Ah, first post in a long while. I’ve read tons of things and I’m just now getting back into blogging. It’s been a pretty crazy couple months with work and a little home renovation, but I should be able to be a little more regular about it. Also, Guild Wars 2 just came out, and what can I say? I was born to fight dragons! On the internet! While sipping Mountain Dew and eating chocolates of +7 Vitality!
A.C. Gaughen’s debut novel Scarlet is a quick and fun read for anyone who thinks that Maid Marian needed a makeover. Will Scarlet is known about town as a slippery thief who is in league with Robin Hood, stealing from the rich to feed the poor. But only a few are privy to this thief’s secret: she’s a girl, and she’s got some skeletons in her closet that are about to come out when the Sheriff of Nottingham calls in some infamous back-up. With only a few weeks until tax day and the citizens poorer than ever, Scarlet, Robin Hood, Little John and Much have a pretty impossible task on their hands.
I really liked this book as far as some of the other debuts that I’ve read. Scarlet is a well-rounded character, and I liked the progression that Gaughen uses to slowly reveal her past. It didn’t feel too rushed or too slow, and I wasn’t left feeling like the author had withheld important information just to be mysterious, that there was a purpose to it. I thought her slowly building romance with Robin Hood was much preferable to the confusing relationship she fudges together with Little John. Actually, can I just say that I almost didn’t even like Little John as a character? He was loyal to the team and had his moments, but a lot of the time later in the novel I was left feeling like he just needed to move over and accept the whole Scarlet/Robin thing. Scarlet’s actions toward Little John are confusing too; I know she’s just troubled and that he’s being kind to her, but she seems to know that she doesn’t like him, and then it just irks me when she leads him on.
The other thing that I found to be immediately difficult about this book was the accent in which it was written. The author uses a phonetic spelling technique to create a sort of rough British accent, but the accent apparently requires switching up a lot of word order. I expected that it would pass and I would get over it, but it actually ended up being something that I struggled with for the rest of the novel.
Despite that, I was able to keep going to the end, and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed. The author has some really great twists up her sleeve. I was able to guess one of the twists, but another of them was a really fun and exciting surprise. And though I can’t say that I’ve ever been a huge consumer of Robin Hood stories other than various movies, I thought that the author did a great job in making a recreation of it that was fun to read. Robin Hood himself is nicely flawed in the way that he gets jealous of Little John, and it was nice to see a representation of him that wasn’t all sporting, swash-buckling and always noble.
In all this was a good read, and it left off with a cliffhanger that I’m kind of hoping gets resolved or continued with a sequel. If not, I can totally accept it as a stand alone, as not everything needs to be turned into a trilogy. But I’m just saying. It would be fine with me if it was. You know.