Review: The Outlaws of Sherwood

by Robin McKinley

the outlaws of sherwood pamsthree

“Some of what she was good at,
and some of what she was bad at,
as his pupil, came clear to him in that moment;
and something else came clear to him too,
but he set it aside so quickly that he allowed himself not to recognise it for what it was.”
-Page 208

Title: The Outlaws of Sherwood
Author: Robin McKinley
Publisher: Firebird
Book: Standalone
Genre: Historical fiction
Found: Because of Author
Rating: 3 Voodoos

In the days of King Richard the Lionheart, a young forester named Robin sets out one morning for the Nottingham Fair, but he never arrives. By the end of the day a man lies dead in the King’s Forest, and Robin is an outlaw with a price on his head.
From then on, Robin is on the run, hiding deep in Sherwood Forest–but he is not alone. First joined by his friends Much and Marian, then by more and more people who despise the Norman lords who tax them blind, Robin builds a community of outlaws in the forest who risk the gallows and the sword for the sake of justice. And as he does, he gains a new name: Robin Hood.


I bought this book right after I read the blue sword. I wanted more of that world and there wasn’t any and I thought this might be the next best thing. Of course, I didn’t read it right away – I find Robin’s writing one of two extremes, exciting or boring and I was concerned I’d find it boring while hoping I wouldn’t
This started boring and while it never made it to un-putdownable it definitely did pick up. That is until it suddenly seemed to stop…
Not sure if there was intending to be a book two or not, but it felt like a book 2 set up.

I think the only other Robin Hood story I’ve read is Hood by Stephen R Lawhead, I’m yet to finish that series, but it’s set in Wales, from what I remember and is very different to the Robin Hood we know – except for the bows and the stealing from the rich. Most of my Robin experience has been through various films and TV shows.
This book REALLY reminded me of the 2006 BBC TV show, though this came first. Maid Marian wasn’t a stay at home maiden, she was a fully functional and well rounded character that did things! There are other characters in this book too that I could see were other characters in the show, that I hadn’t seen elsewhere.
There’s a possibility that the show  writers read this book and came to the same conclusion I did with regards to the ending. Basically, where is it?! And if that’s true, does that make the TV show fanfiction?!

This was an interesting Robin Hood retelling and I liked that he was always thinking of the safety of his people, finding them new places to go and make a living. It felt like it was the main thing he thought about and the other things were dealt with by the others. I liked the surly boy they sort of picked up and that Robin Hood was worse than everyone else with a bow!
It made it all seem more real too, life was frantic and fraught and people got hurt.

But why such an open ending?!

pam id pics paein


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