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Scarlet #1


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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.

287 pages, Hardcover

First published February 14, 2012

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About the author

A.C. Gaughen

7 books1,839 followers
I am shamelessly addicted to staying up far too late (it feels like stealing time), diet coke (it burns so good), Scotland (stupid country stole my heart and won't give it back. Interpol has been ineffective for prosecution) and thieves (so I guess I'm not that mad at Scotland).

Want to know more? Just ask!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,864 reviews
February 18, 2014

This is an alternate retelling of Robin Hood, where Will Scarlet is a hemorrhoidal pain in the ass who talks like a Monty Python and the Holy Grail cast reject that gets involved in a horrifyingly painful love triangle WITH ROBIN HOOD AND LITTLE JOHN.

There are two facts about Will Scarlet that you should know before starting this book.

1. Will Scarlet is actually a "she," a girl disguised as a boy

2. The "Scarlet" in her name refers to the fact that SHE CAN'T STOP FUCKING BLUSHING*

*That's actually something I made up, but I wasn't exaggerrating when I say that she blushes like fucking crazy.

Will Blushes Scarlet: OH MY GOD JUST STAAAAHP ALREADY. I wanted to love Scarlet, I really do. A kick-ass heroine who disguises herself as a boy in order to steal from the rich and give to the poor?! FUCK YEAH, give me more of that shit.


I admit, there is a fair bit of kick-assery in there, but it feels completely unrealistic becaues Will Scarlet can't decide who or what the fuck she is.

Is she a kick-ass fighting tomboy?! Or is she a girl whose heart goes aflutter whenever she gets near Robin Hood? So many time in this book, her heart flushes, her heartbeat go pitter-patter, her belly gets butterflies.

My stomach's content just turned over.

Let's see, blushing...how many instances are there? "I felt heat on my face and hated that the sun would show me blushing," "It were dark, so they couldn’t prove I were blushing," "I blushed," "[I was] cold again but for my cheeks, which were blushing hard," "I were blushing hot," "I felt my cheeks blush," "I blushed hot," "I shake him off, blushing," "I blushed a little," "it sent my cheeks blushing," "I blushed a bit."

Ok, we've gotten the blushing over with. Now onto the flushing! "I pulled my head away, flushed and not sure what to do, or say, or think," "my cheeks flush," "my cheeks flushed dark," "I flushed," "my cheeks went hot," "blood filled up my cheeks."

Oh, but the stomach-churning flutterings don't stop there, no! Let's see what other sort of over-extravagant emotion our dauntless fighting girl has in store for us!

"The air whooshed from my chest," "the breath whooshed out of me," "my belly twisted," "my belly flipped over," "my heart started to flutter-beat in my chest," "I got that funny, twisted feeling," "my heart lurched," "my heart dropped out from my chest," "my knees had gone fair wobbling," "my stomach pushed into my pipes."

Spare me. This book tries to sell me the fact that Scarlet is a fierce warrior; it didn't convince me in the least. Scarlet is ruled by her feelings, she lets her heart win over her head, she gets nervous, she feels tremors, she acts like a silly little girl who was forced into being a warrior instead of a warrior born, instead of one who has chosen her fate.

Scarlet's Personality: Incongruous.

In-con-gru-ous: /adjective/ not in harmony or keeping with the surroundings or other aspects of something.

That is the single word that can be used to describe Scarlet's personality. She is not a good character. She is an annoying character. She acts like a petulant child instead of a rational, cool-headed warrior. She snaps at people at the very tinest, dumbest provocation.
“Bugger off,” I snapped.
Scarlet loses her temper extremely fast. She makes some really dumb decisions at times...like rushing off to attack people in broad fucking daylight. There is a way to be subtle, Robin Hood's Merry Men have to stick around awhile in order to accomplish their good deeds, and Scarlet does things with the subtlety of a pink and purple polka-dotted elephant dancing on a unicycle.

Her Speech: I absolutely HATED her first-person narrative. I mentioned that she talks like a Monty Python reject, and she does. It is annoying, it distracts from the already terribly boring narrative, and it makes no fucking sense when you take into consideration who she actually is . Her dialogue is pretentious, it is heavy dotted with grammatical inconsistencies, which doesn't feel authentic at all, because in one instance, she talks like a street urchin complete with "ain'ts" and "weren'ts." Her fucking "weren't." "I weren't," "he weren't." Fuck you. It doesn't make any fucking sense because she speaks in horribly accented speech like an uneducated wench...
“Just because you kissed me don’t mean I’m your girl none,” I told him.
Even her very thoughts are sprinkled with terrible grammar, only to have her turn out to be who she is...Scarlet's character completely reeks of artifice.

It seems like Scarlet is the only one who speaks like that in the entire book. The other characters are seemingly no better off than she is, they're a bunch of ragtag men, after all, but their speech is all perfectly normal, without any pretensions to be anything lower or more crass. The inconsistency of Scarlet's dialogue and thoughts in contrast to the other "normal guys" only serves to make her more of an utterly unconvincing character.

Her Fighting Skills: HOW THE FUCK DID SHE GET THEM?! We see her fight. A lot. She kicks ass. She dresses as a boy, she dresses down some boys. There's no disputing that the girl can fight. BUT HOW?! Once her history is mentioned, it makes even less sense. How does such a girl become such a fierce fighter, in such a short time? It makes no fucking sense, and I don't buy it. I respect that she is a good fighter, but you have to convince me that she is one, I don't want a character to magically become an awesome fighter just because. Give me a fucking reason. Show me her training. Tell me WHY I should respect her and how Scarlet became who she is today. This book brings me in cold as to her history, and it continues to leave me in the dark.

The Setting: This book does a fucking terrible job of giving us a setting. It truly is one of the worst excuses for a historical book I have ever read. WHAT SETTING? We're in the past, but rather than an actual time period, this book has the feel of anything from...say, Crusade-era to, I don't know....mid-19th century England.

I could only tell it was England due to the fact that "London" was mentioned. This is one of those times when I longed for purple prose and long descriptions, because there were none in this book.

This book was all action and more action and not much more than that. There is no clear descriptions of anything. No descriptions about the dress. Few descriptions about the people. I couldn't even begin to tell you what the fuck Robin and John looked like. There was no sense of time other than the brief mention of "Oh, I went to the Crusades blah blah years ago." Ok, we're in the time of the Crusades. IS THAT ALL? GIVE ME SOME MORE DETAILS, FOR FUCK'S SAKES. Christ on a cracker.

Let me give you a description. The Templar flag is that of a red cross on a white background. Do you like that? That's more description than most anything you get from this fucking book. It could have taken place in 19th century backwoods of England, for all that matters. There is no sense of time, no sense of place, no atmosphere whatsoever to this book.

One other thing that bothered me about this book: Robin, the Earl, is referred to as "your grace," because of his status as the Earl. Correct me if I'm wrong, but "your grace" is an honorary address for a duke, right?

The Love Triangle: FUCK THAT SHIT. Robin Hood would fucking NEVER. WHY?! I mean, really, WHY?!

There should be no fucking time for romance when the Sheriff is corrupt, and threatening to string up your entire town for not paying the taxes.
Did he think I were John’s bit of fun for the day? My belly twisted and I didn’t like the feeling.
And he weren’t Rob. But then, maybe that weren’t such an awful thing. Rob’s sort I could never deserve.
There should be no fucking time for romance when the Thief Hunter is burning up your hideout and threatening to decapitate the people in your town for hiding your identity.
His eyes looked into mine in a way that made my breath suck out of my pipes. “You’re every kind of surprise, you know that?”
There should be no fucking time for romance when there is a traitor in town who is threatening to destroy all you hold dear.
He looked at me, his eyes running over my face. He came closer, and I were against the wall, so my heart started to flutter-beat in my chest. I didn’t much like feeling trapped. He palmed my hat, pushing it back.
“What are you doing?” I asked, pulling away.
“I need to see your eyes when I ask you this.”
“Ask what?”
“Are you in love with Rob, Scar?”
There's no fucking time for romance when you are on the run, hiding from a man who's out for your blood.
His lips pressed against mine, strong like the rest of him and a little wet, pushing my lips into a fair good kiss. He caught me up ’bout the waist and kissed me deeper. I shut my eyes, and Rob’s face popped into my head.
“About John,” he said at long last.
I blinked.
“I don’t want to know how you two are fooling about, but if it interferes with the band I’ll kick you out myself.”
This was just a terrible book. There is too much action without much else. There is no subtlety to the plot. Characters are thrown about as if they were nothing, characters were introduced haphazardly, as needed. This was just a very poorly thought out book.
Profile Image for Claire.
109 reviews32 followers
February 6, 2016
I don't know about anyone else but when I think of Robin Hood I think of this:

