This is an alternate retelling of Robin Hood, where Will Scarlet is a hemorrhoidal pain in the ass who talks like a Monty Python and the Holy Grail cast reject who gets involved in a horrifyingly painful love triangle WITH ROBIN HOOD AND LITTLE JOHN.
There are two facts about Will Scarlet that you should know before starting this book.
1. Will Scarlet is actually a "she," a girl disguised as a boy
2. The "Scarlet" in her name refers to the fact that SHE CAN'T STOP FUCKING BLUSHING*
*That's actually something I made up, but I wasn't exaggerrating when I say that she blushes like fucking crazy.
Will Blushes Scarlet: OH MY GOD JUST STAAAAHP ALREADY. I wanted to love Scarlet, I really do. A kick-ass heroine who disguises herself as a boy in order to steal from the rich and give to the poor?! FUCK YEAH, give me more of that shit.
I admit, there is a fair bit of kick-assery in there, but it feels completely unrealistic becaues Will Scarlet can't decide who or what the fuck she is.
Is she a kick-ass fighting tomboy?! Or is she a girl whose heart goes aflutter whenever she gets near Robin Hood? So many time in this book, her heart flushes, her heartbeat go pitter-patter, her belly gets butterflies.
My stomach's content just turned over.
Let's see, blushing...how many instances are there? "I felt heat on my face and hated that the sun would show me blushing," "It were dark, so they couldn’t prove I were blushing," "I blushed," "[I was] cold again but for my cheeks, which were blushing hard," "I were blushing hot," "I felt my cheeks blush," "I blushed hot," "I shake him off, blushing," "I blushed a little," "it sent my cheeks blushing," "I blushed a bit."
Ok, we've gotten the blushing over with. Now onto the flushing! "I pulled my head away, flushed and not sure what to do, or say, or think," "my cheeks flush," "my cheeks flushed dark," "I flushed," "my cheeks went hot," "blood filled up my cheeks."
Oh, but the stomach-churning flutterings don't stop there, no! Let's see what other sort of over-extravagant emotion our dauntless fighting girl has in store for us!
"The air whooshed from my chest," "the breath whooshed out of me," "my belly twisted," "my belly flipped over," "my heart started to flutter-beat in my chest," "I got that funny, twisted feeling," "my heart lurched," "my heart dropped out from my chest," "my knees had gone fair wobbling," "my stomach pushed into my pipes."
Spare me. This book tries to sell me the fact that Scarlet is a fierce warrior; it didn't convince me in the least. Scarlet is ruled by her feelings, she lets her heart win over her head, she gets nervous, she feels tremors, she acts like a silly little girl who was forced into being a warrior instead of a warrior born, instead of one who has chosen her fate.
Scarlet's Personality: Incongruous.
In-con-gru-ous: /adjective/ not in harmony or keeping with the surroundings or other aspects of something.
That is the single word that can be used to describe Scarlet's personality. She is not a good character. She is an annoying character. She acts like a petulant child instead of a rational, cool-headed warrior. She snaps at people at the very tinest, dumbest provocation.
“Bugger off,” I snapped.
Scarlet loses her temper extremely fast. She makes some really dumb decisions at times...like rushing off to attack people in broad fucking daylight. There is a way to be subtle, Robin Hood's Merry Men have to stick around awhile in order to accomplish their good deeds, and Scarlet does things with the subtlety of a pink and purple polka-dotted elephant dancing on a unicycle.
Her Speech: I absolutely HATED her first-person narrative. I mentioned that she talks like a Monty Python reject, and she does. It is annoying, it distracts from the already terribly boring narrative, and it makes no fucking sense when you take into consideration who she actually is Maid Marian, a noblewoman. Her dialogue is pretentious, it is heavy dotted with grammatical inconsistencies, which doesn't feel authentic at all, because in one instance, she talks like a street urchin complete with "ain'ts" and "weren'ts." Her fucking "weren't." "I weren't," "he weren't." Fuck you. It doesn't make any fucking sense because she speaks in horribly accented speech like an uneducated wench...
“Just because you kissed me don’t mean I’m your girl none,” I told him.
Even her very thoughts are sprinkled with terrible grammar, only to have her turn out to be who she is...Scarlet's character completely reeks of artifice.
