Review of “Sherwood” by Meagan Spooner

Spooner, Meagan. Sherwood. New York: HarperTeen, 2019.

Hardcover | $17.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0062422316 | 467 pages | YA Historical Fiction

3.5 stars

I don’t remember where I first heard about Meagan Spooner, but I had her previous fairytale retelling on my radar for a while, then subsequently added Sherwood to my TBR upon its release. While I wasn’t super familiar with the Robin Hood legend beyond the basics, I was intrigued by the twist on the story suggested in the blurb.

And it’s a petty good story, particularly in terms of developing Marian as a character in her own right. I love her taking up the mantle of Robin Hood, in light of Robin’s death and the growing political corruption. And the way it develops an understanding of her and Robin’s bond through flashbacks to their courtship was great, and I wish they had been more frequent, espevially when they dwindled in the latter half.

Unfortunately, the other romance between Marian and her other suitor, Guy of Gisborne, put a bad taste in my mouth. I’m not opposed to her finding another romantic partner on principle, but the fact that he is opposed to everything she stands for and the execution of his supposed defection is handled in a completely unconvincing way made the relationship hard to buy into.

It’s a great attempt at writing a feminist, gender-flipped Robin Hood, but it is still a bit flawed. The writing style is engaging, and the plot is fun, centering on a great characterso I feel like it’s still worth giving a shot if this book appeals to you.

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