Wait, I'm the only one who pictured him like that? Huh. Blame my childhood.
Anyway, when I first started reading this book I admittedly imagined Robin Hood as being pretty hot. Like a total fox. (GET IT?!)
Granted, the Robin Hood in this story was not the main character. Rather, the main character was a young woman who everyone knew as Scarlet. Her identity is mysterious and only a few people know that she's secretly a girl. She's tough, smart, brave, and completely capable of taking care of herself. She's a hardcore, kick-butt girl living in the Middle Ages. Or at least that's how I think the author wanted her to come off as. In reality she's kind of a whiny jerk to everyone. When people try to be genuinely nice to her she's completely rude and pushes them away. I couldn't stand her character. She was ill-mannered and unappreciative. I guess she was supposed to seem really independent but instead she just seemed stuck up and full of it. Maybe she wasn't as bad as I'm making her out to be, but there were plenty of times where I actually wanted to go into the book and strangle her.
I also got really annoyed at the way Scarlet talked. She didn't use proper grammar at all, despite the rest of the Merry Men have perfect grammar. And that would have bothered me except . It's eventually revealed that she grew up as a privileged lady. So why is her grammar terrible?! You would think her grammar would be loads better than everyone else's, as she lived in an upper class society. But noooooo. Maybe I shouldn't be fussing over that little detail this much but it seriously got on my nerves since she had been raised with nobles.
Scarlet was also too selfless. She kept trying to sacrifice herself to save others. Which hey, heroes are good! But it was too the point where she just seemed like an idiot. Like her sacrifices were suicidal and it was like she was trying too hard to play the martyr. She had no common sense. Like she refused to eat because there were people in the town starving. Okay, because you can totally help them when your dying of hunger. That makes about as much sense as, well -
You know what else I hated about this book? The Dreaded Love Triangle. It was completely and utterly unnecessary. It was the thing that bothered me the most in this entire book. So in the love triangle, we've got Scarlet, Little John, and Robin Hood. Robin Hood clearly has feelings for Scarlet but she's in denial. Little John suddenly decides he's attracted to her and she starts responding to him, despite the fact that he admits that he's not serious about it. Robin meanwhile turns all jealous but rather then admitting to Scarlet that it's because he's in love with her, he gives her the cold shoulder and threatens to kick her out of the group. Real smart, fox-boy.
She swears that she has no interest in Little John. So why do you keep cuddling and kissing him, Scarlet? Huh? She keeps leading on Little John and Robin Hood and then acts shocked when they get mad at her. At this point, I was getting more than a little peeved a at Scarlet..
Also, I don't know why she was even conflicting about all this! If she claimed that she had no interest in Little John, then why did she keep showing him affection? Not to mention that he's a total jerk to everyone. Robin Hood was at least a gentlemen at the beginning (before he turned all angsty). Little John is just mean. What I want to wonder if why the author chose Little John to be apart of the love triangle. Maybe it's just me, but when I picture Little John I think of this:

Because dancing bears are the definition of sexy
Plus we all knew she was going to end up with Robin. Little John was just an unnecessary distraction. It was really predictable. The Little John subplot was a ruse! This is what I was about ready to do to that 'love triangle':
Okay, so I suppose I should go into what I liked about the book. Because, contrary to my previous rambling, I didn't hate the book. It was more of a 2.5 rating but technically it got three stars. The plot was well-paced and fairly exciting. It wasn't slow or tedious. The writing style flowed enough that I was able to read it easily so kudos to that. And the entire cast of characters weren't all that bad. They weren't perfect but I occasionally felt compassion for them.
There's one other thing about this book that I feel like I should mention.
Guy of Gisbourne.
Yeah, yeah, I know I was supposed to hate him. He was supposed to be a cruel, evil, horrible being that murdered innocent beings. Is it so bad that I wanted him to turn from the dark ways because he was actually in love with Scarlet? I'm a total sucker for bad-guys-who-fall-for-good-girls. Especially when it causes them to question their moral beliefs. I actually loved the part where Scarlet calls him a monster and he yells that she made him a monster, and that he's been desperately searching for her for many years. I honestly wanted them to fall in love, after he changed his psycho murderer ways of course. Don't judge me! I watched BBC's Robin Hood series. When I pictured Guy of Gisbourne I imagined this:
Mmmm, Richard Armitage...
Apparently I'm insane because that never went down. Guy vanishes once Scarlet and the Merry Men defeat him and all is well. The climax was a bit confusing to me. One moment she's marrying Guy and the next she's running all over the place and being a ninja. At times I wasn't really sure what the blazes was going on. Oh well. In the end, Guy just runs off and the Merry Men have won. Huzzah! And then Scarlet and Robin Hood finally wind up together and it ends a little something like this:
Well, more or less. They didn't really get married. And they may or may not have been foxes.
757 reviews2,346 followers
July 28, 2017

I literally have no idea about the whole Robin Hood tale, but this was pretty fucking awesome. Also, im too lazy to write a proper review so here's a quick list as to why you should read it:

-the beginning, which was about 70ish pages for me, was incredibly boring to the point where i was willing to watch paint dry,
-it fricken gets so much better.
-we have a badass female who takes no shit from anyone
-she's a thief who steals food and money to help out the poor and needy.
-she's part of Robin Hoods band that help people from the asshole of a sherif.
-she's disguised as a boy
-um she can use knives pretty fricken good
-the writing took a little getting used to
-a little trigger warning because our mc does get beaten up pretty bad and it's worse in the second book
-badassery and action EVERYWHERE
-there is a love triangle (sorta??? it's hard to explain) but we all know who she will end up with
-Rob was a character that i still have mixed feelings about.
-really not sure what to think of him :/
-go read it,
-it's awesome

Profile Image for Soumi.
Author 1 book379 followers
April 19, 2012
Scarlet is wrenching and moving story of love and friendship, bravery and loyalty, a retelling of the legend of Robin Hood, only the voice of narration was Scarlet. Yes Will Scarlet, the most skilled knife- handling young fellow of Robin, in the traditional tales, famous for his hot temper. But he’s not actually what we think he is. He’s no lad; he’s a lass; a girl hiding her true identity in men’s cloth.


Being a part of the merry men, Scarlet was always successful to hide the truth from rest of the Nottingham; of course her companions knew about her. Now the evil thief taker Sir Guy of Gisbourne is terrorizing the Village with violence and fury; determine to catch Robin. But Scarlet knew what he is actually after. It’s her and Guy will not stop until he possessed her and crushed her to the dust. Her secrets threatened to disentangle; painful memories of past are about to unravel that can change everything in present.

Scarlet Fever

Disguised as a boy, Scarlet is secretive, impulsive, strong and mysterious, no less in any quality than an actual lad. She’s one of the bravest and toughest female protagonists I have ever came across, no wonder why Robin called her a worrier woman. Scarlet was Invulnerable to fear or intimidation. She faced and withstands Gisbourne with courage. She helped the people of Nottingham the best she could, she fought for justice alongside Robin, John and Much. She may have a tough exterior, but her interior was made with delicate glass just like an eighteen years old girl, which shattered with each piercing word came from Robin and melted in warm embrace of the same person. As a reader, above all as a girl I was empathetic to her pain and adopted them as mine. Sometime it was really hard for me to hold back my tears. Her feeling and affection was strong for Rob, but the ultimate sacrifice she made to save the person she loved was praise worthy.
I know the readers have already begun to guess about Scar, but if you think I’m going tell you her true identity, sorry to say I will not spoil this enchanting historical story.

The Walking Ghost

“You changed everything. Everything. That day in the market in London, you don’t know what my life was like before that, when I came home and found everything just gone. I had nothing. I hadn’t a soul. And then you appeared with your magic eyes, and you just changed everything.”

Robin Hood, the legendary character, angel to poor, one of the most famous archers in history was just Rob for Scarlet, and I fall in love with him too. A retired heart from Cursed devoted his youth in novel cause to serve people, to save them from being tortured by sheriff, In the process accompanied by a girl with eyes color of moonstone, Rob found himself caring for that brave and rude girl.
Hurting Scar was the best way to punish himself, and of course Rob was not very proud of that. In spite of every effort he made to deny his own feelings for Scar, I could see the warm compassionate feelings in his stormy eyes. Out of all the things he had done, he loved her more, protected Scar with all his life and knocked down every danger intend to hurt her.

The Merry Men

Right hand of Robin and an excellent swordsman Little John had always been a charmer and he charmed me as well. I liked how the author painted his character with colors of fun and sincerity in equal measure. Scarlet is definitely not a love triangle but John’s growing fondness and likeness for her spiced up the story a little bit. He’s appearance throughout the whole story was remarkable. When it came to loyalty and devotion to Robin and his band, no one was fierce as him.
Much was always like a brother to Scarlet, the only person Scarlet was most comfortable with. Sometime I felt sympathy for him, but he proved he doesn’t need anyone’s sympathy. In spite of having one good arm, Much has a quality of spirit and will power that enabled him to fight.

