Review: Will in Scarlet by Matthew Cody

willscarletWILL IN SCARLET
Matthew Cody
Knopf Books For Young Readers
Publication Date: October 8, 2013

From the back cover:

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.

Recently, I’d mentioned to a friend that I was looking for some good boy-centric middle grade books for my two sons and she recommended Matthew Cody. We flew through his superhero series (SUPER and POWERLESS) and then took on THE DEAD GENTLEMAN. All three were fantastic reads, so when WILL IN SCARLET came up on Netgalley, I jumped at the chance to review it. I’m happy to report that Matthew Cody has written another highly successful book. WILL IN SCARLET is a tale that is sure to appeal to kids and adults alike.

This ingenious Robin Hood retelling centers around thirteen-year-old Will Shackley who must enter the dark and forbidding Sherwood Forest after his home is taken over by treasonous rebels. There, he meets the infamous bandits know as the Merry Men and finds a place among them. But Will longs for revenge for his family and as he uses the Merry Men to achieve that goal, he begins to realize that all is not as he first believed in Knottingham. Now he must decide whether his need for revenge is greater than his conviction to right the horrible wrongs against the people.

Although the story starts out a bit slow, once the setup has been achieved and Will joins the Merry Men, the pace picks up and WILL IN SCARLET becomes very difficult to put down. Filled with adventure, danger and rich creativity, this book is perfect for those who are looking for a unique, swashbuckling tale that is more than just a good story. WILL IN SCARLET may be peppered with humor and non-stop action, but it is also a book that takes great care to impart valuable lessons about justice and fairness and doing the right thing no matter the cost. Here’s hoping for a sequel!




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