The Outlaws of Sherwood Kindle É The Outlaws PDF \

The Outlaws of Sherwood Kindle É The Outlaws PDF \


The Outlaws of Sherwood ❮Read❯ ➳ The Outlaws of Sherwood Author Robin McKinley – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk New York Times bestselling author Robin McKinley s vivid retelling of the classic story of Robin Hood breathes contemporary life into these beloved adventures, with Marian taking a pivotal role as one New York Times bestselling author Robin McKinley s vivid retelling of the classic story of Robin Hood breathes contemporary life into these beloved adventures, with Marian taking a pivotal role as The Outlaws PDF \ one of Robin s best archers.


10 thoughts on “The Outlaws of Sherwood

  1. Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ says:

    3.5 stars Full review, first posted on Fantasy Literature I ve owned a paperback copy of The Outlaws of Sherwood, a retelling of the Robin Hood folktale, for ages, dating back to the days when I was auto buying everything Robin McKinley wrote It s a very different type of book for her a straightforward historical novel no fantasy elements at all telling how Robin came to be the leader of a band of outlaws in Sherwood Forest, and how several of the key members of his group came to join him 3.5 stars Full review, first posted on Fantasy Literature I ve owned a paperback copy of The Outlaws of Sherwood, a retelling of the Robin Hood folktale, for ages, dating back to the days when I was auto buying everything Robin McKinley wrote It s a very different type of book for her a straightforward historical novel no fantasy elements at all telling how Robin came to be the leader of a band of outlaws in Sherwood Forest, and how several of the key members of his group came to join him The focus here is on the different personalities in the group and how they interact with each other.Robin has led a downtrodden life since his father, a fargifted archer than Robin himself, died under rather suspicious circumstances His boss, the Chief Forester, hates him as the son of the man who married the woman the Chief Forester wanted for himself, and his cronies have been bullying Robin In their attempt to take Robin down, he strikes back with an arrow that kills one of the men Robin was aiming at the man s leg his lack of archery skill backfires on him in a deadly way here, though it may have saved his life Robin plans to run away, but Marian and Much, the miller s son, find him and eventually convince a deeply reluctant Robin that forming a band of free men in Sherwood Forest is a better idea He ll be a symbol of Saxon freedom against the Norman oppressors Yay says Robin Robin s group of outlaws gradually grows, with names both familiar like Little John, Will Scarlet and Alan a dale and unfamiliar including several women who join their group Marian remains in her father s castle but uses her position to secretly supply the band with food and other necessities and spy for them Robin decides to learn how to use his father s longbow an unusual type of bow at this time in history and trains others in his band to make and use them as well, giving them an advantage over the sheriff s men.Interestingly, Robin himself isof a beta hero in this story as far from the Errol Flynn mold as can be imagined and initially he sdriven by events that happen to him than affirmatively taking action himself As mentioned, he s not much of an archer Marian is the one with the real archery skills This makes for an interesting twist on the famous archery contest story.Robin McKinley has a gift for creating well rounded characters with realistic problems and flaws, and an engaging writing style with a dry wit that periodically surfaces Like the original Robin Hood tales, The Outlaws of Sherwood is an episodic type of novel, with a series of adventures and conflicts, and several twists on the original legends It s mostly a pleasant and enjoyable read, but there s an extremely violent and bloody battle toward the end that is rather harrowing.The ending is odd and a little unsatisfying, and it s not the most memorable of McKinley s novels But when I picked it up again for the first time in a couple of decades to refamiliarize myself with it before writing this review, it was difficult not to get lost in the pages of this book If you re interested in the Robin Hood legend, The Outlaws of Sherwood is worth checking out