As a debut author A.C. Gaughen brought us that secrets and hidden fact behind one of the most famous legend of history. Sometime untold truth buried beneath the history, we just need to dig that deep. The writing was very touching and mesmerizing that I applaud her efforts. The ending was completely unexpected and my heart skipped a bit. Series of turns and twists, secrets and actions, Scarlet will leave you speechless. This book is Capable of arousing and holding the attention.

I have been searching around trying to figure out if this was a stand alone or a series? Scarlet left lots of question running in my mind. I am hoping that this will be a series because I would love to read more about the romance and where it turns from here. But right now I’m down with Scarlet fever. Are you?
Profile Image for Samantha.
417 reviews16.7k followers
September 17, 2018
I had hopes that this would redeem itself and then it just...didn’t.
Profile Image for Ferdy.
944 reviews1,108 followers
February 20, 2012
1.5 stars

A retelling of Robin Hood where Will Scarlet, a member of Robin's band is a actually girl in disguise.
-The storyline didn't really entertain me, it was boring and the real action only really kicked in towards the end.
-The narrative was strange, it was part present tense and part past tense, I couldn't get my head around it.
-The British-isms and British slang didn't read right AT ALL, it felt forced and it made me cringe at how hard it tried to sound authentically British.
-The love triangle was annoying and not needed.
-Worst of all, the three main characters were awful:
Good god I hated this heroine. She was meant to be brave, strong and compassionate..and truthfully she was but it was hard to appreciate any of the good in her when it was overshadowed by all the bad. Scarlet was annoying, self pitying and whiny. She starved herself because she felt guilty that others were going hungry, even though she stole everyday so she could help feed the poorer families. Why she thought going hungry would help anyone..the poorer families relied on her, Robin and co to provide for them, so I don't know why she thought her dying of starvation would help anyone.
Scarlet was too much of a martyr, she was too self-sacrificing, she felt responsible for everyone, she felt guilty about things she had no control over..OMG I felt like throttling her. When she rescues someone from prison, she lets the guy beat her black and blue because she didn't save said guy's sister sooner. It wasn't her fault they were in prison in the first place or that she wasn't able to save the sister sooner but on no Scarlet blames herself, feels guilty and is happy to get beaten up because she thinks she deserves it. I got tried of how Scarlet felt like she was personally responsible for everyone and their mother.
I despised when Scarlet said she hated being a woman. I like my heroines to be proud to be a woman.
Scarlet had hardly any self worth and she punished herself about everything..how was I meant to like/love a character when the character didn't even like themselves, not even a little bit.
He was quiet a good love interest initally - dark, brooding and noble but his attitude towards Scarlet and John pissed me off. Robin blames Scarlet for leading John on and teasing him, when it was John doing all the chasing but oh no he doesn't have a go at John..because it's all Scarlet's fault that John has a hard on for her..it has nothing to do with the fact that Johns a disgusting, dirty pervert who likes to perv. He also calls Scarlet a whore!! Why because John kissed her and because her father forced her to be engaged to another man when she was 13/14 years old..WTF?! I find it really interesting that in a lot of books that I've read over the last couple of years, the heroine is called a whore/slut/skank by the hero (who by the way has slept with loads of girls) when she's actually a virgin and has very little experience in general with men!!
John was a typical playboy, he openly slept with many wenches and flirted with anyone with a pulse..John suddenly decided he wanted Scarlet and for some unfathomable reason thought he had some sort of claim on her. He kissedScarlet when it's clear she wasn't interested in him and he kept coming onto her when she was vulnerable. He also got angry when he thought Scarlet was with someone else even though it was ok for him to sleep around..he also conveniantly forgot Scarlet was free to be with whoever she wanted. I'm sick of the playboy love interests..I don't find them attractive in the least.
I did like Much, he was a great little character.
Overall it just wasn't my cup of tea..if you like Robin Hood, faux Britishness, annoying heroines, judgemental heroes, a playboy third wheel and a weak love triangle then you might just enjoy this book.
Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
369 reviews976 followers
March 29, 2019
"Make no mistake," he told me. I looked up. "We do what we do-" He halted, then stepped one foot closer. "I do what I do because I will always believe that no matter how awful life gets for however many of these people, there is something I can do about it. There is something I will do about it."

I nodded. "That's why you're the hero, Rob, and I'm a thief."

Robin Hood stole my heart at a really young age. As a matter of fact, this hunk was my first ever crush


Isn’t he just divine??? Sigh… Too bad it was 1938 when this was filmed. NO FAIR. He should’ve waited for me to be born! Pfft. :P

Anyway, in this interpretation of Robin Hood, we see Earl Robin of Locksley (obviously), “Will” Scarlet (who is – in fact – a girl disguised as a boy), John Little, and Much. Why do we never see the other Merry Men in retellings?! Hopefully, we’ll see them the future instalments.

"You lied to me tonight," John said.

I shrugged. "I lie to you a lot. Reckon you might want to be more specific."

"You said you'd wait at the top. You said we'd go together."

"Well, yes, that was a lie."


Either way, Scar’s incessant blushing at the most inappropriate of times was irritating after a while, but it didn’t really affect my enjoyment of her character. She has a secret past, an affinity for daggers and is the most capable thief of the Merry Men. She has a hardened personality and acts like “one of the boys.” As “Will” Scarlet, many think her merely a boy, and she uses that assumption to her advantage. But despite her sassy and hardened exterior, she’s also very caring and generous. In true Robin Hood fashion, she helps those around her who cannot help themselves in the village of Nottingham and Sherwood Forest. I found her to be an admirable protagonist. Scar is also hiding from those in her past, who seek to do her harm. I also predicted her past from a mile away, but I enjoyed the reveal at the end, nonetheless!


Rob, more commonly referred to as “The Hood”, was naturally my favourite character. I don’t know what it is that I find so attractive about him, but whether he be in a book or on a screen, I’m guaranteed to fall in love with him, haha. Rob is the leader of the Merry Men, stealing from the rich, giving to the poor, and freeing the innocent from imprisonment. He is kind and giving, and at times, a jealous arsehole because he simply won’t admit how he feels to Scar. UGH! Communication, people! And I’m sorry, John Little, you’re nice and all, but stop getting in the way of my ship! B A C K!!! O F F!!!

She shook her head. "They would have pinched you too, and then where would Robin be?"

"He'd be right as rain, I think."

She chuckled. "You don't see how much he cares about you, but he does. Ran into that fire last night like a fair angel, he did."

"He'd do the same for one of his men, or any of his people. Don't make me special in his eyes." It were shameful, but there were a fair amount of bitter in my voice.

She leaned her head close to mine so the others wouldn't overhear her. "Ah, he has many men, but he only has one woman."

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I did genuinely enjoy the angst and jealousy in this book. Usually, these tropes get on my nerves, but I was all here for it!!! Gimme some more!!! Scar and Rob made me nearly scream and cry, but I enjoyed every moment of it!!! They kept me glued to the novel because I was SO INVESTED in them, their relationship, and the everything going up in flames around them. Seriously, things kept going from bad to worse and I was an emotional mess by the time I reached the end of the novel. What a compelling read!

I’d also like to note that the writing style was a tad difficult to get into, at first. It was written in – I don’t know…peasant English? Instead of “isn’t”, “ain’t” is used. Rather than “he is”, “he were” is written. This made me a bit iffy when I began the novel, as I prefer proper English, but as I read more and more, I stopped noticing it, so it wasn’t as big as an issue for me as I thought it would be. 

Needless to say, I LOVED THIS!!! This trilogy should get more hype, in my opinion. I didn’t even mind Sir Guy of Gisbourne and the Sheriff of Nottingham, despite my hatred of them, haha. Where was Prince John though? I heard mentions of him, but didn’t see him at all in the book! I hope that we’ll see him and King Richard the Lionheart soon! :)

THIS is what I wanted from a Robin Hood retelling!!! I can’t wait to binge the rest of the trilogy!
Profile Image for Duckie.
101 reviews63 followers
August 8, 2012
This is the first time I've read a version of the Robin Hood story where I wanted the sheriff to win. Flimsy characters, clunky writing and gaping plot holes mangle what otherwise might have been a decent YA novel.