It seems like Scarlet is the only one who speaks like that in the entire book. The other characters are seemingly no better off than she is, they're a bunch of ragtag men, after all, but their speech is all perfectly normal, without any pretensions to be anything lower or more crass. The inconsistency of Scarlet's dialogue and thoughts in contrast to the other "normal guys" only serves to make her more of an utterly unconvincing character.
Her Fighting Skills: HOW THE FUCK DID SHE GET THEM?! We see her fight. A lot. She kicks ass. She dresses as a boy, she dresses down some boys. There's no disputing that the girl can fight. BUT HOW?! Once her history is mentioned, it makes even less sense. How does such a girl become such a fierce fighter, in such a short time? It makes no fucking sense, and I don't buy it. I respect that she is a good fighter, but you have to convince me that she is one, I don't want a character to magically become an awesome fighter just because. Give me a fucking reason. Show me her traiing. Tell me WHY I should respect her and how Scarlet became who she is today. This book brings me in cold as to her history, and it continues to leave me in the dark.
The Setting: This book does a fucking terrible job of giving us a setting. It truly is one of the worst excuses for a historical book I have ever read. WHAT SETTING? We're in the past, but rather than an actual time period, this book has the feel of anything from...say, Crusade-era to, I don't know....mid-19th century England.
I could only tell it was England due to the fact that "London" was mentioned. This is one of those times when I longed for purple prose and long descriptions, because there were none in this book.
This book was all action and more action and not much more than that. There is no clear descriptions of anything. No descriptions about the dress. Few descriptions about the people. I couldn't even begin to tell you what the fuck Robin and John looked like. There was no sense of time other than the brief mention of "Oh, I went to the Crusades blah blah years ago." Ok, we're in the time of the Crusades. IS THAT ALL? GIVE ME SOME MORE DETAILS, FOR FUCK'S SAKES. Christ on a cracker.
Let me give you a description. The Templar flag is that of a red cross on a white background. Do you like that? That's more description than most anything you get from this fucking book. It could have taken place in 19th century backwoods of England, for all that matters. There is no sense of time, no sense of place, no atmosphere whatsoever to this book.
One other thing that bothered me about this book: Robin, the Earl, is referred to as "your grace," because of his status as the Earl. Correct me if I'm wrong, but "your grace" is an honorary address for a duke, right?
The Love Triangle: FUCK THAT SHIT. Robin Hood would fucking NEVER. WHY?! I mean, really, WHY?!
There should be no fucking time for romance when the Sheriff is corrupt, and threatening to string up your entire town for not paying the taxes.
Did he think I were John’s bit of fun for the day? My belly twisted and I didn’t like the feeling.
And he weren’t Rob. But then, maybe that weren’t such an awful thing. Rob’s sort I could never deserve.
There should be no fucking time for romance when the Thief Hunter is burning up your hideout and threatening to decapitate the people in your town for hiding your identity.
His eyes looked into mine in a way that made my breath suck out of my pipes. “You’re every kind of surprise, you know that?”
There should be no fucking time for romance when there is a traitor in town who is threatening to destroy all you hold dear.
He looked at me, his eyes running over my face. He came closer, and I were against the wall, so my heart started to flutter-beat in my chest. I didn’t much like feeling trapped. He palmed my hat, pushing it back.
“What are you doing?” I asked, pulling away.
“I need to see your eyes when I ask you this.”
“Are you in love with Rob, Scar?”
There's no fucking time for romance when you are on the run, hiding from a man who's out for your blood.
His lips pressed against mine, strong like the rest of him and a little wet, pushing my lips into a fair good kiss. He caught me up ’bout the waist and kissed me deeper. I shut my eyes, and Rob’s face popped into my head.
Most of all, THERE SHOULD BE NO FUCKING TIME FOR A LOVE TRIANGLE WHEN YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO FUCKING TRUST AND BEFRIEND ONE ANOTHER. ROBIN HOOD'S MERRY MEN DO NOT FIGHT AMONG ONE ANOTHER FOR A GIRL'S FUCKING EVER-CHANGING HEART.
“About John,” he said at long last.
“I don’t want to know how you two are fooling about, but if it interferes with the band I’ll kick you out myself.”
This was just a terrible book. There is too much action without much else. There is no subtlety to the plot. Characters are thrown about as if they were nothing, characters were introduced haphazardly, as needed. This was just a very poorly thought out book.