  2. Anne Anne says:

    Full disclosure I like this book a lot, and I think its best pointsthan outweigh its flaws.To those disappointed by Robin Hood s sidelining, I want to point out that McKinley s title The Outlaws of Sherwood should warn you what she s up to Robin Hood himself is not her main focus, though he is the key and the center of the plot, and the nucleus of all the relationships of the outlaw band Traditional interpretations of heroism and heroes don t interest her, and mythic grandeur only whe Full disclosure I like this book a lot, and I think its best pointsthan outweigh its flaws.To those disappointed by Robin Hood s sidelining, I want to point out that McKinley s title The Outlaws of Sherwood should warn you what she s up to Robin Hood himself is not her main focus, though he is the key and the center of the plot, and the nucleus of all the relationships of the outlaw band Traditional interpretations of heroism and heroes don t interest her, and mythic grandeur only when contrasted with reality otherwise, why bother to reimagine folk or fairy tales at all they re grand enough in original form Myth making, in McKinley s view, is a vital part of human nature Fleshing out myth with realistic characterization is what makes her stories vibrant and relatable, and all it takes is about the second page or so Robin did not hate the fact that he was a second rate archer for Robin Hood to snap from godlike Mary Sue to complex, layered, interesting person She s explored this tension before and will again the idealization of storybook heroes contrasted with what would be the gritty reality of practical deed doing The Hero and the Crown showed us dragon killing as grim, thankless vermin disposal, a clear inversion of the most typically heroic deed in Western myth in The Blue Sword, Harry is consciously molded into a hero as a symbol she feels she can t live up to All of McKinley s heroes are reluctant, uncertain, forced to step up to the plate by circumstance and character rather than high minded inclination they perform heroic deeds because there is no other option, not because they re bold, noble, pure, or powerful Like Ursula LeGuin s Sparrowhawk, they spend their lives learning to decide to do what they must do.She s never before been so explicit about what she s doing, either There s practically not a character in the book who doesn t overtly refer to the act of myth creation and its contrast with the facts of their narrative Friar Tuck tells us tales are as much the necessary fabric of our lives as our bodies are Marian consciously constructs a legend of superhuman archer Robin Hood the common folk of Nottingham have their own tales and stories of a fairy Old One Robin Hood, savior of the Saxons the outlaws themselves add some gloss to their versions when drinking with town girlfriends and robbed nobles exaggerate the shocking deeds of the outlaws, or are implied to be doing so Finally, in the afterword, if you somehow missed it, she lays it out in her own voice and tells us how and why she manipulated the Robin Hood legend the way she did This is a story about stories, a story about the impact of stories The next time you read it, dig for quotes about stories, tales, myths, and you ll find them everywhere McKinley s skill lies in burying this theme in a great story that stays interesting, in part because the third person narrative POV jumps around and you don t spend too much time in any one character s head Plot and character wise, she fleshes out most generally agreed upon elements of the Robin Hood myth longbow archery, Sherwood Forest, robbing the rich to give to the poor, the quarterstaff meeting with Little John, the ragtag fugitives motley characters seriously, didn t we all wonder what a minstrel was doing in a forest all are given plausibility, grounding, wit, motivation, and real character I suspect that a lot of us double X chromosome folks are drawn to this book because she added some women to the traditional Robin Hood sausagefest, and realistic women at that It s difficult to tell how anachronistic they might be, since there aren t a lot of records of women s inner monologues in the 12th century, but at least they aren t glaringly modern Anne Perry, your Charlotte Pitt is a huge offender


  3. Angie Angie says:

    I have a thing for Robin Hood Specifically Robin Hood retellings I love Robin, Marian, Little John, Will Scarlet, Much the Miller, Alan a Dale, and the whole merry crew I read Ivanhoe cover to cover just for Robin Hood s periodic appearances And when I went on study abroad to England, I dragged my best friend all the way to Nottingham and Sherwood Forest as well so I could walk around in the woods and soak it all up It s still one of the happiest, most golden days I can recall, that one My I have a thing for Robin Hood Specifically Robin Hood retellings I love Robin, Marian, Little John, Will Scarlet, Much the Miller, Alan a Dale, and the whole merry crew I read Ivanhoe cover to cover just for Robin Hood s periodic appearances And when I went on study abroad to England, I dragged my best friend all the way to Nottingham and Sherwood Forest as well so I could walk around in the woods and soak it all up It s still one of the happiest, most golden days I can recall, that one My first encounter with the tale itself was no doubt the Disney animated version which I still love watching with my son , but I m pretty sure the first actual novelization I read was Robin McKinley s THE OUTLAWS OF SHERWOOD And it remains my very favorite to this day Admittedly, I seem to possess the McKinley gene I love her writing I love the unexpected, twisty paths she takes, the obstinate characters, and the wry humor True to form, her Robin is not the typical Robin of legend If you cherish the strapping, dashing, swashbuckling hero a la Errol Flynn, then this version is probably not for you But if you like an unusual, but beautifully wrought, take on a classic then you really ought to give this one a shot.The story opens with the following lines A small vagrant breeze came from nowhere and barely flicked the feather tips as the arrow sped on its way It shivered in its flight, and fell, a little off course just enough that the arrow missed the slender tree it was aimed at, and struck tiredly and low into the bole of another tree, twenty paces beyond the mark Robin sighed and dropped his bow.Robin is on his way to Nottingham Fair to meet his childhood friends Marian and Much and have a bit of well earned frivolity As an apprentice forester in the King s Forest, Robin barely scrapes by and his days off are few and far between Unfortunately, while on his way he is ambushed by a few of the Chief Forester s men who have had it in for Robin for years No one issurprised than Robin when he wins the resulting archery contest and the skirmish ends in an attempt on his life and Robin s arrow buried in his attacker s chest From this point on Robin is a wanted man His friends convince him to go into hiding while they work up a plan to keep their friend alive and prevent the Norman overlords from raining down punishments on all the Saxons heads as a result of Robin s crime Against his better judgement, Robin goes along with Much and Marian s plan and, in the process, he becomes a hero albeit a reluctant one.There is so much good in this book and it all centers around the characters Either you will fall in love with Robin or you will not And if you love Robin, then you will love all of the characters for they gather around him despite his adamant refusal that he is no hero because they need him Marian and Much, his old friends, see this They understand it and they try to help Robin understand it Their love for him, their need to believe in him, and their willingness to walk away from their homes and their lives to follow him into hiding in Sherwood Forest reflect the desperate nature of the times and the ways in which this good man is able to inspire and take care of other good men and women like him who have been caught in the ever tightening vise of Norman justice I love watching this transformation, this coming together of such a motley band of comrades Every time I read it I savor each one And, as with any McKinley book, if you re a fan of strong female characters who do not do what they are expected to do, then this book is for you Marian is awesome It s Marian who is the excellent shot It s Marian who has the vision and who knows Robin s potential before he does It s Marian who risksthan anyone else to create the legend and keep it alive There is one other standout female character, but I can t tell you anythan that as she is so excellent she must be discovered entirely on her own Along with Deerskin, I think this is the most emotional of McKinley s works because it is as grounded in reality as any retelling I ve read THE OUTLAWS OF SHERWOOD is an emotional, subtly humorous, visceral take on the legend and I cannot recommend it highly enough


