What a wonderful book! It was recommended to me by another blogger and I have read some good reviews for this one, but it’s been some time since its release this year and I haven’t seen much written about it since. I kind of forgot I even had it, but I am so glad I dug deeply into my TBR piles and pulled this one to the front. It’s just what I needed on the rainy day I picked it up.
Firstly, I must say that I have a strong addiction for books in which girls prove to the world that they are just as capable of doing anything boys can do. Scarlet is part of Robin Hood’s band of lovable thieves. Of course very few people know that Scarlet is in fact a girl because she dresses as a boy. She has learned that stealing, moving fast, and climbing trees is much preferable in pants and also that boy’s clothes are much easier to disguise oneself in. The band knows she’s a girl and while there are a lot of jokes had at her expense, for the most part, Scarlet is accepted for who she is.
On the other hand, no one really knows her. She’s the newest member of the band and Robin knows that she has some serious secrets. But, he accepts her because he knows she’s a good person and well, she’s really helped them in the stealing department. Robin and his band go around Sherwood Forest and the towns surrounding it, stealing money and valuables form the rich. They give a lot of things to the poor folk who cannot afford the high taxes set up by the sheriff. They help provide food, they rescue innocent people from prison, and most of all they stockpile goods to sell so everyone will be able to pay their taxes.
Scarlet isn’t too straightforward with the readers either. It’s clear from the very beginning that she feels a lot of guilt, that she has lost someone very close to her, and that she will do everything in her power to make up for whatever it is she has done. This works well with Robin who pretty much feels the exact same way. He was actually once a noble. He went off to fight in the Crusades, and while he was gone his father died. The government than was able to steal Robin’s rightful lands while he was away by claiming some false statements about it. And instead of being justly angry when he returned, Robin seems soul-bent on making up for all the poor people he killed while at war.
The story really starts when the thief taker, Lord Gisbourne is hired by the sheriff to take down Robin’s men. It soon becomes painstakingly clear that Scarlet has had a past with Lord Gisbourne and that he seems to be the reason she has a scar on her face. A lot of action happens all at once. Between the arrests, the attacks, the fires, the injustice of the high taxes for the poor, and all the things from Scarlet’s past coming back to haunt her there’s never a dull moment.
There’s a bit of a love triangle that I loved every second of! There’s some amazing politics that are so relatable to today’s politics. It really has you thinking about the way the tax system works and doesn’t work. And Scarlet becomes more and more of a wonderfully complex character as the book goes on, and all of her secrets come out.
I love how cocky Scarlet is about stealing! And none of the male characters acted as though she didn’t deserve to be full of herself. She had rightly proven herself to a group of thieves! Her skills with knives were so much fun to read about. I wish there was more about her learning this skill than was mentioned just because I found it so much fun to read! I liked that her name was earned. She was scarlet, not just because of her scar, but because of he scarlet ribbons she used to tie to the end of her knives. I like that she’s based off of a real character (technically two characters) in the Robin Hood classic, and that most people really believed her to be a boy: Will Scarlet. And my favorite thing about her was her love of freedom! She refused to by trapped down by any man or set of beliefs and valued her freedom above almost all else.
I loved Robin too. He was such a leader and such a good person! I loved how people reacted to him, followed him, and trusted him so thoroughly. There’s this one scene when the gang stops a carriage with a noble lady inside. And before Robin says anything to the lady, she asks who he is. And when he introduces himself, the lady actually willingly takes off her jewels and demands her guards to step down and let Robin take what he may! Even some of the rich believed in what he was doing!
There was an epic ending with a tiny hint of a cliffhanger. I’m hoping the author will continue the story, but I can also see how it’s not totally necessary. I just think it would be a lot of fun if she did. I recommend this one to fans of Tamora Pierce and Maria V. Snyder. It was just so much fun from start to finish. It was rather predictable, but what Robin Hood retelling isn’t? Knowing the classic tale helped me to love this even more though by no means is it necessary to have read it first. This gets a 10/10 from me for sure.