Book Review: Scarlet

8 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review

Scarlet Cover

Title: Scarlet (Scarlet #1)

Author: A.C. Gaughen

Summary: [from GoodReads]

 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.

My Review

It’s funny – as much as I love retellings and the era of Robin Hood, I have never been able to get myself that excited about a retelling of his story. I’ve tried many times in all different formats, but mostly I just get bored and give up halfway through. So, when I say I finished this one, that’s saying something (whether about the book or my own determination, I’m not sure. Probably a little of both.)

The actual plot of the story as a whole wasn’t particularly interesting – there was little change from the original Robin Hood legend where events were concerned. The main difference was the fact that Scarlet was a girl. This created some very interesting tension between the characters, especially Little John and Robin. Furthermore, I always love a kick-butt girl set in a time when girls “weren’t allowed” to do that sort of thing. It may be unrealistic, but it is fun.

The thing that really bothered me, though, was the language. Scarlet is the narrator and she has extreme problems with verb/noun agreement, especially when it comes to were/was. This problem is eventually explained, and I can understand it as a valid artistic choice, but every time it came up it set my teeth on edge and I cringed. I know I’m being picky, but it threw me out of the story. It really, REALLY bothered me.

If you like Robin Hood (and aren’t a grammar Nazi like me) you might really enjoy this book. But frankly, it just wasn’t for me.

Leave a Reply

8 Responses to “Book Review: Scarlet”

  1. Hmm …. that’s weird about the grammar! I’m not sure if I would be able to read this even THOUGH it had been on my TBR list forever (until I removed it). I’m really not a huge fan of books that are written oddly … I like plain English, dammit!

    • Anne says:

      See, I do too! I totally get dialect for speech but the narration needs to be normal, so that I can actually, ya know, read it without stopping every few sentences to make sure I read it right!

  2. I’m sorry to hear that. I really enjoyed this book and I love retellings, so this was a fun story. Perhaps it’s because I’m Dutch, so I don’t see those problems :)


    • Anne says:

      I can see that. I know if I were reading in French (which I took for 5 years in school) I wouldn’t notice little grammar errors much – I’d just be reading for content. I’m glad you enjoyed it though! It’s a book that I can see being great for some people, just not for me :)

  3. The cover has always caught my attention. It looks so intriguing and I like a good butt-kicking leading lady. The grammar thing … that’s odd. I think that would take away from my enjoyment of the book a little (maybe a lot). Thank you for the review, I’ll won’t put this at the top of my ‘to-read’ list.

    • Anne says:

      Glad I could help! I was exactly the same way – it was on my list for forever because of the cover and a little because of the blurb, so when I saw it at the library I knew I had to take it home! Ah well, sometimes our gut reactions are wrong :/

  4. ALexa says:

    A w I’m sorry this didn’t work for you. I know it can be nearly impossible to get into a series when the grammar is bad. I personally had trouble with the Downside Ghost series by Kane because the characters talk funny as part of the speech patterns where they live. It took a little getting use to but once I got it I now love the series and the unique way they talk.

    I guess it is all just reader’s preference at the end of the day.

    Thanks for the great review, sorry this wasn’t for you

    • Anne says:

      You know, sometimes this stuff bothers me and sometimes it doesn’t. Dialect for dialog almost never bothers me, but bad grammar in the narration usually does. Go figure!

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