Sherwood by Meagan Spooner

Image result for sherwood by meagan spoonerRobin of Locksley is dead and Maid Marian doesn’t know how to continue but the people need a savior. Guy of Gisbourne wishes to step into Robin’s shoes as the Lord of Locksley and Marian’s fiance but he is the horrible right-hand man of the Sherriff of Nottingham. 

Marian never meant to take Robin’s place, to tread in his footsteps but with a sweep of her green cloak and the flash of her sword she becomes her own hero. The hero that fills the storybooks of old: Robin Hood. 

This book was a new and interesting take on the tale of Robin Hood and his band of merry men. I was drawn immediately into this story but argued with myself over putting the book down without finishing it. The basis for this solely was that the characters were too similar to a favorite book series of mine. This series, Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen had characters whose names were the same as they were in Sherwood despite differing roles. I could have looked beyond most of them except for the villain of the tales, Gisbourne. In Scarlet he was a vile man who I abhorred and yet in Sherwood he was an intriguing man struggling to find justice in an unjust world. I just could not compromise these two images of the character in my mind while reading Sherwood making me irrationally angry about where Gisbourne ended up in the tale. Overall it degraded my enjoyment of the story since I was struggling with previous conceptions of what the characters should or should not be. Despite all this internal struggle I still loved the story for Spooner brought to life the struggles of a girl dealing with grief and the need to create a better world for those less fortunate.

Image result for lucifer gifThe characters are what created the tale for we all know the setting of Robin Hood and the world-building is practically set in stone. The main character, Marian was a noblewoman who could fight and shoot better than almost anybody including Robin. After Robin’s death, she sees a need in her world that she decides to fill by becoming the masked legend of Robin Hood. We see her struggle to decide what is right and what her path and purpose should be. Her anguish and yet internal strength called to the reader and I deeply felt her emotions and admired the raw determination of character it took to do what she did.

The other characters added to the tale in wondrous ways especially Gisbourne. As I have discussed I had issues with his character and yet it was still phenomenal to see him finally break loose of the bonds of society all for the woman he loves. In bringing up love I must complain a little bit about the building of the romance. It just abruptly happened and I felt like there was no lead up to Gisbourne being in love with Marian. They spent three-fourths of the story being enemies and yet they are desperately in love by the end. Definitely not the most developed part of this story. However, this can be overlooked for the special wonder of the tale as a whole.

Image result for read it gifI would recommend reading the story. Don’t read it though if you still have another retelling of Robin Hood in your head because it will mess with you. But overall this was a phenomenal read that lives up to Spooner’s adept storytelling of bringing old characters and stories to life in a different and unique manner.

Book Review: Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen

Book Review: Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen

Image result for Reign the Earth

Shalia plans to marry for peace even if she’s never met her husband to be.  When she meets him she hopes for happiness and love but within days of their marriage small truths begin to rise to the surface and Shalia finds herself married to a man intent upon wiping Elementae from the world.  The issue though is that she is one herself.  As her powers rise Shalia begins to uncover the truth of her husband while trying to change him even as he sets out to kill her kind, her brother, and perhaps even her leaving Shalia with three choices.  To save her family, the Elementae, or herself.

Reign the Earth was a truly heart-wrenching tale that demonstrated the power that love has over hate.  The characters were phenomenal and the character growth was outstanding.  The universe that the characters inhabited was stunningly created and I loved reading yet another tale that tells of elemental powers.  I could not put Reign the Earth down and despite a few disappointments I truly enjoyed the tale.

The main character, Shalia, completely dominated the book with her courage and her unending ability to care about those around her.  However, I did not like her character that much at the beginning of her marriage to the King, Calix.  She did not stand up for herself and although I understood her need to care for Calix despite his wrongdoings I knew he was evil and unworthy of her love.  Then, she got pregnant and it was all dramatic and I wanted to scream.  Despite that, her character growth was amazing as she went from the silent, timid Queen to a woman willing to do anything for change.  By the end of the book, we saw her silenced and broken by her husband but she rose from the ashes and knew love again.  In the end, I adored her character and would not change even the beginning where she was unwilling to fully step up to challenging her husband because it served a purpose and grew her character better than anything else possibly could have.

Image result for you're wonderful gifCalix was a terrifying villain.  His mind was twisted and warped in ways beyond imagining.  He ruled by fear and from the beginning, I could see what a horrible man he was.  He believed Elementae to be the reason for his pain and he refused to take blame for anything.  Instead, he blamed his actions on others which was childlike but combine that with being “a god incarnate” and others suffered at the smallest slights.  He revealed his dark mind with his cruel punishments but there were times when it seemed that he was good and kind.  However, that was fully blown out of the water when he killed Shalia’s family and tortured her by using others pain.  I always despised his character but he was the perfect villain for this book.

The love interest in Reign the Earth and Calix’s brother was Galen whose character was greatly undiscovered.  He was a major side character for the first half of the book even though I predicted from page fifty that he and Shalia would end up together.  Towards the end of the tale, we began to see his character emerge as a brave man who had done what he believed was right even if it was betraying his brother.  I will admit that I did not see it coming that he was the secret leader of the rebellion but I was thrilled by that minor plot twist.  I still want to know more about him, though.  Image result for i want more info gifWe saw Shalia and Calix’s characters and we thoroughly explored their minds and actions but we saw so little of Galen and I was saddened by that since Shalia ends up technically cheating on her husband with him.  It is a technicality though since her husband tried to kill and torture her but still there was no official divorce announced.  I knew little of Galen but I still enjoyed his character as an exemplary love interest.

Besides the characters the world building was creative and I loved reading about the elemental powers once again but in yet another interpretation.  The palaces and the idea of the three-faced god were intriguing and added detail and description to the story.

Overall the tale was well told and I truly enjoyed the book.  I would definitely recommend it but will state that I prefer A.C. Gaughens other series, Scarlet which is amazing!

Happy New Year

It’s a New Year!! I can hardly believe that we are entering 2018.  This past year has flown by.  Below is a list of the top twelve books that I read this year.  There are definitely more favorites but if I didn’t stop at twelve my list would just keep on going.  I am not putting them in any particular order.

  • The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
  • Ruby Red Kerstin Gier
  • Roar  by Cora Carmack
  • Scarlet by A. C Gaughen
  • The Demon Trapper’s Daughter by Jana Oliver
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  • Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  • The Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
  • The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  • Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo
  • It by Stephen King

 

Happy New Year!!!!

Book Review: Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen

Book Review: Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen

Scarlet is Robin Hood’s right hand man.  But he has a secret.  He is a she and only Robin’s Band knows she’s a woman.  But when somebody from Scarlets past shows his face things change.   He is out to see the hanging of the infamous Robin Hood and he will stop at nothing to see that this becomes a reality.   Torn between running and protecting her bandmates she must decide whether her life is worth more than the people of Nottinghamshire and her crew.  Suddenly she is not only fighting for the people of Nottingham but for herself, her bandmates, and her future.

I have read many books about Robin Hood but none were like this one.  The author casts a light on Robin so that we see him as more than just a hero who stole from the rich and gave to the poor.  We see that maybe he is not some perfect ideal man and its all told from the point of view of a girl who has endured hardships than no one should ever have to face.

This book showed a path through history and brought the characters of old to life.  I now see Robin Hood, the Sheriff of Nottingham, Prince John, Richard the Lionheart, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and England during that time period through different eyes.  Eyes that this book opened.

I highly recommend Scarlet for no one will ever tire of the tale contained within its pages.