I had a serious post planned for today. But then I finished reading Scarlet and thought: let’s do a recounting. So this is me, recounting my thoughts on a YA re-telling. The subject matter? One of my all time favourite heroes. Let’s plunge in …
*** spoilers abound, opinions are my own (IT IS I AND NOT THE VOICES), read at your own risk etc etc ***
by A. C. Gaughen
Will Scarlet is a girl. Now, far be it from me to disparage any creative re-telling of a well-known story. Will Scarlet being a girl with guts (metaphorical and literal ones) is an interesting and intriguing take on the tale of Robin Hood.
And yes, this is a Robin Hood re-telling. And … it was okay.
Scarlet is the first book in a trilogy and I’m rather certain that I won’t be reading any further. Why? Because … I have a few problems with this book.
Lip Smushin’ With Little John
There is a love triangle between Little John, Rob and Scar. That doesn’t sound too awful, does it? (Love triangles are as painful as a paper cut, but they can sometimes, occasionally, very rarely be bearable) Let me translate: that’s LITTLE JOHN, ROBIN HOOD AND MAID MARIAN.
I know. I know. I suppose I could write many lengthy paragraphs dedicated to the sheer awful, heinousness of the very idea of Little John being a love interest of Maid Marian’s, but I shan’t. And perhaps I overreacted a little (cough) but by golly, I grew up with Robin Hood as my childhood hero
and future husband. Some things just shouldn’t be done. This is one of them.
Gisbourne’s Motivating Motivation
He wishes to heap extreme unhappiness upon Scarlet’s head. Why? Because she wouldn’t marry him. What does he do? Scours the country for her in a bright red haze of a lunatic’s vengeance.
Dude. There’s a point where you have to give it a rest, and move on. There’s more to life than a young teenager who literally fled her home to avoid you. Take a hint. Think of your mental health. And your dignity.
Rob. Dude. Get Over Yourself
Gaughen went with a more Brooding Robin Hood. He walks about as though Atlas thought: ‘to heck with this! lemme find a mortal to plonk the world on his shoulders. OHH LOOK A BLOKE WEARING GREEN!’
It’s a personal preference of mine but I like a more light-hearted, cheerful Robin Hood. Sure, there can be sadness and Moods of The Serious Kind – and there often is – but Robin Hood is not Batman; he laughs more than once a year.
And, more importantly, Robin Hood would never say this to Marian (and I suppose, in a way, he did in this book BUT STILL!):
‘Hurting you is the best way I know to punish myself’
Your logic, my dear, is so beyond illogical that illogical logic laughs in your general direction and makes several biting remarks regarding your intelligence. In what world is that phrase acceptable? None. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
I would suggest returning to the classroom and learning about a) Human Decency, b) Emotional Intelligence and c) Communicating With Humans 101.
In Short …
Scarlet wasn’t for me. It wasn’t my cup of tea or my kind of Robin Hood. It had traces of the legend I love so dearly and a heroine who had wicked ninja skills, but alas, it didn’t quite hit bullseye.