Will in Scarlet

Will in Scarlet

by Matthew Cody
4.8 6

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Will in Scarlet 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
4Gazpacho More than 1 year ago
According to Matthew Cody, author of this book, there really is no official version of the Robin Hood tale. The basic foundation of the folk lore surrounding this classic hero seems to change with the political climate often enough to suspect that perhaps the legend evolving over the years is more a conglomerate of characters and repeated among the downtrodden to keep hope alive. In any case, in his research the author found very little about young Will Shackley, a member of Robin's Merry Men; he felt comfortable enough, then, to add his contribution to the plethora of tales about the Merry Men of Sherwood Forest. I love the final product of this author's fertile imagination. The story reads like a convincing historical fiction about the birth of a legendary character. Will in Scarlet opens with an adventure that turns Will Shackley, the boy of 13, into Wolfslayer the young man, under the tutelage of Sir Osbert, an old knight in the service of the Shackley family. It was a time when boys had to grow up fast, especially young lordlings about to get kicked in the teeth by life. Will's father, Lord Roderic Shackley, was at the side of his king, King Richard the Lionheart, sailing home after two years of fighting in the crusades in Jerusalem. News had just arrived of the capture and imprisonment of King Richard and his men. When Sir Guy of Gisborne shows up at the lad's celebration, Will's life is forever changed. The Shackley family friend, Mark Brewer, once a friend of the family, now Prince John's appointed Sheriff of Nottingham, turns traitor and the Regent of Shackley Castle, Will's Uncle Geoff Shackley is deceived and slain. Will and his mother narrowly escaped the ignoble Sir Guy through a secret underground tunnel and flee to safely. Will's mother traveled to France and took refuge with her family. Will struck out on his own and ended up in Sherwood Forest where he was found by the Merry Men, nearly at the end of his life. Much the Miller's son nursed him back to health. He takes up the mantle as Will Scarlet, eventually one of Robin Hood's Merry Men. His adventures have only just begun. I enjoyed the fast-paced adventures of Will and Much, the Miller's son. The author tells the story so well that I quickly became engrossed in the tale. There's suspense, danger, a touch of history, and a lot of imagination. The characterization of Will, Much, and Robin himself is well-written, each one maturing enough to find himself and the purpose for his existence. It is an appealing middle grade read, attractive for boys and girls alike, even to those who may be new to reading period books or historical fiction. I highly recommend it. One cautionary note: I found a tiny bit of crude language, something that would have been historically part of an outlaw's language. But those moments are rare and not actual swear words. I believe most careful parents would find it of little concern. When my children were young, if I owned the book, the words became a topic of discussion and/or whited out. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley, on behalf of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children's Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissionâ¿¿s 16 CFR, Part 255: â¿¿Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
coziecorner More than 1 year ago
Matthew Cody pens "Will in Scarlet" a middle grade fantasy in a plot that is filled with historical facts that an 11-13 year old would understand. although the beginning was a bit slow, the author's crisp writing finally captivated me once I figured out that it was not the "typical" Robin Hood story but one that is told by a young Will. A nice fast read that I would recommend. This review is based on a complimentary copy from the author which was provided for an honest review.
reececo331 More than 1 year ago
a fractured fairy tale and a play on character.  this is a great story, using the myths of the Robin hood legend while Richard the Lion Heart has been delayed in his return his brother John has made a claim to his throne. This affects all of the people with in his country, including will Shackley. Will Shackley is a rogue of a noble son, who is forced by the knifing plots of the Sheriff of Nottingham, and Sir Guy who in attempt of gaining the support of John by Will's uncle have taken his lands, killed his uncle and enslaved his people. At first taken by bandits of Sherwood, he tries his stake at revenge only to learn his people his serfs needed his help through the difficult and trying time. It is Will who changes history and begins robbing the rich paying the poor. 
AliceGrace More than 1 year ago
I received this from the publisher via Netgalley. No compensation was given or taken to alter this review in any way. Will is the son of a castle Lord who is off fighting in King Richard's crusades. He lives in the time of Robin Hood. When King Richard and those traveling with him (Will's father among them), are captured, Richard's brother, King John, begins to wreak havoc on his subjects. Will's castle is taken from him and, after fleeing, he is forced to join a group of bandits in Sherwood forest as their prisoner. Robin Hood has always kind of interested me even though I've never really read up on him. I know the basics. He steals from the rich and gives to the poor. But Will in Scarlet isn't Robin Hood specifically. It's about Will who makes the band of Merry Men, more than it is when he first meets them. It's the story of a boy, who helps Robin Hood become the legend we know him as. I didn't love all of the characters individually. I liked them but the best part for me was how they all mixed with each other. The cast was full of men and boys with really just one girl among them pretending to be a boy. It was definitely a welcomed change from all of the girl protagonists I've been reading about. You can definitely tell Will in Scarlet was written by a man and it was more enjoyable because of that. With the mostly male cast, it lent a more authentic feel in a story where a young boy is living among a group of stinky bandits who wouldn't be bandits if they could make an honest living. Meaning, they were mostly good people. They're camping and on the run for the majority of the book. Will has memories of getting into mischief like all boys do when they're young. How Will remembers things and reacts to things was more enjoyable. The writing itself was great. Mr. Cody didn't dumb it down for his audience which I appreciate because kids aren't idiots. The story was the perfect young adventure. Quite frankly, Will in Scarlet makes me miss these type of books. It takes real talent to write a middle grade novel with the type of quality people like Matthew Cody and John Flanagan provide. But I think with Cody having an even younger protagonist (Will is 13), makes the feat all that more impressive. The plot was serious but not too serious for his audience. And I didn't know how exactly this book would end. It's the type of novel that makes its target audience's reading much richer than it may otherwise be. Personally, I think anyone who writes middle grade novels or who wants to can learn a thing or two from Mr. Cody.
celticmaggie More than 1 year ago
I liked this book. I have always enjoyed anything Robin Hood. Most stories and movies seemed silly to me. This book is aimed at the younger readers but the general plot here makes more sense than any of the others. Matthew did a great job of  creating his characters. He didn't make them idolized heroes but he did make real flesh and blood people with lots of personal quirks. I was surprised at the ending and as I don't do spoilers I guess you will have to get and read it yourself.
DiiMI More than 1 year ago
Middle grade readers can hitch a ride back in time to merry old England, filled with medieval castles, sword fights and thieves who rob from the rich and give to the poor! Sound familiar? Will in Scarlet by Matthew Cody is filled with adventure, danger and larger than life action as a thirteen-year-old boy must flee for his life from his father’s castle as it is overrun by treacherous and scheming villains looking to gain power, wealth and favor in the eyes of the crown. Young William is captured by a merry band of thieves in Sherwood Forest. Meet Rob, the leader, Much, the young and daring thief who is a master of disguise, and all the rest of the band of thieves as Will becomes one of them to seek revenge for the crimes against his family. Filled with historical facts, fancy and rich imagination and color, Will in Scarlet is not a flowery version of the lives of these thieves, but more a tale of a young man’s personal growth through adversity as he sees the world as it really is for those not as fortunate as he had been and his determination to make life easier on the less fortunate. That he can exact his own brand of revenge becomes almost secondary to his desire to see justice done. Matthew Cody’s fast-paced and crisp writing style will capture the younger reader’s mind and fill their imaginations with pictures of the past and how difficult life was for all, while giving them a hero they can relate to. His characters have their own charm, they have flaws, but in the end, doing the right thing and making the best of what life has handed them is a lesson learned. This ARC edition was provided by NetGalley and Random House Children's Books in exchange for my honest review.