Author: Meagan Spooner
My Rating: 4/5 stars
This is Meagan Spooner’s second fairy tale re-telling and I have to say, she hit the nail on the head. This was so sweet!
Maybe “sweet” is the wrong word to describe this gender-bent Robin Hood imagining. But it was! I’ve seen some complaints about this so I’m going to clear a few things up.
This book follows Maid Marian, who’s betrothed to Robin of Locksley until he dies tragically fighting in the Crusades. In this telling, Robin is a nobleman and hasn’t yet become the famed thief. One of Robin’s men is accused of stealing, however, and Marian disguises herself as a man to save him from what she believes is an unjust punishment. Under cover of dark, no one knows who she is; but rumors spread that the hooded figure is Robin’s ghost.
So the legend begins, and Marian is forced to keep up the charade in order to save her friends. Before she knows it, she’s teaming up with a band of thieves to intercept food and supplies in order to save the overtaxed people of their land from starvation. Thus, taking from the rich to give to the poor. *eyebrow waggle*
I love the idea that the legend we all know was a hooded woman. Marian is told to be skilled with the bow, fighting, basically better than her fiance, Robin, at just about everything. It’s not that the original Robin Hood died, so Marian took his place. No, Marian is the original Robin Hood, in her own right. There are some who might not like this, but I found it very clever.
Sherwood has action, strong ladies, humor, heart, and a surprisingly sweet romance. The end was utterly fabulous; so ingenious that I could have cried.
My complaints though, are that this book is definitely slow to start. It takes a bit to get into it, and I admit that it’s a bit longer than necessary. However, I believe that the positives far outweighed the negatives, which is why these things don’t affect my rating nearly as much as it would have had this been any other book.
I thought Marian was a good character; she was compassionate and did her best for those she loved, and even for those she hardly knew. She fought for the hungry, hurting people of Nottingham and to great risks to help them.
Marian was flawed, too. She acted before thinking sometimes, but in these moments she acknowledged her mistakes and often did her best to right any wrongs. I loved the representation of a character that struggles with anxiety. This wasn’t stated outright, but Marian battles feelings of fear and the loss of Robin and is sometimes forced to pause and fight with her mind before continuing.
All in all, another strong read from the author of Hunted. Will absolutely continue to read Spooner’s retellings.