Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Scarlet and Robin Hood: Review

          Writing is hard. You have to have an idea of the point you want to get across, and what's going to happen, and if it's a story, how to keep your reader's attention. Or you can be like me, and write without following any of rules and, well, this is what my writing's like. But really, the hardest storytelling is when you take a story or fairytale and change it, making it unique. I remember doing it for school, when we had an assignment called fractured fairytales, and basically, all I had to do was pick any fairytale or childhood story and fracture it, and come up with a different ending. The thing is, everybody already knows the story you're going to be telling, and so the easiest way to give them a surprise is to just flip the ending. Beauty marries Beast? Nope, the Beast isn't cured and eats up the Beauty. Snow White eats the apple that puts her to sleep? Nope, the potion in the apple goes wrong because of chemical reactions and makes her ugly. You can only go so far, though. You still want the reader to be able to relate to the original story - his knowledge of the basic facts may help. You can't, for example, make a giant man eating wild woman, name her Thumbelina, and expect the reader to know that she was born out of a flower. Which is why I love fairytale retelling. Not to mention how hard it must be to turn a 10 page story into a 300 page book. That's a looot of details. I've been waiting forever to get my hands on some of these books, namely Splintered, Alice in Zombieland, and Cinder (and OMG those covers!!!). Sadly, my experience with books of this genre is limited to Ella Enchanted (one of the few books I've read and re-read, by the way), Graceling, and now, Scarlet. It's a wonderful retelling of Robin Hood, and I can't wait for the sequel to come out. As for what it's about, well, it's the retelling of Robin Hood for god's sake, What do you think it's going to be about? Just in case you missed out on that story during story-time (and I have a few word on that too), here's the synopsis.
Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in. It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

          My commentary: I'm going to strangle Scarlet for her grammar.  I makes it so hard to read, especially since the whole story is in first person. I feel like I'm trudging through African American street slang slop - uggghhhh the mistakes make me want to strangle someone. Like, Scarlet. And if not for the slang, I would have been rushing through it. I bet it's one of those ploys authors use to get the reader angry. Like cliffhangers. But later in the book we learn that there actually is a reason for her accent, so it's like A.C. knows I'm going to hate her for using horrid grammar and is directing all that fury towards Scarlet. A mere character, thought up and brought to life on paper. Well played, my dear, well played. Oh, and this is a series. There's going to be a sequel!!! Fan girl squeal (ew, that sounds like I'm making pig noises)! Maybe Scar will get into an English school and learn to talk semi-properly at least!!!
          Rewind a bit to where I was talking about story-time. Do you guys remember that? Maybe it's because I've loved books since I was old enough to understand, but I distinctly remember those story-telling sessions in first grade. The books we read were OK, often times. Each student had his own little mat, which was a small rectangular shaped piece of carpet, small enough for a first grader to sit with his legs crossed. I remember always wanting to lie down - I enjoyed listening to the stories, but I simply wasn't comfortable enough. Of course, my teacher, still a first grade teacher at the same school to this day, and one of the teachers I respect most - I'm still shy to talk to her, and believe me, I love to talk - to this day, had that silly little stoplight thingie (that, I do not respect). Everybody had their name on a wooden clothespin, and there was a stoplight made up of three colored paper plates. All the clothespins would be on the green plate on Monday, and you had to get to the end of the week without getting to the red light - or maybe it was the end of the day and it was reset everyday - I'm not sure. Speaking out of turn meant you moved up a color. Fighting meant moving up a color. And as luck would have it, lying down while the teacher was reading a story about a frog and a toad and their brown house and drabber life, also meant your name would move up a color. Getting to red meant time out. God, time out was scary when I was six. And that, my friends, was my story-time, spent reading books like Frog and Toad - I remember reading those, in all their green and brown glory, I promise - and being denied a comfortable seating arrangement.