Titles: Scarlet and The Lady Thief
Author: A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #1 & #2
Genre: Teen Fiction
Rating: 3/5 stars
The Overviews: Scarlet: Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in. It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.
Lady Thief: Scarlet’s true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet’s love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet’s past even she isn’t yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman—a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin’s cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet’s tale will have readers talking once again.
Yep – I’m doing a dual review because after two months of trying, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no way I’m going to get caught up with all of the books I need to review unless I take some drastic measures… and your looking at ’em. It helps matters that these two books were incredibly similar – even down to receiving the same overall rating. I also liked and disliked them for the same reasons. Behold the review:
I am not one for retellings, but this version of Robin Hood won me over. Not only was it clear the author done a fair bit of research, but the spin that she took on its was something I’ve not seen before… it was actually quite brilliant. I loved the characters – everyone from Robin Hood himself (hubba, hubba) to a one-armed sidekick named Much were vibrant and rounded.
One of the twists I actually liked the most was the addition of a love triangle between Scarlet, Robin Hood, and John (don’t cringe, it was actually one of the better ones). There was no doubt in my mind who I thought she should go with, but it was a lot of fun to see her get pulled in different directions. Did the drama between the three go on a little too long? Probably. Was some of the drama a little senseless? Definitely. But the magical thing about this book is that I didn’t care – I just had fun reading it.
Be warned when you pick up this series that there is a slightly distracting use of language throughout the entire thing. Whether it was to create and uneducated feel for her main protagonists, or just to make a statement and stand out with the language, the author went through and replaced every “was” with a “were.” She were this, she were that, the castle were big.… You get the idea. While I appreciate what she was trying to do, I don’t think it actually did more than make me work harder to understand the story. Changing a single word does not make for a successful new dialect, and I thought it would’ve been a lot stronger if she had just spent some extra time adjusting the dialogue of the main character and left the narration alone. As it was, Scarlet spoke intelligently save for that single word. In the whole scheme of things, it’s not a huge deal, and as the author gets further into the story it becomes less noticeable (probably because there’s more dialogue), but it is something to be aware of before diving in.
I love the story of the first book, and indeed thought it could’ve stood as a standalone if it wanted to, but the plot for the second one had me highly interested. I really like the promise it held and the direction it was going in. It didn’t quite explore things as thoroughly as I would’ve liked, but again that didn’t bother me too much because I was genuinely enjoying reading it.
Overall, if you like retellings, this is definitely a book I would recommend. I will be picking up the third and final book in the trilogy, but it’s not one of those I’ll have to have the day it comes out (I say that, but you watch me change my tune as soon as there’s cover reveal, lol).
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