Once the sheltered son of nobility, Will has become an exile. While his father, Lord Shackley, has been on the Crusades with King Richard, a treacherous plot to unseat Richard has swept across England, and Shackley House has fallen.
Will flees the only home he’s ever known into neighboring Sherwood Forest, where he joins the elusive gang of bandits known as the Merry Men. Among them are Gilbert, their cruel leader; a giant named John Little; a drunkard named Rob; and Much, an orphan girl disguised as a bandit boy.
This is the story of how a band of misfit outlaws become heroes of legend – thanks to one brave 13-year-old boy.
I started this book with no real expectations given that the only Robin Hood adaptation I was familiar with was the 2010 movie starring Russell Crowe. While it started out slowly, Will in Scarlet easily commanded my full attention, making it an enjoyable read.
The story is told from the perspective of a young boy named Will Scarlet and provides a fresh take on how the Merry Men began taking from the rich and giving to the poor. The characters were likeable and multifaceted, with the exception of the main villain who I could not sympathize with and who came across as rather one-dimensional. While Will’s character development is the most easily seen, given that the reader is seeing things from his perspective, it is Robin Hood who will surprise you the most.
Overall, this was a quick, fun read filled with action, humour, and well crafted characters. Will in Scarlet is more than just a Robin Hood story – it’s an adventurous tale that underscores the importance of doing what’s right even if it’s hard, and shows us that even the most unexpected people can become heroes in their own right.
I received an advanced copy from Netgalley and Random House Children’s Publishers in exchange for an honest review.