Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen
Scarlet is a retelling of the classic Robin Hood tale, but with a few key twists. Robin is an angsty teenage boy freshly back from King Richard's Crusades in the promised land who is fed up with the way the normal people of the towns neighboring Nottingham and Sherwood Forest are treated by Prince John and the sheriff. With his band of misfit ruffians, including John Litte (Little John), Much, Friar Tuck, and the infamous knife-slinging thief Will Scarlet. Together, they steal from the rich and give everything they take to the poor who cannot feed their families and pay the high taxes at the same time. But Will Scarlet is hiding something from the people she steals from and from the people she feeds through her generosity. Her biggest secret is that her name is Scarlet, not Will, and that she is a girl trying to blend in with a band of thieves. But then when Prince John hires a thief-catcher to try and find the mysterious Hood and his men who have been stealing from all of the high class people who pass through the land and who frees the prisoners when the Sheriff takes them hostage for not being able to pay for all of their taxes. But this thief catcher, a notoriously cruel man from London named Guy of Gisbourne, everybody is scared, especially Scarlet, who has a dangerous past with the ruthless man who refuses to stop until he has the Hood hanging in front of all of the people who support him. The band of friends and thieves must be courageous and work together if they want to protect the townspeople and each other from the wrath of a man who was left at the alter by his knife-slinging fiancee. Scarlet has secrets that she refuses to admit to anyone,including herself.
What I didn't like about this book was the way it was written. the writing was trying to imitate a form of medieval slang or gramatical incorrectness that either stemmed from being uneducated or from living a life of thievery. But otherwise, it was a really fast read, somewhat interesting, and good for anybody who enjoys a good bloody romp through medieval forests with cross-dressing thief girls, love triangles within a band of outlaws, and plenty of fighting to free the poor from the oppression of the rich. I would recommend this book to anybody 13 and up who like fantasy set in the grimy days of the middle ages.