The narrative is in Scarlet's voice but it's pretty hard to tell what that is, exactly. It's vaguely British and vaguely working-class but is rooted in neither Yorkshire nor London, where she claims to be from at different points in the novel. Like the plot, it also shows up when it feels like it and then fades away when it thinks no one is looking. Scarlet's voice is distinct from the other characters only because they all speak like Americans, which is another problem altogether. I don't have a problem with first-person narratives that use bad English, if it's in character, but it doesn't work if the grammar is sometimes bad and sometimes perfect, or if none of the other characters are speaking in dialect.

Also, Scarlet showers her narrative with tense changes like Robin Hood scattering gold to the villagers. She jumps from past tense, to past perfect, to present tense and back again; there's so much jumping around in time, I expected to see a TARDIS pop out of Sherwood.

Scarlet is whiny, annoying and a consummate Mary Sue. She prattles on about how she's great at stealing and the only proper thief of the bunch, but her thieving skills are on par with an unattended toddler in a toy store. She sees something she wants, waits until the owner is looking the other direction, and grabs it. Wow, mad skillz yo.

Scarlet also boasts that she's needed because only she can pick out the good marks. Like she can spot nobles traveling in disguise because they're riding destriers instead of farm horses. Here's a test. This is a destrier:

This is a farm horse:

Can you see the difference? Good, because apparently a bunch of dudes born and raised in a farming community can't. Presumably Scarlet then went on to remind them how to breathe.

Scarlet also has ninja skills. This is never explained. WTF.

The writing careens between being too vague and channeling Captain Obvious. Take this quote for example:

"The man pulled out the knife as his counterpart unsheathed his big sword. Swords are terrible. They are naught but big, heavy knives that most don't know how to use right."

I read that twice thinking "Well yeah, swords are terrible, that's why you try to avoid the pointy end" before realizing she meant "swords are terrible weapons for other people to use." I'm not even going to discuss the fact that this guard pulled out a sword (short-range weapon) while she was throwing knives (mid-range weapon). That's like being charged by someone with a pistol and hoping they get close enough for you to use your bowstave.

And then there's this:

"I walked down slow, seeing the rough, carved-out wall. It were wet with water."

Wow, and here I was thinking it was wet with a nice 1196 Bordeaux from the kegger upstairs.

This was followed later by:

"John looked to me, and I felt his eyes on me."

Probably because he was looking at you. Which you just mentioned. Right there. I mean, it's in the same freaking line.

And then there's Robin Hood's line:

"I had nothing. I hadn't a soul. And then you appeared with your magic eyes, and you just changed everything."

OK there's nothing grammatically incorrect with that, but- Magic eyes, people. MAGIC EYES.

The plot moves at a decent pace, but even this puts me in mind of the joke about mail delivery: "If you want to send something, FedEx will get it there by 10AM tomorrow, UPS will get it there, and the Postal Service will get it...somewhere." This novel is the USPS of YA literature. It moves, yes, but it's not sure where it's going, and I'm not even sure I'd like it to arrive there. It honestly surprised me when I read that the author had attended a graduate program in creative writing. I've seen fanfiction written by high schoolers that was better than this.

Bottom line: If you've seen the 2006-2009 BBC Robin Hood series, you've already seen everything in this story done, and done better. If you haven't seen it, save yourself a few bucks and hours of facepalming and watch that instead.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
May 26, 2021
Scarlet (Scarlet #1), A.C. Gaughen

Scarlet follows the story of Will Scarlet, one of the heroes of the Robin Hood legend. Characters: Robin Hood, Will 'Scar' Scarlet, John Little.

The plot follows Robin Hood's band of men: Rob, John, Much, and Will Scarlet. No one outside of the band knows, but Will Scarlet is a woman called Scarlet.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش

عنوان: اسکارلت؛ نویسنده ای.سی گوگن؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیایی - سده 21م

یکی از قهرمانان «رابین هود»، به نام «ویل اسکارلت» خود را یکی از همراهان «رابین هود» برای رودررویی با «لرد گیزبورن» معرفی میکند، او هویت خود را از همگان در«ناتینگهام شایر» پنهان نگاه داشته است؛ او یک زن است

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 04/03/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Jillian -always aspiring-.
1,821 reviews198 followers
December 6, 2011
(Actual Rating: 3.5 stars)

"We do what we do because there's something we can do about it. Things like 'how long' and 'what if' aren't part of that. It's about the hope, not the horror."

Scarlet, 2012 debut novel from A.C. Gaughen, takes the legends and characters associated with Robin Hood and spins them all into an engrossing story focusing on a secretive thief who's much more than meets the eye. The people of Nottinghamshire know the thief as Will Scarlet, knife-wielding companion to Robin Hood, but there's a secret few people realize: he is actually a she. Why does Scarlet insist on dressing like a boy? What is her true identity? And why, after two years working alongside Robin, does she still keep secrets from him and the others in the band of outlaws? When her past begins to stalk her in the form of villainous thief taker Gisbourne, terrorizing the people of Nottinghamshire, her secrets threaten to unravel...and, once they're out in the open, nothing will ever be the same.

What immediately struck me when I began Scarlet was the voice of the narration. It felt authentic and true to the era (the time of the Crusades) while also managing to remain consistent throughout the story. I haven't been so impressed with the voice of a novel since reading Moira Young's Blood Red Road earlier this year.

What also makes this novel notable is Scarlet, a flawed heroine who can be brash, impulsive, rude, unapologetic, and secretive...yet she feels real and relatable because of her flaws. When she finds herself caught between her admiration for Robin and fellow band member John Little's growing interest in her, Scarlet doesn't know how to react, though she never lets any man's interest define or tether her. She has much more to worry about than love problems, and she acts accordingly, helping the people of Nottinghamshire the best she can even though they don't always react kindly to her help.

As for the other characters, I found myself loving some of them (Scarlet, obviously; Much, the one-handed boy who feels useless in Robin's band) and being exasperated with others (Robin, who's often surprisingly self-loathing; John, whose interactions with Scarlet teeter between humorous and off-putting). While I loved Scarlet as a strong heroine, a part of me wished that there had been another lead female character to balance her out and make Robin's band seem less of a "boy's club" to which Scarlet was the only girl brave and "special" enough to take part. Sure, we meet other female characters who are strong in their own rights (Lena, the innkeeper; Ravenna, a girl who wants to save her family from poverty; and a nameless noblewomen who proves helpful to Robin's band's cause), but all of them seem almost foils to show Scarlet as "the woman who's different." (You'll understand what I mean by that if you read the novel.) As trite as my issue sounds, it bothered me and hindered some of my enjoyment of the story.

Even so, fans of Robin McKinley and Tamora Pierce will likely find much to love about Scarlet. It's the kind of novel that would seem right at home wedged alongside The Blue Sword and The Song of the Lioness quartet. Though undoubtedly the novel has its fair share of flaws, most of them are easily overlooked because of the charm and character the story contains.

The only other real issue I have with the novel is that, as a standalone, Scarlet is ultimately a bit unsatisfying. Will there be a companion or sequel novel on the horizon? One can only hope because the adventures of the Sherwood band seem far from over (and, by the end, I didn't want them to be over).

In the end, I recommend Scarlet to anyone who feels wanting for a novel spotlighting a strong, flawed heroine because, as strange as it seems, such girls are hard to find in recent young adult novels. Scarlet managed to tug at my heartstrings, so I can only hope that she'll do the same for anyone who decides to delve into her tale.

Note: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
Profile Image for Kimberly Sabatini.
Author 1 book374 followers
May 7, 2012
OMG!!!! I loved this book. I'm going to start this review by announcing something that I NEVER expected to say (John--if you're reading this you should close your eyes and skip ahead) ROBIN HOOD IS MY NEW BOYFRIEND!!!! There, it's out in the open. Phew--I feel better now. I know that once you read this--you're going to want him too--but just remember I said it first and this post is time-stamped. But don't worry, you don't have to be turned away empty handed--Rob's band of Merry Men are pretty darn lovable too.

Then there's Scarlet, who is the only one that I'll let date my new boyfriend--because I like her that much. You are going to adore her journey as you read along. It starts with Scarlet, but you'll find it woven through the whole story-- AC Gaughen is a master of writing perfectly balanced characters. I give her my "Friday Night Lights Award" for making me find something redeemable and maybe even likable in ALMOST everyone.

Hang on, there's more to love about this book.

Lets take a minute to examine the unique plot twists and the creative take on a story that has been done a million times.There was nothing stale about this tale. THIS IS THE ROBIN HOOD THAT I'VE ALWAYS WANTED! I love when I walk away from a great book knowing that that even though the story is fiction, the characters and their journey have become real. But even though I'm girlie gushing--make no mistakes--I'm picking up my own copy to read to my three boys because they are going to love it!!! There is palm-sweating, boy-loving, action and adventure too. This book is going to capture the attention of a broad audience and deservedly so.

