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Elena Likes Books

I am an avid reader of YA, fantasy, and romance, a librarian, and a writer of fantasy short fiction.

Currently reading

Cut & Run
Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Shel Silverstein
The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius
John Joseph Adams
The Thousand Names
Django Wexler
The Duchess Hunt
Jennifer Haymore
Scarlet - A.C. Gaughen Okay, so everyone agrees that Will Scarlet is the most badass and sexy of Robin Hood's Merry Men, right? He's a brooding, sneaky, sarcastic fighter who all the girls (and some of the guys) want to get with. The Scarlet depicted in this novel? Just as broodingly sexy and badass as most other depictions. Only in this book? Will Scarlet is a girl. (The premise alone makes me fistpump with glee.)Robin and the rest of the band (in this story, the core group is just Robin, Scarlet, John Little, and village boy-turned-outlaw Much) know that Scarlet is a girl. But they don't know the truth about her past, before she became thief extraordinaire Scarlet. The past comes back to bite Scarlet in the ass, however, when the Sheriff of Nottingham hires Guy Gisbourne to take care of the Hood and his band of outlaws. Gisbourne knew Scarlet in her other life, and he would do anything to catch her. (She was Lady Marian, Gisbourne's betrothed, and she ran away to a life on the streets rather than marry him. SHE'S MAID MARIAN AND WILL SCARLET SIMULTANEOUSLY, AND I CAN'T GET OVER HOW BADASS THAT IS.)I love this book. SO MUCH. I've always liked the Robin Hood legend and admired the way it lends itself so well to myriad fictional depictions. But I've never particularly taken to any of the novels or films or TV shows. They've always just fallen a little shy of what I wanted. Perhaps what was missing was A BADASS SNEAK-THIEF FIGHTER LADY in Robin's band.I recently read Grave Mercy and was disappointed. In that novel, the reader is constantly told how amazing and skilled the assassin nun main character is, but in the actual text of the book? She's pretty pathetic. Her supposed skills rarely show themselves, and when they do, they're never as awesome as I want them to be.Scarlet is pretty much everything I wanted in Grave Mercy's Ismae but didn't get. She's a knife fighter whose fight scenes are some of the most kickass I've read, she's a sneaky character who can scale castle walls and snoop around stealing from people in the sheriff's own home with no one the wiser, she plans and executes multiple jailbreaks, she bounces around from tree to tree like some sort of Sherwood Forest flying squirrel, and every time Robin or John start treating her like a girl, she gives them a smackdown.She's also broody, a little dense when it comes to men (understandably considering her history, I think), and doesn't take care of herself properly. As she says, "[Robin] takes the guilt and responsibility that others can't. John takes the punches. I just take the hunger, and most times it feels like awful little." Scarlet spends a lot of time stealing food, and she gives every bit of it away to villagers, as though hunger is penance for her sins. Some people might be annoyed by Scarlet's flaws, but I thought they made her a pretty well-rounded character.Something I could have done without was the nearly-inevitable-in-YA-these-days love triangle. Huge eyeroll there, especially since there was never really any question at all which guy was the right one. If you find YA romance to be eye-rollingly cheesy, you might not enjoy this one, since there is a pretty hefty dose of romance, but you'd be missing out on the best Will Scarlet EVER. Also the best Maid Marian. I practically wet myself with joy when I realized that she was both Will Scarlet and Marian. STILL SO AWESOME.The book is also written first person in Scarlet's street slang dialect, and I am really not a fan of books written entirely in dialect. I find them really cringe-worthy. I definitely could have done without that, and it took me several chapters to get over it, but once I did, I hardly noticed anymore as the plot and characters overtook me with awesomeness.If you like YA and Robin Hood, you will love this book. Read it now.