Scarlet

First Lines: No one really knows ’bout me.  I’m Rob’s secret, I’m his informant, I’m his shadow in dark places.  No one ever takes me for more than a knockabout lad, a whip of a boy.  They never really see.  And I don’t mind that they don’t see.  Like, when you walk through a room full of big men drunk off their skulls, it ain’t so bad to be ignored.

I feel like everyone knows the legend of Robin Hood, but there are some characters that don’t make it into all the retellings of the legend.  That’s the saddest part of the whole thing.  Some of the best characters are the ones that are left out.

Everyone in Nottingham has heard of Will Scarlet, the best thief in Robin Hood’s band of merry men.  But Scarlet is keeping a big secret, one that only Robin and his men know–Will Scarlet is actually a girl.  Scarlet has run away from her past and identity to join Robin.  Everything gets turned on its head when thief taker Lord Gisbourne is hired to rid Nottingham of Robin’s band.  As Gisbourne gets closer, Scarlet must decide how much she cares for the people of Nottingham, especially John Little and Robin himself.  How far is the fight going to go?  Are they willing to risk their lives for it?

I loved it.  I wasn’t sure I would since one of the essential pieces of the story was tampered with by making Will a girl.  But it totally worked.  It was seamless and enticing.  I kept wanting to read more and more and more of it.

As you can probably tell by the first lines, Scarlet’s voice comes through easily.  That was what I liked best first off.  It was clear that Scarlet was narrating and what she thought of everything.  She held nothing back…except her own secrets.  It was really interesting to read.

I also really liked the characters.  All of them were roughly teenagers, which was different from most stories.  John Little (“Little John”) was a solidly build flirt of a man.  Robin was a bit moody, but an excellent leader.  Much (the miller’s son) was reasonable and innovative.  And Scarlet was great with a pair of knives, clever, and resourceful.  The one who wasn’t a teenager was Gisbourne, who was just an amazing villain.  I don’t normally like villains, but when I’ve seen them played by someone as gorgeous as Richard Armitage in the BBC series, I’m fairly gaga over them.  He’s all I could picture the whole time I was reading.

There’s a lot of adventure in the story.  What else would you expect from a story of Robin Hood?  It was really neat to see the fights and how everyone in the group reacted to them.  And it was neat to see how everyone reacted to Scarlet as a girl in a band of men.

I just loved it.  Scarlet has made her way onto my list of favorite heroines.  She kicks butt.

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