So proud to be in the Class of 2k12 with AC Gaughen and SCARLET. <3 What are you waiting for--GO READ SCARLET!!!!
May 19, 2015
*Re-read for tomoorrrroowwwww!!*

His hands came on either side of my face, holding me up to him. Waves were crashing in his eyes, sure and strong and sweeping. "You are my whole heart, Scarlet. And this is breaking it."

I don't know. I don't know how I came across this or why it spoke to me...but it did. Even today I am still giddy and weightless when I think about this book. How amazing is it when you find something that, while it seems intriguing, doesn't necessarily scream, 'You will love me' and you kind of put it off for months, years, whatever, but then the minute you pick it up it's like... Click. Click, Robin Hood is fucking sexy. Click, Scarlet is surrounded by amazing guys who touch me deeply. Click, Scarlet is a thief. Click.....Scarlet is truly a badass.

My fists were shaking as I ran, sweat pushing out the filth, desperate for the water. I jumped the big rock and dove in, breaking the surface and crashing into fierce cold.
I hung there, under the water. My eyes were closed and my skin went fair numb. My lumps and slices went to ice. There were no room for nothing in my mind but cold.
When I pulled out of the water, heaving shivery breaths on the shore, I were fearless.

Like....okay....I loved Disney movies. All the fairy tales, all the magic, all the romance (Except for Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty-that creepy bitch was a bit much to take). It was all so intoxicating and alluring-I was spell-bound and attached to the screen whenever one of these amazing movies came on (And Winnie the Pooh-WTP is my home-slice...I'd take him over any fairy tale character any day. I adore Mr. Pooh lol). And, here I am today-a 24 year old girl on the cusp of becoming a wife and hopefully soon starting a family of my own, and I still become a little girl again and again when a Disney movie comes on. I become entranced just as I did when I was a child, the charms of a magical, far-away place still so addicting that I can't help but to play pretend while I dream of Prince Charmings, Prince Erics, and Aladdins in our modern day world. So, I guess it goes without saying that I am a sucker for a well-written (or I guess well advertised, seeing as I haven't read that many fairy tale re-tellings just yet-I'm so picky! Don't ruin my favorites!) re-tellings or renditions or influences of all the childhood classics.

He grabbed my arms, bringing me close to his face, and his eyes looked like the ocean, deep and dark and full of things I knew nothing 'bout. "We don't lie to each other, Scar. Especially not about things that mean I might lose you."
My breath froze in my chest. Did he just say that?

But when I think of these movies, for some reason, I don't generally think of Robin Hood. Why is that? I loved it! It was funny, ornery, and just a super-cute movie. But this book?? It brought that memory crashing back to the surface with the force of a hurricane. I felt like a little kid again and, more than that, a really satisfied adult. Seriously. The romance was off the charts, the jealousies were adorable, and the thieving? It was pretty damn cool. And, dare I say, the peril was astounding. Oh yes, this isn't a childhood fantasy anymore. This is the adult version with blood and real thieving and stolen kisses and pain. It isn't like it was gruesome, by any means, but it was just evil enough that I was smiling like the damn Cheshire Cat in the darkness of the bedroom because it was just so damn sinfully delicious!

"Make no mistake," he told me. I looked up. "We do what we do-" He halted, then stepped one foot closer. "I do what I do because I will always believe that no matter how awful life gets for however many of these people, there is something I can do about it. There is something I will do about it."
I nodded. "That's why you're the hero, Rob, and I'm a thief."

I still really don't know what to say. How do you convince people to read something that spoke to you in such loud volumes and convey just how good it really is? People, in general, are skeptical of fairy tale re-tellings. I agree-I rarely read them. But, and I say this heavily, this isn't meant to be like the movie from when we were kids. It embodies all the same values-stealing to get taxes gathered up for the poor, getting them food so they can eat, and a few things that I believe to be quite spoilery. My memory is rusty on what the kids' movie was like, but I don't remember a band of merry men. Wasn't it just Robin and John (The fox and the bear)? Anyway, in this book, they have a group! The dynamics of the group were awesome and I loved seeing them support one another, risk their life for one another, poke fun, flirt.....it just worked. And we needed a guy to make Rob jealous, eh?

"Rob, did you hear about Scar's new lover?" John crowed.
Rob looked sharp to me. "Was there an old one?"
"Jenny Percy!" Much said, pleased with himself.
Rob smiled. "Of a band with three actual boys, why is it that all the maids lust after the fake one?"

We have Rob, Scarlet, John, and Much in this rendition. But, in true Chelsea fashion, I shall gush about Rob and Scarlet. Or maybe I'll just break it down for you-Scarlet is a girl (who blushes a lot-but I didn't care-I just. Don't. Flippin'. Care.) who steals for the poor and is the best, most capable thief of the group. She's hard and disguises herself as 'Will Scarlet' so people believe she is merely a boy. She is hiding from someone-someone evil who only wishes to kill her...and anyone who stands in his path. Then there's my darling Robin Hood. He is better known as Rob or 'The Hood' by the townspeople or anyone looking to arrest or track them down. He got this little group together and is the leader because of his kind and giving nature, and his will to atone for his past misgivings. Let's call it what it is: they are in love with one another but are too stubborn to admit it. And pesky John keeps getting in the way-I love you John, but back the fuck off.

I turned out the back way then; there weren't much more to say.
He caught my wrist before I were full out the door. "Scar," he said, rough, like rocks were running over his tongue. "I have done so many unforgivable things in my life. Don't let failing to save you be another."

I believe the tension, the angst, the jealous and scorching looks that are spread throughout the novel are what made me the happiest. They broke my heart and sucked me in, making me a prisoner of the story. And the best part, which I haven't told you yet, is that when they were separated or there was no romance, I STILL couldn't put this shit down. I mean, every expedition or haul was just as exciting as the romance. It was exhilarating and fresh and toxic-they were on the run, the guards wanted to catch them, torture them, kill them for their stealing, so each time they left the safety of their hideouts, there was always a chance one could be captured and made to pay. And the other other best part??? No one was immune. No one escaped unscathed in one form or another....and it only got more and more intense.

She shook her head. "They would have pinched you too, and then where would Robin be?"
"He'd be right as rain, I think."
She chuckled. "You don't see how much he cares about you, but he does. Ran into that fire last night like a fair angel, he did."
"He'd do the same for one of his men, or any of his people. Don't make me special in his eyes." It were shameful, but there were a fair amount of bitter in my voice.
She leaned her head close to mine so the others wouldn't overhear her. "Ah, he has many men, but he only has one woman."

Oh, the writing, real quick. Amazing, quick-witted, error free, and vivid writing. And despite the way Scarlet speaks ('he were' instead of using 'he was' is a prime example), there isn't a mistake to be seen. I had so much fun reading about the different ways they speak and what she is willing to do to survive. You might be shocked, and you might not. But I loved it all, even the way she butchered her speech....and I'm a stickler for, at least, decent grammar.

"You lied to me tonight," John said.
I shrugged. "I lie to you a lot. Reckon you might want to be more specific."
"You said you'd wait at the top. You said we'd go together."
"Well, yes, that was a lie."

So, if someone were to ask me if I would recommend this, I'd give a million enthusiastic thumbs up. It won't work for everyone, the writing ensures that, but some of you will be like me-you'll pick this up, you'll think, 'eh', and then you will fall-hard. You won't realize you're obsessed with it or that you think about it constantly or that you are staying up way too late (Ummm thus the hardcore bags under my eyes) just to get 'one more chapter in'...all because you fell in love with this book. And you won't remember when or how or why....but you'll realize something: Robin Hood stole your heart. Just like he did, mine.


Aaaah Okay I never do this but....when I listen to this song it TOTALLY makes me think of this book and I have to share it:
Love Love LOVE IT! ♥ (but not as much as this book)

For more of my reviews, please visit:
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Profile Image for Sophie.
1,154 reviews437 followers
August 16, 2017
I simply adore these books! I've read them twice now, and can;t help but picking them up from time to time to re-read my favourite sections.

Scarlet follows the story of Will Scarlet, one of the heroes of the Robin Hood legend, but who is actually a girl in disguise. She has joined Robin's band of Merry Men, but is keeping her true identity a secret. Once the Sheriff invites the infamous Guy of Gisbourne to Nottingham to rid the county of Robin once and for all, Scarlet finds herself risking her life, and her identity, in order to save others, and protect Nottingham.

Scarlet is honestly the best heroine I have ever read in historical fiction. Gaughen obviously did her research to make the story appear so realistic, it was as if you were actually with Scarlet and the gang on their adventures. Scarlet embodied everything I know about this period, and though she kept as much of herself a secret as she could, there was a vulnerable side to her, one which came out the most when she was with Rob. No matter what it would do to herself, she would risk her life to save innocents, especially when Guy is turning up the pressure to discover her.

