Thursday, December 19, 2013

{Audiobook} Review: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Thursday, December 19, 2013 with 9 comments
Title: Scarlet
Author: A.C. Gaughen
Narrator:  Helen Stern
Series: Scarlet, book #1
Length:  6 hrs 56 mins
Publisher: Audible, Inc.
Publication Date: July 16, 2013
Source: purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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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.

That's me, upon finally diving into Scarlet and realizing I've been putting off a very, very good book for ages...and for no good reason.  I'm glad I finally had the sense to snatch up the audio in an Audible sale. Especially since the audiobook was freaking fantastic!  You, too, can experience the awesome in ebook form for only $2.99 for a limited time:  Kindle and Nook. Or you can pick up the incredible audio, too, so we can squee about the awesomeness together, but it's going to cost you a bit more coin.

So, I've always liked the story of Robin Hood:  a merry band of thieves stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, whom the rich more than likely got their wealth from in the first place. Which is obviously one of the reasons I added this book to my TBR all those months ago. But I also love a story  revolving around a girl masquerading as a boy...and getting away with it.  This type of protagonist has to prove herself less in a "man's" world, but she also has to prove to the reader and to herself that she is, underneath the disguise, still just a girl.

A lot of people think Robin Hood and revert to their childhood, envisioning this:

I wish that were the case for me.  No, I was subjected to a different Robin Hood many times by coaches in high school who were "teaching" history classes.  I don't know what it was, but they all showed this film ad nauseum whenever they didn't particularly feel like holding a regular class:

That's not the worst movie ever, but I've seen it too many times now to appreciate it anymore.  If there ever was anything to appreciate.  I'm not a big Costner fan myself.  The point of this tangent, though, is to explain -- partially -- why I put off reading Scarlet for so long.   I was afraid of being disappointed.  This book offers up several aspects that my reader's brain craves:  a fierce heroine, thieving, secrets, and a romance with a historical figure I'd fallen for way before I'd ever picked up the novel.  And so I was hesitant, not wanting to get my hopes up, only to have them dashed away by a book that couldn't live up to my expectations.

Except, it totally did.  Honestly, this story was even better than I could have imagined.  I don't know if it was the fact that I was listening to the audio, and that the narrator was so perfectly perfect for the book, or if it's just because I loved the story that much, but I could not stop listening to this book.  I was there with the characters, traipsing through the woods, hiding in the trees, rescuing my friends.  I'm absolutely astounded at how easily, how thoroughly, the author was able to engage my thieving, lying alter-ego and pull me into this story so completely.  And the narrator was impressive, as well. No deep, throaty voices for Robin and the gang.  Just a rough Cockney accent for our dear Scarlet and the merry men and a more refined voice for the Hood.  It made these characters feel like old friends.

Scarlet is just so unbelievably entertaining, with its familiar story and its deadly twists, and I can't believe I waited until now to experience it myself.  Immediately, you're going to recognize some old friends and old enemies, but there are plenty of new faces, friends and foes alike, to keep the story interesting and fresh.  The fact that Will Scarlet is actually a girl in this story aides the book in being an entirely unique retelling of Robin Hood, but that's not even the half of it. There are so many secrets and lies peppered throughout this story, and it will really keep you on your toes if you're not paying attention.

The romance, though I very much enjoyed its development, was kept very much to the background, but I think that's to the benefit of the novel and to the characters, as Scarlet really isn't the romantic type.  She's fierce.  She's a thief, she's a liar, and she is downright deadly with a blade in her hand.  And you'll soon discover that Scarlet is definitely not the type of girl you want to cross.

This is a retelling, and so much of this story will feel like familiar territory.  But I found it an entirely refreshing take on an old favorite, and I'm thoroughly impressed with the author's execution of this story.  Gah, I feel like all I did was gush about the book and that I didn't tell you anything really useful, like about the plot or the characters, but honestly, you won't care...not really.  The story is just too much fun to worry about things like that, even though those aspects are great, too.  Here's all you really need to know, though:  Scarlet is a kickass heroine who can take out opponents three times her size with the simple throw of her knife, she steals to help the people of Nottingham, and she's falling for Robin of Locksley.  Big time.  Oh, and everyone thinks she's a boy.

My only complaint?  The story was too short.  :P  Good thing I already have the sequel in my possession!  Eeeeeeee!!!  =)

GIF it to me straight:
I can read the sequel now?  Yes?!?  YES!!!

About the author:

I am shamelessly addicted to staying up far too late (it feels like stealing time), diet coke (it burns so good), Scotland (stupid country stole my heart and won't give it back. Interpol has been ineffective for prosecution) and thieves (so I guess I'm not that mad at Scotland).

Find A.C.:

Website | TwitterFacebookGoodreads | Tumblr


  1. I love the premise of this book! I loved the tale of Robin Hood as a child and this one is definitely going into my must-read pile. :) Great review and recommendation! And there's a sequel!

  2. This book looks so good! I'm looking forward to reading this one soon!

  3. why have I put this one off too! I NEED to get a copy and read it already. I've just seen amazing things about this one and you loving it...well I need to move it up the old pile (after getting a copy). Love the pic of the 10th Doctor *sigh*

  4. I remember someone telling me about this book and I bought it but haven't read it yet. Thanks for putting it back on my radar!

  5. *bounces up and down in the chair* I'm excited for the sequel as well (still need it in my hands!) and immensely pleased that you fangirl about this one as well. I'll have to try the audiobook sometime! Gaughen deserves all the praise!

  6. I feel like I'm going to end up feeling very similarly to you. I bought an ebook copy back when it was on sale over a year ago and haven't gotten around to it yet, despite the fact that this sounds exactly like the type of story I'll love. Hopefully the fact the sequel is releasing soon will encourage me to read it soon.
    Also, I think it's sometimes the hardest to write reviews for those books you really love. I think your review definitely expressed your strong emotions for this book and certainly made me more excited to read it myself. :)




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