Sunday, December 15, 2013
Literary PSA: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
Literary Public Service Announcements is one of my favorite blog features. Essentially, I'm going to pimp a book that I read before I started blogging, but that I want to foist upon the world due to it's high levels of sheer awesomeness, for the good of the public and all that jazz. Instead of me just telling people over and over that they should read something "JUST BECAUSE!!!1!", I've decided to actually explain in a more eloquent fashion just why my favorite books are my favorites.
Last time on Literary Public Service Announcements: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.
And now for this week's PSA:
Review: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
Release date: February 14th, 2012
Publisher: Walker Children's Bloombury
Series: #1 in the Scarlet series
Rating: YES YES YES A WORLD OF YES.
Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.
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.
It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.
I love this book. It's an obsessive kind of love. Whenever I see someone talking about this book on Twitter, I thrust on my scarlet cap and swoop into the conversation and shriek, "ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT SCARLET?!" It's the kind of love where sometimes I think about Rob and Scarlet and my chest kind of gets all crunched up with feelings.
I've always been fascinated by the legend Robin Hood--"I steal from the rich and give to the needy/He takes a wee percentage but I'm not greedy!--and yet I know very little about it. It's a passive fascination, apparently. But Scarlet, and they way the book reimagines the legend completely, ignited my interest. Gaughen's Robin is a moody twenty-one-year-old with a heart of gold, and her Will Scarlet is a knife-flinging, rough talking, tough-on-the-outside-and-marshmallow-soft-on-the-inside teenage girl.
AND I LOVE THEM TO PIECES.
Separately. Together. Wounded. Whole. These characters, you guys? This ship? I CANNOT. Scarlet is wounded (and literally scared), she doesn't know how to trust, and she doesn't think she deserves good things. She has a past she's running away from. And you KNOW how I feel about books in which girls are disguised as boys (hint: I love them lots). Plus, she has a way with knives and can climb trees in a trice. This girl. I want to be her when I grow up.
The book is written in a rough, lower class dialect which is amazingly consistent, if probably not historically accurate, but I adored it. Her voice is clever and brilliant and sharp. Scarlet is the genderbent version of Will Scarlet, one of Robin's right hand men. Little John is now a charming ladies man, Friar Tuck is just "Tuck", the barkeep, and Gisbourne... well, Gisbourne is still one creepy, villainous mofo. MAN IS THIS GUY THE WORST. He's the evillest evil to ever evil. Even more evil than the Sheriff, who is bleeding the people of Nottinghamshire dry and taking all their monies.
It's a "stay up until the wee hours to finish" kind of read. Secrets are revealed, and villains villain, and our heroes try to thwart them, and sometimes they succeed and sometimes it's all a disaster. This book gave me a MAJOR book hangover.
Okay. Let's talk ships. This SHIP. There is a bit of a love triangle-esque thing, and while I GOT this one, plotwise and characterwise and Scarletwise, it's not my absolute favorite aspect of hte novel, mostly because the character of John doesn't quite work for me. BUT. Rob and Scar? Roblet? Scarbin? BE STILL MY HEART. This is such a frustrating and painful and yet gorgeous romance. I remember clutching my book and hissing, "Kiss, you fools!" So blind, my babies were.
I have it one good authority (Gaby, Jessie) that book two is even SWOOOONIER. I may explode. I can't wait until February to know what comes next! Because the ENDING. WHOOOOOOA.
And now some quotes:
“Why do you tell Rob everything first?”
“Didn’t. He figured it out on the way up from London.”
“I wouldn’t never bathe with him or pass water when he were near. He got suspicious quick. Seems real boys are awfully eager to parade their bits around.”
“So what can I do, then?”
“It’s life, Rob. Nothing to be done.”
“Make no mistake,” he told me. I looked up. “We do what we do—” He halted, then stepped one foot closer. “I do what I do because I will always believe that no matter how awful life gets for however many of these people, there is something I can do about it. There is something I will do about it.”
I nodded. “That’s why you’re the hero, Rob, and I’m a thief.”
He smiled a little, looking at me. “You think I’m unbearable?”
I shrugged. “Sure. You ain’t like nobody else. Sometimes I don’t know what to make of you at all.”
“This coming from the thieving, knife-throwing outlaw girl. As if there were anyone like you in the wide world.”
“Yeah, but you see right through me.”
“It’s not that I see through you,” he told me. “It’s that I see you. You don’t want anyone to see you, but I do.”
Never would I have a man saying what or who were best for me, and that were all there were to it.
He let go of my face, but his fingers caught in my hair a bit. “You have nice hair, you know.”
My pipes felt tight and I couldn’t much breathe. “Thanks,” I managed. “Um, you too.”
Okay, so I might have picked only Rob/Scar quotes. I regret nothing.