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Shadows of Sherwood (A Robyn Hoodlum Adventure) Paperback – October 18, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—This thrilling first book in a new series by award-winning author Kekla Magoon stars the rebellious spitfire Robyn Loxley, a 12-year-old girl whose destiny and heritage as a member of the underground Crescent Rebellion unfolds one night when after returning from a midnight adventure. She finds her parents missing and her home in disarray. Grabbing the secret items her father has trained her to take in case of emergency, Robyn flees into Sherwood Forest, launching headlong into an adventure, where aided by the help of a diverse set of loyal friends she meets along the way, Robyn sets out on a journey to find out the truth about what happened to her parents. Guided by the words of her father and by her internal compass that sways towards justice, Robyn can't help but to challenge the evil despot Ignomus Crown and his oppressive totalitarian state. Her adventure leads to her to unlock the mystery behind the secret words, "Breath, Blood, Bone," that seems to hold the key to her mission. Magoon deftly plays off the traditional folkloric Robin Hood narrative, with a contemporary twist that champions the ingenuity and bravery of the heroine Robyn in her charge to bring balance and rightness back to her home, Nott City. Shadows of Sherwood is on point with the popular trend of dystopian novels. What makes Magoon's book unique, however, is its accessibility to school-age and intermediate readers, who are sure to be enticed by Robyn's spunk and vulnerability. Magoon masterfully weaves in hallmarks of familial traditions by threading Robyn's beautifully braided long hair into an essential plot element. VERDICT This exciting page-turner will undoubtedly be a hit.—Lettycia Terrones, California State University, Pollak Library, Fullerton , CA --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
"A compelling reboot of the Robin Hood myth." ―Rick Riordan, bestselling author of PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS
"Thrilling. . . . This exciting page-turner will undoubtedly be a hit." ―starred review, School Library Journal
"This colorful adventure does not easily fit into a genre box, as it combines futuristic elements with fantasy and folklore. . . . The adventure and cliffhanging ending will entice readers." ―Kirkus Reviews
"Award-winning Magoon’s futuristic alternate-universe reboot of Robin Hood marks the first title in a promising new series. . . The episodic quests call to mind the Percy Jackson adventures and will inspire a new generation to connect with Robin Hood’s timeless tale." ―Booklist
"Set in the future and paced with one death-defying escape after another, Magoon’s (How It Went Down) story doesn’t end so much as pause. Readers--and Robyn--must wait until at least the second book in the Robyn Hoodlum series to learn the fate of her parents." ―Publishers Weekly
"Magoon cleverly weaves elements of the Robin Hood tale into this futuristic story about social justice, friendship, and identity. The wily kid heroes and thrilling adventures will appeal to young readers." ―Horn Book Magazine
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Top Customer Reviews
I enjoyed reading this book so, so much. Robyn is a fantastic character, and Magoon does a really great job of portraying her as the privileged kid from the upper crest who is jolted to reality when she hits the streets and learns about what life is like for the lower classes. Robyn is naive at first, and she grapples with doing what's right, but she doesn't shy away from doing what she needs to survive and help others. While she is certainly a brave and caring person who is motivated to help the less fortunate, Robyn's actions are mainly motivated by the desire to discover the truth about what happened to her parents at the beginning of the story, and solving the mystery her father left behind for her--sometimes at the risk of alienating her new friends.
Fans of the Robin Hood legend will really enjoy the little nods to the original tale, but Magoon is so great at world building and creating complicated characters that this novel feels very fresh and original. Middle grade readers who are fans of The False Prince and the numerous fantasy novels based on world myths will love this first book in the Robyn Hoodlum series, but it's no stretch to assume that YA readers will be attracted as well. It hits all of the sweet spots of a good futuristic adventure novel--a controlling government, vivid details that ground readers in the world, a well-developed and fascinating cast of characters, and a highly compelling plot. I loved every page.
Basically, the world needs at least five more Robyn Hoodlum books. And you need to get your hands on a copy. That is all.
It's right up my alley, but SHADOWS OF SHERWOOD never quite gelled for me. Robyn's parents apparently followed a moon lore, an old religion that seems like magic. It's a good way to add a folklore tie to the story, but I felt like the dystopia and fantasy elements didn't mesh very neatly. The moon lore mostly seemed like a way for convenient things to happen.
There's also use of villainous point of view, which I find is difficult to pull of well. The Sheriff's passages give some hints about Governor Crown's dastardly deeds but otherwise add little to the story. Since this is a Robin Hood retelling it is particularly egregious, because everyone knows where the story is going. Even younger readers can be assumed to know at least one version of the story, if only the Disney movie.
I think the class conflicts were done well, which is important since they are a central part of the legend. Robyn has been part of the upper class and is now learning how bad everyone else in the city had it. Rescuing her parents is a top priority, but she's learning that innocent bystanders could get hurt in her activities against the Sheriff - which leads her to question how she can help.
SHADOWS OF SHERWOOD has some nice heist scenes and an appealing cast, but it left me cold. I'm just not sure the biggest departures from the traditional story worked for me. It felt like a separate story welded on that didn't quite fit. Does Robin Hood need a prophecy? No, not really.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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