Book Review: “Scarlet”

“Scarlet” by A.C. Gaughen

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Retelling, Historical Fiction

Source: Bought

Summary from Goodreads:

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the evil Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only Big John and Robin Hood know the truth—the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. It’s getting harder to hide as Gisbourne’s camp seeks to find Scarlet and drive Robin Hood out of Nottinghamshire.

But Scarlet’s instinct for self-preservation is at war with a strong sense of responsibility to the people who took her in when she was on the run, and she finds it’s not so easy to turn her back on her band and townspeople. As Gisbourne draws closer to Scarlet and puts innocent lives at risk, she must decide how much the people of Nottinghamshire mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles and temper have the rare power to unsettle Scarlet.

Full of exciting action, secrets, and romance, this imaginative retelling of the classic tale will have readers following every move of Robin Hood and band of thieves.


  • I’m not familiar with Robin Hood so I can’t comment on how this book stands up as a retelling of the story.
  • I hated the language. I never like when authors use bad grammar in books. I find it barely tolerable when authors use it just for dialogue for characters. I was not pleased that the grammar issues ran through the whole book. It felt incredibly forced and not natural for Scarlet (and as it turns out, it was).
  • I really didn’t like Scarlet. I hated that she was so self-sacrificing. I understand that she wanted to help the people but how does starving herself help them? She’s no good if she’s dead or incapacitated. I was really confused how she attained her ninja skills. I have no problem with girls being awesome fighters. I usually love it. Scarlet was a noble girl for most of her life and then for the past few years she’s lived on the streets as a thief. Where would she have learned to fight like that? The fighting wasn’t even realistic either.
  • Not a fan of the love triangle mainly because I didn’t like the boys. John was incredibly skeezy. I’m not sure how he’s supposed to be likable. Robin was pretty annoying. He got angry at Scarlet for John coming on to her? Huh? How does that makes sense? There was a lot more stuff but I can’t remember it all. (It’s a bit sad that I finished the book semi-recently and can’t remember specific details.)
  • The story has a decent amount of action but somehow it still felt a bit boring.
  • There were some interesting twists to the story though.

The bottom line? It was enjoyable enough. I can see how others might really like it but I didn’t.

14 thoughts on “Book Review: “Scarlet”

  1. I used to love Robin Hood when I was a kid. Well, I still love the story. Have you ever seen the BBC show Robin Hood. It was on for only three seasons, and I actually only watched the first two seasons because of what happened at the end of the second. But it is really good.

    Anyway, Scarlet has been on my radar all year, but I’ve been a bit nervous to read it. I think mainly because I love Robin Hood so much that my expectations might be ridiculously high.

    I think I won’t buy this book though. Maybe I will get it from the library.

    Thanks for the review 🙂

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