Friday, June 6, 2014

Book Review: Will in Scarlet

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Will in Scarlet
Author: Matthew Cody
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: Hardcover; 272
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Source: NetGalley
Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Fans of reimaginings/retellings of popular stories, or anyone wanting to be swept up in something fabulous!

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon / BookLikes
This reimagining of the Robin Hood legend tells the story of the young boy behind the bandit hero's rise to fame. 

Will Shackley is the son of a lord, and though just thirteen, he’s led a charmed, protected life and is the heir to Shackley House, while his father is away on the Third Crusade with King Richard the Lionheart.

But with King Richard’s absence, the winds of treason are blowing across England, and soon Shackley House becomes caught up in a dangerous power struggle that drives Will out of the only home he’s ever known. Alone, he flees into the dangerous Sherwood Forest, where he joins an elusive gang of bandits readers will immediately recognize.

How Will helps a drunkard named Rob become one of the most feared and revered criminals in history is a swashbuckling ride perfect for anyone who loves heroes, villains, and adventure.

I adored absolutely everything about Will in Scarlet. That, my friends, is getting harder and harder for me to say. It's not often anymore that a book completely sweeps me off my feet. That it enchants me so wholly, that I'm saddened when it ends. Matthew Cody's brilliant reimagining of Robin Hood did just that, and I'm thrilled! Let the gushing commence.

First off, this is a much different take on the Robin Hood tale. While all the essential elements are there, the reader is taken on a new journey into Nottinghamshire courtesy of our plucky young hero, Will. A noble heir, Will's life has thus far been filled with little more than boring lessons and quests to steal goodies from the larder. He never dreamed he'd be caught up in anything exciting, much less something that would threaten his very being. This is what I loved about Will. He's so honest about everything. Not afraid to admit when he is in over his head, not ashamed to tackle his fears, and he has a big heart under all that mischievous outer boyishness. Yes friends, at the center of this boy beats the heart of a leader.

Better yet, his unlikely companions turned out to be just as well-built and vibrant as Will himself. The "Merry Men" are a rag-tag group of peasants, displaced from their lands due to unfair taxes and leans. Faced with the choice between toiling for nothing and robbing the rich? Well, you can guess what they chose. I loved that Matthew Cody brought these characters to life. "Little" John, King Richard, and the Sheriff all make their debuts, with a rich cast of additional characters around them. My favorite though, is Rob. Can you guess who he will end up to be? See, in Cody's story Robin Hood is but a story yet to be told. This is all about the boy who brought him into existence.

I know this review is getting long, but I need to gush about Much, the Miller's "Son" before I finish. In the original tale we have our Maid Marian. The apple of Robin Hood's eye, and nearly the only woman of any importance in the story. In Will in Scarlet our Marian comes in a much different form. I don't want to spoil, so I won't say anything concrete. Just know that Much is a fabulous character. I was so ridiculously happy to see this character hold their own right next to Will. I'm a happy bookworm.

So if this rambling review has proven anything, it should be that I have much to say about Will in Scarlet. All good things in fact! I was looking forward to reading something that would prompt me to write a glowing review, and I'm so ecstatic to have found it. Thank you Matthew Cody. You've made me a fan of Will and his Merry Men. I only hope there is more around the corner!

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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