Like I said, everything about the world building and writing style just improved the book even more. The description of Nottingham and Sherwood made everything come to life, and I loved how everything just flowed naturally - nothing seemed out of place. Guy was a piece of work, but in a way that showed he might just have some humanity about him, and there was a reason behind his anger.

The romance is infinitesimal, but its more a slow burn which make your heart ache, but also means you have the biggest grin on your face. Robin and Scarlet are perfect for each other, but they both have their demons, and their secrets, and don't trust themselves enough to let someone else in. The way Rob knew that Scarlet would reveal more about herself and her past when she was ready, you just knew that they were the best for one another.

The ending of this book means you need Lady Thief immediately. I found the revelation of her identity done in the best way, though everyone knows who Scarlet actually is. If you're a fan of Robin Hood in any form, or historical fiction, this is definitely a book for you.
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
839 reviews3,757 followers
January 20, 2018

▧ Take a badass female lead who knows how to throw a knife and whose snarky inner comments made me laugh - but who blushes way too much for no reasons.

Give her a good shake : there's hope for her in the sequel, I hope, I know it.

She only has to let go of her split personality and I'll truly appreciate her.

Just sayin'.

▧ Take a fantastic past earl who becomes the archetype of the broody but selfless hero - you know, Robin Hood, who made my heart beat like crazy thanks to his full awesomeness annnnd hotness - who I'd follow anywhere as much as I loved him. (please do not change anything and handle with care)

▧ Take a trustworthy bunch of guys whose loyalty to each other's amazed me and pleased me to no end. Keep them warm the whole time. Yet you have to sort them : perhaps the irritating love triangle will disappear, as it seems in the end. I'm really hopeful today. But seriously, nobody wants to see Scarlet with Little John. Nobody.

▧ Take a compelling writing whose accent never annoyed me so much because come on I'm far from able to say if it's fake or no - I'm French, duh. Yet I laughed. I kinda want to thank the author for that.

▧ Take an action packed plot which managed to keep me surprised even if I guessed some parts of the twists. As I already said a bunch of times, I love surprises.

▧ Blend everything well.

Here's what you get : a not so flawless book *cough* Scarlet!!! *cough* which still stays a real page-turner for me - my 6 hours of reading say it all. Trust me, If I could overtake the fact she's such a blushing Mary Sue and enjoyed my reading despite it all, it must mean I was undoubtedly moved by this Robin Hood's retelling.

Do with it what you please.

Rating clarification :
• Rob, aka Robin Hood? 5 stars!
• The plot? 4 stars
• Scarlet, aka Just choose if you're a badass or a fucking martyr blushing girl? 2 stars
• Love-triangle non sense? 1 star
Overall : 3 stars, because that was so damn fun.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Khadidja .
557 reviews389 followers
August 16, 2018
Profile Image for Regan.
366 reviews109k followers
January 2, 2014
4.5/5 I really enjoyed the character Scarlet.

The story was very intriguing, and I am not going to lie I am a sucker for retellings (Robin Hood). It was a quick and easy read, with a strong kick ass female leading the show. Plus, Rob was not so bad either ;)
Profile Image for Rachel E. Carter.
Author 9 books3,496 followers
January 27, 2023
Loved. It's funny because I think I was more invested in the action than romance in this one, but there still isn't anything I would change. Reminded me of the way Moira Young writes, only a different setting. Will definitely be reading its sequel.
Profile Image for Angie.
Author 13 books267 followers
March 5, 2012
I don't usually give star ratings for novels anymore, simply because I know how much soul goes into creating and publishing a book. But with SCARLET, I couldn't NOT give this debut 5 whopping stars. This is the BEST novel I've read in a very very long time. It had me completely sucked in from chapter one, and I didn't want it to end when the last page crept up.
Scarlet is a fabulously complex girl. I loved her so much--strong and independent, with demons in her past and a fearful secret revolving around Guy of Gisbourne (I couldn't help but picture the devilishly handsome Richard Armitage from the BBC show, even though I love Richard and detested Gisbourne).
A.C. balanced plot and action, and a rich and mature love triangle so well. Robin and Little John were both characters to root for. I need there to be another Scarlet novel in the works ;-) I will be anxiously awaiting A.C.'s next novel no matter what!
Profile Image for Susan.
Author 20 books8,640 followers
January 23, 2012
I opened this book, and after reading the dialect, I thought, "Huh...I'm not sure I'll be able to read this..." Then, three pages later, I was so sucked into the story, I stopped noticing the dialect. All I saw was Scarlet's VOICE--and let me tell you, she has one. A powerful, compelling, stubborn-as-hell voice that fits every impulsive, disgruntled course of action she chooses.

To be honest, impulsive MCs are pretty common (erm...my own...::coughcough::), but Scarlet is easily the most convincing impulsive MC I've ever seen. She's short-tempered, but only because she's got some pretty big demons haunting her past. She's emotional and deeply moved to help those in need, and best of all, she's 100% kickbutt. SHE THROWS KNIVES! O_O

Honestly, though, the highlight of the story for me was the romance. I was just so, so, sooooo torn between John Little and Robin. I won't tell you which boy she chooses, but I will say that I was utterly, utterly satisfied with her choice. And every scene she spends with that boy had my heart pounding and my lips grinning.

So, if you're in the mood for Robin-Hood-adventure, swoon-worthy romance, or a tough-as-nails heroine, then be sure to pick up A.C. Gaughen's SCARLET.
Profile Image for Maggie ☘.
534 reviews652 followers
February 27, 2019
Such an amazing read! I loved both Robin and Scarlet, as well as the romance aspect was enjoyable. The plot was intriguing and adventurous. The only thing that bugged me a lot was the writing style. The book was written in a slang. I though the prose cold've been written in a more normal way, the slang saved only for some characters speaking aloud. It was ceratinly something to get used to. Nevertheless, I'd higly recommed this series if you want to read a Robin Hood retelling.

How I imagined the characters:





“So she killed herself,” John said.
“So they say.”
“That really doesn’t sound all that awful,” John muttered. “Not worth dying for.”
“You know nothing of it, John. To be silenced when your wishes don’t matter, to be sold like property, and to a man like him?” I spat at his feet. “A man would know nothing of it.”
“And what would a thief know of it?” John scoffed. “Like you’ve ever done a damn thing you didn’t want to.”
I shook my head. “I know what it’s like when you can’t get no one to listen to you. When what you say don’t matter. I half think every girl knows what it’s like to be silenced.”
Profile Image for Jen ♥Star-Crossed Book Blog♥.
518 reviews316 followers
February 12, 2016
Scarlet was an adventurous story that was filled to the brim with excitement and hardships at many turns.  I was a little nervous stepping into a book that contained characters that I hold near and dear to my heart, but I loved how Scarlet felt familiar yet was uniquely different at the same time!  While I did have some issues with a love triangle, I can't wait to see what happens with the rest of this trilogy.  Especially after that fabulous life and death ending!
I swallowed. “We watch each others’ backs.”
He nodded. “Precisely.”

One of my favorite changes to this story is the addition of a female in Robin Hood's group.  She goes by Will Scarlet, or Scar as their little band call her.  The majority of the townspeople believe that she is a boy, but a select few know her secret.  And it was so much fun seeing the female being painted as the thief within their group!  As someone who loves females with a backbone and can stand on their own, I was ecstatic with Robin Hood's possible love interest.  In the previous stories, Robin Hood was always paired with a woman who needs to be rescued or taken care of, which always bothered me.  Robin Hood deserves a fighter, a woman who can be his equal and stand by his side!  And while Scarlet is that woman, there's one small problem.  She really isn't his.
".....if you stay, I’ll keep you safe as best I can.” - Rob to Scar

And here lies my struggle with this book and Scarlet.  She tested my patience time and time again by showing interest in both John (aka John Little) and Rob (aka Robin Hood).  I felt as though she toyed with them throughout the story.  BUT toy isn't the correct word because she is only 18 and doesn't have any experience with love or relationships.  Yet I was left feeling as though I wanted to shake her while yelling at her to make up her mind.  But I still liked Scarlet because her heart was in the right place so many times.  Not only by protecting the townspeople, but her little group too.  She put her life on the line for so many of them again and again, which made for some amazing perilous situations.
He caught my wrist before I were full out the door. “Scar,” he said, rough, like rocks were running over his tongue. “I have done so many unforgivable things in my life. Don’t let failing to save you be another.”

