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: The Forest Queen by Betsy Cornwell

Image result for the forest queen

Desperate to escape the prison of her life and an arranged marriage, Silviana runs into the forest with two friends to find a different life.  Soon though she steals into a jail and leaves a message for the Sheriff stating that she will protect the innocent.  Soon people are flocking to her hideaway and before long a band of rebels is born.  As the past and that which she fears most approaches, Silviana must decide whether to flee or fight and if she does fight what she is willing to pay to save those she loves. 

The Forest Queen was an intriguing new twist on the old ballad of Robin Hood.  It was filled with dark twists and the process of overcoming pain and facing the fears of the past.  The characters were heartfelt and the world building was unique but could have been expanded upon.

The world building was different and the author created something entirely new for the basis of the tale.  We learned little of it and it was much the same as the original Robin Hood.  The kingdom is filled with oppression from the nobles through overtaxing and the harsh punishments enacted due to minor infractions.  Besides that, the book told little of the surrounding environment in which the characters interacted besides the existence of a forest, a shire, and a river.

Image result for fantastic! gifBesides the somewhat unsatisfactory world building, the characters were fantastic.  The main character, Silvie was haunted by nightmares due to her brother.  Her character growth was wonderful to read about for she grew from a girl unwilling to change and see life, as is really, is into a young woman who steals from her brother and the nobles giving the pilfered goods to the poor who are barely surviving so that the rich may live in resplendence.

Her love interest, Bird was mediocre.  He was strong and quiet always supporting Silvie but his character was not expanded on or really grown throughout the tale.  He was not my favorite and the attraction between Silvie and Bird was slow and almost nonexistent.  Besides Birdie, there was Little Jane who grew from a frightened girl turned out of her home to a happy and excited mother.  Her character growth was excellent since we saw her acceptance of a new life that afforded her options she had never thought of before.

Silvie’s brother, Sheriff John was extremely cruel and his intentions towards his sister were most certainly not pure.  He was just like any other cruel Sheriff who imprisoned and heavily taxed his constituents then tortured, killed, and jailed them for their inability to sustain the high taxes.

Overall, I quite enjoyed the book.  There were a few hiccups at the beginning when the author skipped a few scenes into the future which I personally found annoying but I liked the retelling of Robin Hood and would still recommend The Forest Queen.