Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review of Scarlet


The first thing you notice about Scarlet is the language. Ms. Gaughen has invented her own rough-streets dialect for Will Scarlet that gets in your head and promises to stay there all day. The language slows the reader down just enough, inviting us to settle ourselves into her version of the Robin Hood story. And the key character here is Will Scarlet, though here the "Will" part is just for show, and the nickname "Scar" is both literally and figuratively applicable. Scarlet is  a girl, taken in by Robin Hood two years prior to the start of the story, when he caught her trying to steal from him in London. She's the little band of four's best thief. She's one of the guys, more brass in her language than any of them, just to prove that she can take care of herself. But Guy of Gisbourne is coming to town, and he knows a secret from her past that could threaten everything she has worked so hard to forget.

I love the Robin Hood story in nearly all of its forms. Ms. Gaughen's imagination of it is familiar yet original enough to help us fall in love with the characters yet again.  Rough-around-the-edges charmer Little John feels like someone I could know, and Rob is, as always, the kind of guy every girl has a crush on. Scar's got demons of her own that we discover slowly, and of course there's the action and romantic tension that keeps us turning pages.

Yes, there is a bit of characters running surprisingly long distances through the woods while injured, fueled by perhaps limited amounts of food. It was my one complaint in the story; then again, action movies often suffer from the same. So you chalk it up to adrenaline/suspend your disbelief, and just settle into this wonderful story, which just begs a sequel...

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