Publishers Weekly Review
Gaughen debuts with an inspired reimagining of the Robin Hood tale, one narrated by "Scarlet," a girl, and the love interest of 21-year-old "Rob." As in the original, the band of thieves steals from the wealthy to provide to the poor, with help from rascally John Little and other minor miscreants. When the Sheriff of Nottinghamshire hires Lord Gisbourne, a "Thief Taker," to aid him in his tax-collecting mission, Rob and his outlaws fight to stop them before the hangings begin. Tough-minded, independent, and guilt-ridden, Scarlet is an expert thief and knife fighter, who offers detailed and rousing accounts of her feats ("I threw him to the side, and his blade grazed my leg.... His head hit the ground hard, and I didn't `spect him to get up anytime soon"). But she also lies about her traumatic past and hides her vendetta against Gisbourne, putting everyone at risk. Gaughen creates a believable character in Scarlet, a fierce but feeling heroine surviving in an inequitable and unruly society. Alternating action sequences with dramatic emotional encounters, this restaging suggests that the bravest acts may be to trust and love. Ages 12-up. Agent: Minju Chang, BookStop Literary. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 8-10-Plenty of swashbuckling adventure and a hearty dose of romance power this re-imagining of the legend of Robin Hood. Only this time, one of the Merry Men is a female thief disguised as Will Scarlet. She refuses to reveal how she incurred the scar across her cheek or any other details of her earlier life. However, for the outlaws, her quick thinking and expertise with knives are reason enough to allow her to keep her secrets. When the Sheriff of Nottingham tasks the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne (Scarlet's former fiance) with capturing Robin once and for all, she vows to save her hero, no matter what the personal cost. The fast-paced plot is easy to follow and filled with interesting details about the difficulties of medieval peasant life. Most of the traditional aspects of the legend are intact, so readers will recognize the familiar settings, characters, and premise, but the added mystery as to why Scarlet is hiding among Robin's men adds another dimension that will entice female readers. Some graphic epithets and occasional blasphemous curses pepper the dialogue, but they are not overused and language reads true to the period. While Gaughen's work is not as inventive as Lisa Klein's Ophelia (Bloomsbury, 2006) or as poignant as Robin McKinley's classic Beauty (Harper, 1978), his Scarlet is an appealing, fiercely independent young woman.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, The Naples Players, FL (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.