Books I've Read

Book Review: Scarlet by A.C Gaughen


Since I bragged a bit about my 70 book goal on Friday, you get a book review on a Monday! As many of you know, I am a big fan of retelling old stories in new ways, whether fairy tales or history or what have you. I also enjoy stories about Robin Hood. These two things made me very excited about finding Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen. I believe this book was on someone’s list for Top Ten Tuesday, but to be honest, I can’t remember who it was who recommended it. So if you’re reading this and you had this book on one of your lists, thank you!

This book has all the usual suspects that a Robin Hood story needs: Robin, Little John, Friar Tuck, the Sheriff of Nottingham, Guy of Gisbourne. And, of course, Will Scarlet. Except in this story, Will Scarlet is actually a girl. Scarlet (or Scar, as the gang calls her) is a good, feisty heroine, which I always enjoy. Most people don’t know she’s a girl, although Robin and John do, as do a handful of others. Together, the gang try to protect the people, both from the Sheriff’s taxes and Gisbourne’s thugs.

Of course, there’s a bit of a love triangle. John is clearly attracted to Scarlet, and she doesn’t not like him either, but she does have confusing feelings for Rob. You start to suspect that, despite her rough-and-tumble act, Scarlet may not be as low born as she seems. She also knows Gisbourne from somewhere in her past and has a very good reason to get him as far away from her people as possible.

This was a fun read and definitely a new take on the Robin Hood story. I can honestly say I haven’t see this idea before. There was action, adventure, a little romance – all packaged nicely into a book that can be read in a couple of days. It was thoroughly enjoyable. Whoever recommended it to me, I thank them gladly for doing so and add my own recommendation. Check this book out. It’s a whole lot of fun.

Books I've Read

Robin who?

I really need to get caught up on my book reviews. But the good news is that, according to Goodreads, I have read 57 of my goal of 60 books for this year! I only need to read three more in order to complete my goal and I have nearly two months to do that. Yeah. Not a problem.

Also, speaking of book reviews, if you notice on my site, I have a list of the books I’ve read for the year. On that list you will see (so far) the first three Harry Potter books. I’m not going to review them, not because I didn’t enjoy them (believe me, that is not the case!), but because I really don’t have anything else to say about them that hasn’t already been said a thousand times. The books are amazing. The characters are amazing. End of story. I’m also re-reading the Chronicles of Narnia, but after reviewing the first one, I’ve decided not to continue reviewing the others. They are great books and I’m enjoying the heck out of reading them with my daughter, but other than that, I don’t have anything new to say. If you haven’t read them, go read them. They are well worth the effort.

So today’s review will be on Hood by Stephen Lawhead, the first book of the King Raven trilogy. This was the book club pick for the Mallorean Tavern a few months ago, but I had read it before that and wanted an excuse to read it again.

Anyone who enjoys the story of Robin Hood will be intrigued by this book. The story has been changed a bit. For one thing, it takes place in Wales, not England, and happens a century or two earlier. Instead of Robin of Locksley, we have Bran – the son of a Welsh nobleman who is a reckless, irresponsible playboy who doesn’t want to grow up and become like his father. The Ffreinc people have invaded Britain and are slowing taking over territory one kingdom at a time. When Bran’s father is killed for not swearing fealty to the new king, Bran has to grow up really fast. He tries to run away, but is attacked and injured. He is found by Angharad, a wise woman who nurses him back to heath and helps him realize his responsibility to his people, who are suffering under Ffreinc rule. Together with the remnants of his court, Bran and Angharad create the legend of King Raven, a dark spirit that haunts the Welsh woods and reigns destruction on their enemies.

All the usual cast of characters are included. We have “Little John” – Iwan, the former captain of Bran’s father’s guard. We have “Friar Tuck” – Father Aethelfrith, and English friar who tries to help Bran and his friends. And we have the “Merry Men” – the Grellon, a group of people dedicated to King Raven and to saving the people of Wales from King William the Red. And of course, there is “Maid Marian” – Merian, the young princess of a neighboring kingdom who is in love with Bran, but is being courted by an enemy baron.

Adventure, intrigue, and a dash of mysticism make this book a very interesting read. I’ve read the next two books as well (Scarlet and Tuck) and they are just as good, if not better. So if you love Robin Hood, you will probably love Rhi Bran y Hud as well.

Writing challenge update:

9522 / 30000