And while I'm talking about struggles, some may have a few issues with the writing.  But please know that I absolutely adored the way this story was written!  I easily adapted into how the words came across, and it seemed like a unique mix of past, present, and dialect that would easily be found from that time period.
He pressed my cheek with the cloth again, and then his hand touched my cheek, hot after the cold water. “I hate seeing you hurt.”
The air whooshed from my chest but I rolled my eyes ’stead of letting on. “No one gets all bent up over John being bruised.”
He stepped back, looking into my eyes. I felt like my eyes were unprotected without my hat.
“Scar, you walked in here covered in blood. You don’t see how that would upset us?”
He caught my chin in his fingers. “Like it or not, Scar, we’re your friends. We care about you. I care about you.”

You know what else I loved?  Rob!  He was quiet yet powerful, and he had a heart of gold.  He tried so hard to take care of others who weren't able to care for themselves.  And he wore their pain and suffering heavily on his shoulders, while keeping it all to himself.  It even felt as though he purposely contradicted himself so others wouldn't know how he felt.  He did this multiple times with Scarlet, and I was dying to know the truth and his inner thoughts!  I can't wait to learn more about Rob as the trilogy unfolds!
He grabbed my arms, bringing me close to his face, and his eyes looked like the ocean, deep and dark and full of things I knew nothing ’bout. “We don’t lie to each other, Scar. Especially not about things that mean I might lose you.”
My breath froze in my chest. Did he just say that?
He let me go. “Because losing one member would put the whole band at risk. Do you understand?”

John and Much rounded out their little group, and the story proceeds with them trying to protect the townspeople from the evil Sheriff of Nottingham.  Their group of four steal and loot all in the name of the greater good, yet twists unfold that take a typical Robin Hood story-line into another area.  Because Scarlet is being hunted by an evil Lord, Gisbourne.  And with him close on their tails, everything is about to spiral out of control.  This is definitely a world you should step into.  And I can't wait to see what is going to happen after that fabulous, perilous ending!!

P.S. Random fact - I absolutely adore the Disney and Robin Hood:Prince of Thieves movies, so with those story-lines floating around in my head, I dove right into Scarlet.  This story was just as unique as those two movies are from each other.  I'm so very happy about that!

This review was originally posted on Star-Crossed Book Blog

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Profile Image for Angie.
645 reviews995 followers
November 9, 2011
Okay. You are all familiar with my . . . what's the word . . . thing . . . for thieves. And Robin is perhaps the thief I've loved the longest. So it should come as no surprise when I say that I was filled with glee when I first heard about A. C. Gaughen's upcoming retelling--SCARLET. I liked the cover and, without running down too many spoilery details, I looked forward to the focus on Will Scarlet and the fact that it hailed from a debut author. All of these things add up to that most wonderful of things--possibility. I've reviewed both my favorite Robin Hood retellings here already. And I've read quite a few more. They have all been interesting reads aimed at a variety of types and ages of readers. This particular one is being marketed YA, and I wondered idly, as I anticipated the book, what form my beloved characters would take in this incarnation.

Scarlet is a thief. And a liar. She's a thief and a liar and about twenty different kinds of deadly with her knives. And she's loyal to one person on this earth and one person only--Robin Hood. Also known as Robin of Locksley or (less commonly now) the Earl Huntingdon, Robin gave her a place and a hood to hide behind when Scarlet needed it the most, and now she forms an integral member of his band in Sherwood Forest. Standing up to the ruthless Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin, Scarlet, and the lads (Little John and Much) are determined to spare the good folk of Nottinghamshire from the sheriff's wrath for as long as it takes. Outside of her three comrades, few folk have any idea Scarlet is a girl. The boys refer to her as Will, and she has no intention of disobliging anyone of that particular notion. You see, Robin is not the only one with demons in his past. And when the sheriff goes and hires the dreaded Guy of Gisbourne to hunt down the Hood and his band, Scarlet knows her days may at last be numbered. It's only a matter of time before her past catches up with her, and then even Robin's protection may not be enough to keep her from the hangman's noose.

SCARLET is massively entertaining. I was caught up in this unusual thief's story from the first page. At the point in which we meet her, Scarlet herself is eighteen years old. The same age as John and just a couple or three years younger than Rob (I love that she calls him Rob). This age spread worked nicely as Robin is home from the crusades--an old man in a young man's body--and Scarlet herself is an old soul, having prowled the streets of London before Rob hauled her off to Sherwood to join his noble cause. These two broken youths find something akin to hope in each other despite the harshness of their previous lives, and I can't tell you how many times my heart contracted with sympathy for them. The characters in SCARLET like to keep their secrets. Every one of them is holding onto something they'd prefer not come out into the light of day. Nobody more than Scarlet herself, of course, but I appreciated the various histories and enjoyed the ways in which A. C. Gaughen incorporated the many traditional threads of the tale. I'm always a fan of girls in disguise, and this one has the bite to match her bark, if you will. She has few soft spots--possibly just the one--and that one is so rife with impossibility and unspoken hope that it hardly warrants the name. But I happily plunged into those impossible hopes with her and adopted them as my own. Which is to say, Scarlet had my affections from the get go. The boys I liked at first and grew to love (and sometimes hate) as the game unfolded. I like that Robin isn't portrayed perfectly. Don't get me wrong. He's a hero through and through. But he has his fair share of shortsightedness. And ghosts. And I wasn't always sure he deserved the ending I wanted for him. I also wished for a bit more complexity on the part of the villain. There was so much potential for Gisbourne in this retelling, and I felt as though he came off a bit, well, ridiculous at times, when he should have been terrifying. But despite these smallish quibbles, I stayed up hours past my bedtime devouring the final chapters in this delightful debut. If you're at all a fan of Robin Hood and women who know their way around a weapon, you won't want to miss it.
Profile Image for Diana Stormblessed.
538 reviews34 followers
February 13, 2012
I am a sucker for a good historical retelling, and a strong heroine to be honest, and this book had everything I was looking for.

Scarlet is a member of Robin Hood's band of thieves. Few outside the group know that she's a girl, as she disguises herself as Will Scarlet. In the legends and movies of past Robin Hoods, Will was often considered Robin's best friend, and was always played by the cutest, dorkiest boys. In case you need a reminder:

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)

Oh, and while there was no Will character in the Disney version of Robin Hood, I think it was by far my favorite, and I still encourage you to go see it.


Anyway, in this version Scarlet is a girl with a past. She's been hiding out with Robin's men for the past two years, but now the Sheriff has hired the thief-taker Gisbourne to bring Robin in once and for all. With Gisbourne's arrival, the past that Scarlet has fought to keep hidden for all these years is threatening to reveal itself.

This story is written beautifully. Its written in Scarlet's words, with her commoner accent, the way she would have talked back in those days. The plot stars off action filled and never gets dull. The character development was wonderful, as well as the richness in the way the different character relationships were laid out.

Speaking of the characters, they by far they were what made this such a wonderful story. Each had their flaws.

Scarlet is running from her past. She's crude, secretive, and generally keeps to herself.

Robin has a bit of a temper. Instead of the perfect hero, he's a little rough around the edges. He has the weight of the world on his shoulders, and sometimes that much pressure gets to be a bit much. He might be the most realistic Robin Hood I've read/seen.

Little John is a big, charismatic brute. He was definitely more attractive here than in other stories.

Much is the youngest and sweetest member of the group. Scarlet cares for him like a brother.

Even the secondary characters, the townspeople, where wonderful. They had weak moments, but they were just human. All coping with the crummy situations they were in.

And yes, there was even a little romance. But it was the kind I really like. The romance was secondary in the story. It was something in the background, just teasing you without ever overriding the main plot. I don't want to say too much, but I love a good romance tease.

The only problem I had with the book was that its a stand alone book. The ending, while wrapping up the plot, still leaves loose ends with so much room for a sequel. Its a great place to stop to make you want more. And I do. I'm hoping for a sequel, because without one, that ending is just going to kill me.

For more reviews check out http://nightlyreading.wordpress.com/
Profile Image for Teryna90.
201 reviews49 followers
May 18, 2015
The first thing that came to mind as soon as I figured out this was about Robin Hood's band was the Robin Hood song that the italian cartoon singer Cristina D'avena sang, here's the link if you'd like to listen to it, it's really adorable: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVdXx....

I grew up with Robin Hood's cartoons and soon fell in love with all the movies and the stories... and when I found out that one of my fav author had actually wrotten Robin Hood, not only did I feel stupid but also enthusiastic. I went out and bought Dumas' Robin Hood and after reading it I just couldn't stop holding it and smiling! Even though Lady Marion dies, I was prepared for her death but it still hurt. And right now I'm hoping that the author that did not like the weak figure of Marion will actually change the ending ^^, well Scarlet is no weak Marion.

A hero who steals from rich to give to poor, to help them pay taxes ^^ we can't help falling in love with someone like that! Even if its just a tale, a myth, a book character! Just can't help it, and Gaughen's Robin seems even more handsome!

