Thursday, July 18, 2013

WILL IN SCARLET - A Wild-Ride of a Novel by MATTHEW CODY



RELEASE DATE: October 8, 2013

FORMAT/PAGE COUNT: ebook/272 pages

PUBLISHER: Knopf Books for Young Readers


Will Scarlet is on the run.

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. - (From GOODREADS)


I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Having said that, there was a thread or two I would have liked to have seen the end of. But I'm sure that's just me. I do know one certainty about Will In Scarlet...young boys will LOVE this book. It would have been just the book I'd look for when I was a young teen. The hero is 13...he's fortunate, being a Lord's son...but he's not fortunate enough to be royalty. It's as his house falls around him that the story really sparks for me. He sees the other side of life and his first reaction is to try to make things better for those less fortunate than he had been in his previous station.

I found this to be very much like Siddhartha, in this respect. Will had the luxury of living in a castle and having servants. But when he sees outside the castle for the first time, when he escapes its overthrow, he sees poverty. Like Siddhartha, who took to the streets and witnessed poverty the first time he was paraded around his kingdom, Will has his eyes opened.

This novel is filled with rich characters and a lot of action. And the intensity of the peril was palpable, too. There's a great attack scene when Will and "Much" (a girl who lost her parents and joined the Merry Men disguised as a boy!) return to Will's lost castle to help the other Merry Men escape hangings. Look for it. The story really explodes there.

I loved the way Cody made Rob a fallible character...the reader sees him overcome himself just as Will sees it. His transformation from Rob to Robin Hood is not only timely and quite awesome...but fully believable. I also very much loved the POV switches between WILL's and MUCH's characters. I liked knowing what each was thinking about the other. There's a great push-me-pull-ya play with them. They go from almost hatred, with a touch of compassion, to admiration and...yes...maybe even BIG CRUSH TERRITORY. That's all I'm saying.

As I said, just a few loose threads that got to me. BUT...I am not aware of one thing! It COULD be a series. And if it is, I forgive the 4 1/2 rating. I would certainly be in line for a book two if this turns out to be a series. It seems pregnant with potential...and with such an exhilarating pace that keeps you reading until you've devoured the entire book in one sitting, I'd love to keep going!

I would highly recommend this title for boys of 10-14. But I wouldn't stop there. It appeals to the inner child big-time. Memorable characters and great action! It fully fulfills its promise to show us the boy behind the Robin Hood legend.

Size: 4 1/2

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