Will Scarlet, the most skilled knife- handling young fellow of Robin, in the traditional tales, famous for his hot temper. But he’s not actually what we think he is. He’s no lad; he’s a lass; a girl hiding her true identity in men’s clothes. Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.
This is one of the few books I could read over and over and over again and still give it five stars. One of the things you notice when you read a lot of books is that you tire of ideas easily. Only few, talented authors can wiggle their way into your heart and stay there for years. Louisa May Alcott did it with Little Women. Charles Dickens did it with A Tale of Two Cities. Sharon M. Draper did it with Out of My Mind. John Green did it with the Fault in Our Stars. Rick Riordan did it with the Son of Neptune. There’s only about ten or so books that did it for me. The way I judge is that a book needs to have five traits:
a) colorful, precise, accurate, relevant, great word choice and writing. (Meaning: Not Twilight).
b) original, interesting, powerful ideas.
c) amazing, powerful, well-formed characters.
d) a certain charisma that keeps me coming back again and again, and I never get tired of reading it. Every time I read it, I see the open, beautiful, mind blowing cleverness and emotion of it all.
e) a well-formed, decent plot line.
There you have it. This is one of those five-star books. I prefer selective, not picky. I think this would be a good book for teenage girls more than teenage guys. I liked Robin Hood to begin with, and this book put a really nice spin on Robin.
1) What first struck me was the narration of Scarlet. It felt authentic and true to the era. The first sentence didn’t really grab me the way The Knife of Never Letting Go did, but by the third page, I was intrigued. It wasn’t just that though, it was the fact that the writing stayed consistent through the entire book.
2) Scarlet. Look back at point c. Amazing, powerful, well-formed characters. Here is a girl who is brash, rude, secretive and entirely unapologetic about it. Yet she is brave, kind, thoughtful and feels real and relatable. She helps people even when they don’t react well to her help, she doesn’t let anyone define her or tether her. She is her own person. As for the other characters, they are all powerful, lovable in their own ways and exasperating in others.
3) This isn’t a perfect book, I know that, but oddly enough I keep coming back to it. I loved this book as a single novel, and honestly I was kind of upset when I heard that there’s going to be a series. There’s been one too many books where I read the series and end up regretting it because I liked the ending to the first book so much better than the ending the writer decided upon. For those of you who find this book unsatisfying if and when you decide to read it, I completely respect that. Never fear, it’s going to be a series.
pg count for the hardback: 287