My rating: 4 of 5 stars
We all think we know the story of Robin Hood. The thief who took from the rich and gave to the poor. I don’t know much else about the story, or the people Robin Hood fought with. And reading Scarlet was a great reminder of a time quite long ago where life was really not fair.
The story centres around Scarlet. A girl, known as a boy, who fights alongside Robin Hood. She’s a girl with more than her gender as a secret. Her whole life is a big mystery, down to the scar that runs down her cheek. She’s foul mouthed. She’s loyal. She’s vulnerable but brave. She’s a great heroine. But she’s also mean, because she knew how she felt about Robin Hood when she was leading on John Little.
There was plenty of action and adventure in this story. Which was both good and bad. Sometimes I just wanted a scene where we sat with the characters and really got an insight into them. Mostly, the book just jumped from one action scene to another. There was always something happening. So while I was never bored, it also felt like there wasn’t an ending in sight because there wasn’t one overlaying plot. Wasn’t one motivation from start to finish. Yes, the taxes were due, but it wasn’t focused on enough to really make me feel that it was the main plot point.
I loved the realism in the narrative. The word use, the British slang (that we still use now!), the mentions of the towns and the locations. Very realistic and made the story that much better. However, I’d have liked some better descriptions. If, like me, you’re not clued up in what some of these old terms mean or what it is, you’re going to be confused. Sometimes, actually quite a lot of the time, I couldn’t for the life of me get a mental picture of what was going on. This happened because of lack of location description, lack of movement description, and sometimes rushed narrative. This happened often during fight scenes too. Scarlet would be described as ‘landing on her hands’ and then stabbing someone. And I thought ‘how can you land on your hands and stab someone at the same time?’
My other problem was that there were all these characters running around and being introduced, but no real introductions were made. I felt nothing for most of the secondary characters the band were risking their lives for because no time was given into fleshing them out. They’d go somewhere and someone was getting beaten up and Scarlet would think ‘It was Ramilda Long’ and that’s all we got. Who the frick is Ramilda? I don’t care for her because I don’t know her at all.
Overall, this was a fantastic read. It was very fast paced, and the main characters were great to read about. I especially loved the banter between John and Scarlet and the ‘will they won’t they’ romance between Rob and Scarlet. I would recommend it go through some more editorial fixes before release, but other than that, I definitely enjoyed.