Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Book Review: Will in Scarlet

Will in Scarlet
by  Matthew Cody
Date Read:  4/18/16
Rating: ★ ★
 ★ ★

I’ll be honest, I’ve seen this book before and thought about reading it, but the only reason I picked it up to listen to is because it was the only book after searching and searching that I was able to borrow from the digital library right then.  But I’m really glad I did!

I've had some bad luck recently with narrators for audiobooks. They've been dull and boring. But this reader, though not the best reader I've listened to (David Tennent is the best!!!), he did a good job at not reading in a monotone and giving several different voices to the characters.

This story is basically a prequel story to the Robin Hood we know and love. Rob and Little John are side characters in this story, but it shows how they come to be the head of the Merry Men and what prompts them to start stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

This is really Will Shackley’s story.  He is only 13 years old and his father is away fighting with King Richard. During this time Sir Guy and Prince John start taking over and are demanding everyone side with Prince John. If you don’t, bad things happen. The Sheriff of Nottingham is also in this story and of course causes some drama. 

Once Will joins up with the Merry Men, things started really getting interesting. I felt the beginning of the book moved a bit slow – setting up Will’s backstory, skills and the treason. But once you get past that, the story is very entertaining.  Through most of this book, Will is out for revenge to avenge the death of someone close to him. I liked watching his motives change by the end of the story.

I really enjoyed the parts about Much, who is really the Miller’s daughter pretending to be the Miller’s son.   She and Will connect and care about each other and want each other to be safe.  While there are some hints that they may like each other a little more than friends, nothing actually happens.

This book has a lot of violence and death in it, and a mention of a mother breastfeeding her infant.  I think this really qualifies as the very top end of Middle grade books – the character is young enough, but the content is more YA.  This would be a good book for a child who is transitioning from 6th or 7th  grade to 8th and 9th grade.

The book had a couple of loose ends and was pretty open – not tied up in a pretty bow. While it does have a very satisfying conclusion, it also leaves it open for the author to possibly come back and write a sequel eventually. If the author ever chose to do so, I would happily pick it up.


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