Series or Standalone: Scarlet #1
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Retelling, Historical and Romance
Publication Date: February 2012
To be honest, I think two stars is generous for Scarlet, because I honestly could’ve died of boredom reading it.
The entirety of this story felt really unimaginative and some aspects of the characters were nonsensical. I can’t attest to how good of a retelling it is, as I’m not super familiar with Robin Hood (aside from him being a thief.) But the story lacked suspense and tension I like, as well as being unimaginative.
One thing the Gaughen was able to do well, was built a sense of camaraderie between the crew – Scarlet, Robin, John and Much. However this was spoiled with the addition of a silly love triangle between Scarlet, Robin and John.
I say silly, because there was never any question about who Scarlet was pining for. More over, she makes it painfully obvious who she isn’t pining for. But despite Scarlet telling John she doesn’t want him romantically…
“’Sides, I think I like you better without all the courting.”
John still annoyingly goes after her and keeps telling her what she wants instead of simply listening to her.
“And you do want to be kissed by me. Don’t lie.”
“Come on, Scar, we both know you like me”
Rob was only slightly better, until he accuses Scarlet of ‘toying with him’ despite doing no such thing. In fact she actively pushes people away and runs away from her problems. Neither of those aspects were particularly likeable about Scarlet, but nevertheless she didn’t like actively becoming close with people. She also on occasion would annoyingly throw other women under the bus for being traditionally feminine.
“Thought all you girls like to be insulted,” John told me, pinching my side. I hit his arm. “Don’t touch me, and don’t lump me with that kind.”
“Stop talking ‘bout me like I’m some lily-fingered lady!”
Yet in the same breath Scarlet stands up for women because she doesn’t “like how women get nothing for their own selves.” It’s just a contradictory attitude. She understands the societal climate that women live in and how they have to act in accordance with that. Yet she snaps when she gets lumped with women. It was a redundant attitude and misdirected anger.
Similarly to the plot, the characters felt lackluster. Nothing made any character individually unique or interesting. It’s not enough to like Robin, John and Much for thieving for the greater good. Scarlet had a little more to her personality, however she alienated me with her rudeness and whiny attitude.
This book was overall disappointing and it failed to show me it had any potential to be better in the following sequels.