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The Outlaws of Sherwood Paperback – October 4, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 117 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

McKinley brings to the Robin Hood legend a robustly romantic view. She renders it anew by fully developing the background and motive of each member of the merry band, from Robin's "crime" that sends him into the woods, to Marian's subterfuge as she straddles the worlds of the nobility and of the outlaws. Their habitations, foresting and thieving is explained, and McKinley, in a thoughtful afterword, reveals both her debt to and her differences with previous versions of the story. There is no reason, however, that readers of those stories might not enjoy this one as well. Although the author does fall into the politics indigenous only to the British isles, she presents a solid piece of tale-weaving, ingenious and ingenuous, causing readers to suspend belief willingly for a rousing good time. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 9-12 Robin Hood is immortal, but in The Outlaws of Sherwood he doesn't quite come alive. McKinley's novelistic treatment expands the outlines of characters and episodes familiar to readers of Pyle. All is well in the Greenwood until the outlaws open their mouths: their speech and thoughts are a stiff, uneasy mix of ye-olde high seriousness and flip vernacular. McKinley's attempts to evoke the 12th-Century conflict with her wish to raise her characters' political and feminist consciousness do not work. The book moves slowly: there is action, but not enough for the sword-and-sorcery genre addicts; the romance between Robin and Marion hangs fire while he figures out that he can't tell her what to do; the dialogues are sometimes unwieldy and un-yeomanlike; the whole is unconvincing. Pyle's text may be stilted, but there are his wonderful pictures; even Roger Green's version (Penguin, 1984), albeit for a younger audience, has the merit of good pacing. Patricia Dooley, University of Washington, Seattle
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 13 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1020 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; Reprint edition (October 4, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441013252
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441013258
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,528,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robin McKinley has won various awards and citations for her writing, including the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown and a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword. Her other books include Sunshine; the New York Times bestseller Spindle's End; two novel-length retellings of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and Rose Daughter; and a retelling of the Robin Hood legend, The Outlaws of Sherwood. She lives with her husband, the English writer Peter Dickinson.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've always loved the story of Robin Hood, and Robin McKinley was reccommended to me as an author I would like. So when I found her books in the library, I had to take "The Outlaws of Sherwood". This book lived up to it's expectations, and more! I liked the interesting twist how Robin wasn't the unusual more-than-human hero. He wasn't the overconfident, always-merry man that is so often portrayed. He couldn't even shoot that well! I liked the way all the characters where so human, and yet most (the outlaws anyway) were very likable. It was cool how Marian was actually the great archer, and that there was other women in the outlaws. (Sibyl, Eva, etc.) Will and Much provided some humor, and an arrogance that was actually likable, which is rare. Little John was the perfect large-yet-quiet faithful companion. King Richard was intriguing; I couldn't figure out if I liked him or not.
It was also interesting how during different times, the viewpoint switched around to many people. Of course it was still Robin's view through most of it, but frequently Friar Tuck too, and then towards the end it was often Cecil. (Which is interesting because you wouldn't have thought that character to be a main one) This book has everything; a familiar-yet-new story, adventure, romance, humor, good characters, evil villians, battles, great setting, (I love medieval times!) etc. I encourage anyone to read this!!
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Format: Hardcover
Robin McKinley is, perhaps, one of the best writers I have ever read, especially her books Outlaws of Sherwood and Beauty. In Outlaws of Sherwood, McKinley uses her clear and descriptive style to add a little reality to the Robin Hood legends. Instead of showing her readers a Robin who looks debonair and dashing while joking with his merry men, McKinley gives us a Robin who lives in the forest, is poor, sometimes afraid, and not constantly merry. This Robin even has trouble shooting a straight arrow! He is faulty, yet he is likable and compelling because the reader may see him/herself in his life and his decisions. The other characters in the book are also convincing, showing us a suprisingly different view of our Lady Marian along with a wonderful portrayel of Friar Tuck. McKinley uses the reality factor of life to spin a tale in which people really might have lived, yet she still captures all the fantastic elements of the Medieval times and pagentry, along with the humor, that the original legend possesses. Perhaps one of the best scenes in the entire novel is toward the end, when Guy of Gisbourne attacks the theives outside of Friar Tucks little church and hovel. The excitement of battle is mixed with such a concern for the characters that the reader really feels present among them, dodging blows from swords and the feathered shafts of arrows!
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By A Customer on April 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This was the first Mckinley Book that i had the good fortune to read. I was in the middle of a Robin Hood streek when i picked this up. I am very glad i read so many diffrent versions before Outlaws because Mckinley's book raised my expectations for old tales of heroism to olympic levels. Besides Marion being so cool without overcrowding Robin the main reason i liked this book is its multitude of characters with depth. Robin has a group of people surrounding him that you actually care if they are merry or not. His band are not mere cutouts of stock medevil charcters-friar peasent nobleman. Mckinley is able to tell a broad story without losing the focus of the tale that made robin famous. You will not want this story to end.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really liked this retelling of Robin Hood. In this version Robin Hood isn't such a perfect, superior guy. He was a bit overly cautious and insecure. It was ironic how McKinley made Robin the worst archer of the group, I don't think any other author would have dared to do that, it is what Robin is famed for after all. I also liked how the bad side of the outlaw life was shown, like not having enough food and the paranoia about being caught. I loved the character of Marion and wished that there would have been more about her life, maybe McKinley could write a sequel starring Marion? I didn't care much for the ending though. I would rather they had been pardoned and allowed to live in England. Also, Richard the Lionheart wasn't that great of a guy, he killed almost a million muslims once because they wouldn't convert to christianity. Thankfully, McKinley doesn't turn him into a saintly, better-than-thou character, we are left rather unsure on how to feel about Richard. I also liked the romance between Cecil/Cecily and Little John and the mystery surrounding Cecil when he first joins the outlaws. My only complaint would be that it was much too short and a lot was left out from the legends. I like Beauty and Hero and the Crown better but The Outlaws of Sherwood is a great book too. I recommend it to anyone in search of a good read, be they adult or children. One other thing:Why is McKinleys books considered children books? They seem to be better written and more complex than a lot of adult books I could name. I suppose because there is no graphic sex or swearing(thank god)
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I will admit that it's wonderfully done and realistic, and for that it deserves more stars. But while I admire the craftsmanship and the beauty of this book, I am also a hopeless romantic and very affected by what I read, and so was dreadfully disappointed by the end. I think . . . though it was a fair and decent end, it could have been rendered . . . more hopeful. I was, all in all, quite distressed.
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