Author: Meagan Spooner
Pub. Date: March 19, 2019
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- 4.5
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.
This will be a spoiler free review – I received an ARC of this book via a trade on Twitter.
I absolutely loved this book! I’m kind of annoyed at myself for waiting this long to read it. I know why I waited, Robin dies in the beginning of this book (it’s stated in the synopsis so no spoilers) and it put me off. How can you have a Robin Hood retelling without Robin of Locksley?
Though, with that being said, I thought the book was brilliant and enjoyed every moment of it. At almost 500 pages, I thought that maybe it would take me a while to get through it, but the pacing of the book, as well as the writing style made it very easy to read, and I flew through it in a handful of hours over a few days. If I’d been able to, I would have sat down and not gotten back up until it was done, but life gets in the way of binge reading sometimes.
The pacing and writing style combined made for a very effective story, and made it very easy to visualize what was going on, where it was going on, etc. I’m assuming this book is set in the 13th/14th/(maybe)15th century England, I maybe it’s all the BBC shows I watch (Robin Hood, Merlin, etc) but I found it so easy to picture the world, the town, the forest. The story just came to life in my mind, so vividly.
I really want Netflix or someone to pick this book up and create a movie or a show out of it. I would watch the crap out of it.
I think this book has snuck its way onto my list of favorites. I read Meagan’s other fantasy – Hunted and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I do think that this is my favorite of the two. I don’t know if I can put my finger on exactly why I loved it so much – without spoiling – but I was left a warm, giddy mess upon finishing, which wasn’t the reaction I expected or anticipated to have.
Now, you might be saying “that’s all well and good, but what about the characters?”
Well, there wasn’t a character I didn’t like! Even the ‘antagonist’ (I use quotations because if you’ve read the book, you’ll know why) was likable by the end. Unless you’re talking about the Sheriff then, he can rot in a cell.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s just go through the major players really quick.
Robin of Locksley:
He does and doesn’t play a huge part in this book. Not actually being physically present was a bummer. It was one of the reasons I was hesitant to start it. There are flashback scenes of him and Marian as they grow up together, those were sweet, but for most of the book, he is Marian’s voice of reason, in her head, responding to her fears and her concerns.
Now, I know it’s not really him, and that it’s how she thinks he’d respond, but other than the flashbacks, that’s the extent of his involvement.
She’s pretty badass. In a world where women are supposed to be dainty and ladylike, she’s the opposite. She’d rather be outdoors riding a horse, or shooting a bow, or practicing with swords. A friendship blooms between her and Robin at a young age, the two of them complimenting each other very well. She wants to learn and grow and use her skills and knowledge to be as good, if not better than then men around her, and Robin let’s her be herself, rather than what society dictates she ought to be.
She’s fiercely loyal and brave. She’s a bit unsteady in the face of danger – not really willing to do whatever it takes. She’s also got a pretty moral compass and humanity through everything. Even it if means a bad outcome, especially for her, she’d sooner risk her own life over those of her friends – if it means they stay safe.
I adored her character – strong and independent but also not afraid to ask for help if she needed it.
He wasn’t Robin of Locksley or Marian – he was what she wished she could be, what she admired in Robin, and what the people needed.
I never disliked his character, but in the beginning, he was a little annoying and nuisance – constantly pestering Marian. There were moments I just wanted to shove him out the door so Marian could be in peace.
He was a man on a mission, a passion, a drive.
I loved how through all his interactions with Marian, more of who he fundamentally was became apparent, and it got to the point where I was actually rooting for him to somehow win Marian’s affections…because, you know, Robin’s dead.
The Merry (Wo)Men:
They were a great cast of characters, and I loved them. They all had their own reasons to stand with Robin Hood, and it was just loyalty to Robin of Locksley or just to be Robin Hood’s men. They were unique personalities and I kind of wish there had been a little more of them. (This is where I think a show, or a movie would add to the story.)
Ultimately, what I think I loved most about this book was the idea that maybe the person you hold closest to your heart – the one you love – might not actually be who you believe them to be. You can do so much in the honor, the name of someone, but are you actually doing it because they would, or are you romanticizing them to fit your narrative?
Love can make you blind.
I don’t doubt that Marian loved Robin, that she cared for him deeply. But even Robin understood that he loved her more that she loved him. In the end, the person who ended up being her better match, was a man she never expected. Neither Robin or Marian were bad people, but people make choices, and choices can lead to different outcomes – death or the creation of Robin Hood.
The journey Marian goes through in this book, is one of self-discovery – figuring out who she is, when her best friend dies. She has to figure out her next steps, and find a way to help her people, all while dealing with loss, and unwanted advances, and trying to navigate a world where she doesn’t fit the standard mold of what a woman should be.
I loved this book so much, and if you like stories about Robin Hood and his her Merry Cohorts, then you’ll definitely want to pick this book up when it comes out next week!