Sherwood by Meagan Spooner
Publisher: HarperTeen (March 19, 2019)
Print Length: 480 pages
Audiobook Length: 13 hrs and 20 mins
Narrator: Fiona Hardingham
Robin of Locksley is dead.
Maid Marian doesn’t know how she’ll go on, but the people of Locksley town, persecuted by the Sheriff of Nottingham, need a protector. And the dreadful Guy of Gisborne, the Sheriff’s right hand, wishes to step into Robin’s shoes as Lord of Locksley and Marian’s fiancé.
Who is there to stop them?
Marian never meant to tread in Robin’s footsteps—never intended to stand as a beacon of hope to those awaiting his triumphant return. But with a sweep of his green cloak and the flash of her sword, Marian makes the choice to become her own hero: Robin Hood.
A gender bent retelling of the classic Robin Hood, Sherwood is a novel that explores how a person can rise above tragedy, and the morally grey areas they can go in order to succeed.
I have to hand it to Spooner, she writes a great main character. I loved Marian, loved how she went through the stages of grief when she lost Robin, but also that she was able to rise above the loss to do what was right. She was stubborn but also flowed into the expectations of a women of the time period. I also couldn’t get over her relationships with secondary characters.
Marian’s relationship with her father was perfect. He knew his daughter was different, but didn’t turn away when her secret identity threatened his own life. However, Marian’s relationship with her band of merry men was probably my favourite. It was a slow burn in terms of them learning they were following a woman’s lead, but when they all found out they didn’t change the way they treated her, and it was nice to see that none of them tried to take the reigns from her.
With all that said there are two things that didn’t allow me to rate this novel higher. First, the book was far too long for my liking. While I understand that it was a standalone, and that Spooner wanted to put as much detail as possible, but it made the narrative a tad clunky, leading my mind to wander in some of the more droll sections. Second, I did not like the romance. I think this book would have been a 4 or 4.5 if Spooner had concluded the novel with Marian being alone. It was in her being alone that Marian chose to take up the mantel of The Hood. It was in her loneliness that she found whom she could trust, developing real friendships along the way. So to, in the last third of the novel, have Marian begin a relationship with a hate-to-love character cheapened her character development.
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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And those are my thoughts on Sherwood by Meagan Spooner. Have any YA retelling recommendations you think I should check out? Leave them as a comment below and help my TBR grow.