ARC Review – Will in Scarlet by Matthew Cody

Title: Will in Scarlet
Author: Matthew Cody
Series: Not sure. It’s not listed as such.

Source: Received for review from Netgalley
Release Date: 10/8/2013

 Description from Goodreads:

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.


I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

If I remember correctly, Will in Scarlet was a “Download Now” title from Netgalley. I could be wrong, but I know that it was one I received an email about. Regardless, I read the description, and it sounded kind of cute, so I requested/downloaded it. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I decided to give it a shot.

Will in Scarlet is a retelling of how Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men came to be, but it is focused on a 13-year-old boy named Will Shackley, nicknamed Will Scarlet because of his deep crimson blush, who goes on the run after his uncle is murdered and his castle is seized. He is near death and found by a band of criminals in the forest.

Honestly, it took me a little bit to really get into Will in Scarlet. It takes place in 1192, and I am not really a huge fan of historical fiction. Also, I didn’t reread the description before starting it, so I was a little confused. I didn’t understand what was going on with this rich boy on a wolf hunt.

However, once Sir Guy comes into the picture, I found that the action picked up a bit more, but it kind of fluctuated up until close to the end. I didn’t mind it, though. It wasn’t always an exciting read, but it wasn’t ever terrible either, especially once Rob came into the picture. I found him to be a very interesting character. I also really liked the growth that Will went through during the story.

Will in Scarlet is written in the third-person limited narrative, switching between Will’s and Much’s perspective. I thought that Much was a more interesting character than Will a lot of the time, and I really liked seeing how her personality changed throughout her interactions with Will.

I liked the ending a lot. It was believable, though a little convenient. However, I didn’t really expect it to go down the way it did, so I liked that. I felt like there was more to this story, or at least, more possible, but it’s not listed as a series. Maybe the author left it open in case he decides to make it a series? Either way, I thought it wrapped things up well, but I would definitely read a sequel, as I definitely feel there’s more to Will’s, and his friends’, stories.

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3 thoughts on “ARC Review – Will in Scarlet by Matthew Cody

  1. Jac @ For Love and Books October 5, 2013 at 10:44 am Reply

    I’m not sure how I feel about this one. (I haven’t read it, but debating if I will…) Ridinghood is one of my favorites storylines – but your review leaves me feeling like this one could be so much better…

  2. […] Will in Scarlet by Matthew Cody (3 stars) […]

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