and repeated among the downtrodden to keep hope alive. In any case, in his research the author found very little about young Will Shackley, a member of Robin's Merry Men; h ...more
Originally published at yAdult Review.

Has anyone watched the BBC’s Robin Hood? It turned into a hot mess in season three, but I devoured the whole show in a week back in 2011. And let’s not talk about my love of Disney’s Robin Hood, or Men in Tights, or Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. So I immediately grabbed it when I saw it and it didn’t disappoint me at all. I read a lot of female authors, so it’s nice to get one or two men in there every once in a while. We meet Will Shackley at the end of Ki
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Originally from the Midwest, Matthew Cody now lives in New York City with his wife and son. When not writing books or goofing off with his family, he teaches creative writing to kids of all ages.
More about Matthew Cody...

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“Will smiled in spite of himself as he pressed the silver into Jean’s hand. It was a look of shock at first as the old man traced the outlines of the coins and realized what they were. Then tears welled up in his sightless eyes as he realized what they meant. The pardoner’s stolen silver would keep the family fed, Gerard’s neck clear of the hangman’s noose, and old Jean from dying of grief. It was a good day to be an outlaw.” 0 likes
“We’ve all got pasts,” said Rob. “It’s what you are now that counts. And what you do.” 0 likes
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