I really really loved this book, and I'm happy because it's not easy to pick up a tale like Robin Hood and internalize it like A.C. Gaughen has done. She on my advice has done a marvellous job. At first I must admit I had a hard time getting used to Scarlet's language, it sounded forced and annoying and so no natural, and I think that was the author's purpose. Let's not forget who Scarlet is. A Lady.

We have a story set in our favorite forest, Sherwood and we find most of the characters loyal to Robin like little John, here John little, Much; Friar Tuck and Lady Marion, that takes the name of one of the characters, Will Scarlet. We don't find a lady like Marion but a thief, forced to steal to live at first and then forced to live to steal goods that could help others survive. It's clear like the rain that she is totally head over feat for our hero, Robin Hood, even though she has a hard time figuring it out. Stupid Scarlet! There is also another one falling slowly in love with Marion, cus we already know that "our" Robin is totally lost over her, and that is John little. His parts weren't annoying at all, I actually liked him a lot and fell pretty sorry for him... Well we will see what will happen in book two between them and how things are going to get tensed in the band. And I also hope that the author gives us a good love or happy story for John, he really deserves it.

I liked the adventures, the fighting, it wasn't much but it was good. I liked the descriptions and the feeling that the dialogues made me feel. I lost a couple of heart beat along the reading and just couldn't help it. Robin melts our hearts with his words and then shatters Scarlet's hope, but we know why he does and says what he does. <3 Our hero <3 *.*

I love it when books make my heart melt.

"We don't lie to each other, Scar. Especially not about things that mean I might lose you."


Some spoilers - - After finishing this book I just wanted to start the second as soon as possible. Lady Marion wed to that little mean rat, the sheriff dead, Robin and Scarlet hugging, I wanted to know more and read more but I decided to wait for book three, I don't feel like not only suffering after book two but also being forced to wait months before book three comes out, no way! Pure torture!
Profile Image for Lauren (Sugar & Snark).
312 reviews119 followers
June 6, 2013
First let me just say that I am a huge fan of the Robin Hood Legend. As a kid I watched the Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman movie about 15 times more then most people would call healthy. So when I saw there was a book out that had a twist on the same old story – Will Scarlet is a girl in disguise!!! I was beyond excited.

But then it turned out to be just so BAD!!

Here’s why-
Let me paint a picture of Scarlet for you - Imagine that chick from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon who can fly through trees and has other seemingly super human powers but with knives instead of swords. (Scarlet thinks swords suck!) Now make her a martyr (not in a good way) and give her a persecution complex topped off with an eating disorder. Oh and just to round it all off she is also a compulsive spitter with a tendency to brag. What a winner right?? (go girl power)

I personally found very little to like about this girl. When she wasn’t doing acrobatics through the forest?? Or utilising her kick ass thieving skills (not as kick ass as the author/Scarlet would have us believe) she is either sulking or leading Robin and his merry men around by the cocks. In fact the story may as well have been changed to Scarlet and her merry men. Because the way this story portrayed it Scarlet was the one with all the plans, all the skills and the one that alwayssaves the day. In fact Robin was basically only there as eye candy and to be a pawn in Scarlet’s love triangle. Yes CRINGE there is a love triangle!!

This book was written in the first person and I have to say that I have never read a more bizarre attempt at a British/colloquial/I just don’t know what accent. It was actually painful to read. And more importantly why was Scarlet the only person in the whole book with an accent?? From the lowliest peasant to the highest Lord everyone spoke perfect English. So what the hell??!! I think it took me twice as long to read this book then it should have, just because I was constantly trying to figure out what tense it was in! And I won’t even go into the author’s terrible habit of constantly stating the obvious!

As for the plot, predictable is too mild a word. And on top of this the book is littered with historical inaccuracies. But perhaps worst of all, as I mentioned briefly before Robin Hood has been relegated to a bit part in his own story! I realise the book is called Scarlet but COME ON a line has to be drawn somewhere. The guy at least deserved a little dimension! But now that I think about it none of the other “supporting“ cast member had any dimension either....

So in summation, there are lots of great Robin Hood stories out there but IMHO this is not one of them. This book doesn’t add anything new or interesting to the legend and I honestly wish I had just skipped it.
Profile Image for Trisha Wolfe.
Author 42 books2,573 followers
March 3, 2012
Oh, this so my kind of story. A stubborn, brash, get-out-of-my-way-and-let-me-do-my-thing lead character, who is flawed realistically, yet fierce, brave and determined—Scarlet is a strong lead who had me rooting for her the whole time. The only girl among Robin Hood’s band of thieves, she hides away, playing the role of a young boy, while her past is steadily sneaking up on her in the form of a Thief Taker named Lord Gisbourne.Though she doesn't let that hold her back from trying to help the citizens of Nottinghamshire. And I loved how she fumbled along her way, but learned, growing in the process.

What I also loved about this story was the voice. Gaughen did an amazing job making me feel as if I were back in the time of the Crusades, and Scarlet’s dialect was authentic. I wasn’t expecting much romance, so I was pleasantly surprised when both Robin and Little John seemed to be developing affections for Scarlet. This added more tension to the plot, and I loved every minute of their banter. Scarlet is addicting, and with its twists, secrets, and reveals, it’s a must read for anyone looking to be swept away into an original tale.
Profile Image for Joy.
13 reviews
December 10, 2012
Recently a friend introduced me to the term "Mary Sue" or "Gary Stu" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Sue
I wasn't sure what that meant until I read Scarlet. A female character a "Mary Sue" or male "Gary Stu" is an impossible character. They can do no wrong, everyone loves them, everyone needs them, they know everything and can do it all better than anyone.
I'm a Robin Hood fan. I thought the idea behind Scarlet was promising. A different take on the legend. Will Scarlet actually being a female, on the run from a secret, troubling past sounds intriguing, right? Apparently not. Not in the hands of A.C Gaughen anyway. I have no problem with strong female characters. That's actually something I look for in a book, movie, tv show wherever I can find them. But in every character male or female there should be balance.
Scarlet was beautiful, smart, talented, desired, self-sacrificing to the max. Robin Hood and the others couldn't rob from the rich and give to the poor properly without her. She knew who to trust and who not to trust. She could hunt, fight, run through the trees and climb like no other. She was the best with a knife and could sneak in and out of the prison, she came up with all the plans to free the people before they were executed, including Robin Hood himself. So I have a question: Why is Robin Hood and his Band of Men in this story at all?! All Nottingham really needs is Scarlet! Not to mention the self-recriminations were rife in this book!
I will say that I did like the supporting characters even the Sheriff and Guy of Gisbourne. Liked not loved. They were more like extras than supporting characters at times but I enjoyed them for the most part.
Also I was throughly annoyed with Scarlet's grammar in this book. It made no sense to me. I assume it was supposed to be the form of English spoken at the time. However I'm pretty sure it was closer to "redneck" than "medieval". It does take more than replacing 'was' with 'were' and cutting off the bits of a word or two, doesn't it? Here's a bit from the very first chapter: "So I'm a girl. Most people miss that 'bout me. the boys'll call me Will Scarlet if other people are 'bout; a few people know it's just Scarlet. But most think I'm a Will." and "I flicked my eyes over to him, and he were staring at me in that way that I hate, like if he looked long enough he'd see everything I were. "I'm going to throw some knives around."" I read the whole book and that was sticking into my gut the whole time! That is NOT English in any form! I kept trying to give this book a chance but by the end I was sorry I wasted my time. Oh excuse me, I WERE sorry! UGH!
Profile Image for Fenia.
254 reviews457 followers
June 20, 2014
OMG FLAWLESS BOOK. I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!! ♥ Since childhood i always had an attachment with the story of Robin Hood. and it always felt close to home. And then i read this. and WOW. BRILLIANT TWIST.

Scarlet is such an amazing character. so strong and badass. reading her thoughts made me feel badass. Rob..OH MY GOD. GIVE ME MY ROB!!! We should all get a Rob!!! JUST UGHHH I LOVE HIMMMM!!! :P *crazy eyes* . Much,he's an adorable little puppy and smart. John..well when he's not trying to ruin my ship,he's a decent fellow :)

A.C.Gaughen rights so beautifully. When i first started reading it,i got confused with the 'were' but then as i got used to Scarlet's language, well after that the book just BOOM sucked me in. The angst between Rob and Scarlet killed me!! Even if i was reading Scarlet's thoughts,and even though she wasn't admitting to anything. I KNEWWWWW!!!! And i also knew about her identity. DUH!!! She HAD to be her :D ♥
The scenery,the woods,the constant action..MAGIC. This book was MAGIC. I can't wait to read 'Lady Thief'!!!! I'm in love with these books ♥
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