  4. Hope Hope says:

    I ve been on a bit of a Robin Hood craze for the past month Having always had a place in my heart for the noble outlaw, my interest in him was rekindled when I stumbled upon the BBC show and fell in love with the story and the characters all over again Thus, when I started nearing the last episodes of the series, I wasn t ready to give it up just yet I got this sort of clingy feeling, like when you were little and you came to the end of a wonderful bedtime story and you just don t want to go I ve been on a bit of a Robin Hood craze for the past month Having always had a place in my heart for the noble outlaw, my interest in him was rekindled when I stumbled upon the BBC show and fell in love with the story and the characters all over again Thus, when I started nearing the last episodes of the series, I wasn t ready to give it up just yet I got this sort of clingy feeling, like when you were little and you came to the end of a wonderful bedtime story and you just don t want to go to sleep And so, I found The Outlaws of Sherwood And it did what I wanted, in prolonging the Robin Hood obsession a bit longer My main complaint about this story was that there was too much Cecily Who is this character and why is she so important and what s so special about her And most of all, why is she even in this story I just found her to be really quite flat, over all, and I d rather have had her screen time replaced with Will, Marian, or Much Because none of those characters got what was due to them Marian got like, one chapter devoted specifically to her Was it even that And I LOVED that chapter Marian s perspective was fantastic I would ve putof her in there, if I d written this But, alas, I did not I kind of liked how Robin wasn t the best archer in the gang But actually one of the worst Probably the worst Not that he s bad, by typical standards, but he s not great And Robin is always great I liked the unremarkable ness of this Robin but I also missed it a little I can t really explain why, but there s something about the Robin Hood who never misses a target and is the best at all the cool stuff that I m just a bit attached to Still, I can t complain He was realistic, and he was still awesome He still had that incredible leadership thing going on, which is the essence of Robin Hood anyways One description in the book which I found most fitting went thusBut there was something the way the man caught the eye for no reason the something Robin hadThere wasn t a lot of dwelling on the romance between Robin and Marian, but the little glimpses of it were absolutely adorable and maybeso because of how little there was shown between them They remain at the top or very near the top of my list of favorite fictional couples.There s not really a whole lot to say about the book in particular, butabout the Robin Hood legend in general Because I ve felt like researching, and I ve felt like pondering, and I ve been wondering incessantly what it is that people of all ages find so memorable and so endearing about the tale What it is that I myself find so endearing about the tale My thoughts are scattered, but the conclusion I ve come to is that people need a hero We need to believe that a human being is capable of selflessly giving up his livelihood, whether of his free will or not, to serve and help the less fortunate Robin Hood s actual existence is rather vague I d like to believe that he lived, that he was real, because there s something romantic about it all for me But then, he might have just been an idea A hopeful, idealistic idea that is still alive and well today even though it doesn t take the form of ballads and epic poems Robinhood became a general name for bandits in the 1300s, apparently But it had to start somewhere I don t think we ll ever know for sure whether he was real or not, and I think I like it best that way Because there s this mysterious, magical feel that surrounds the legend Hood has been exaggerated, he might have been a horrible person in reality with nothing noble about him And that s exactly, I think, why I d prefer not to know entirely who he was or was not The ending of this novel, in my opinion, was not satisfactory But it s enjoyable over all, with its fun as well as its serious moments And it s definitely worth a read


  5. Nicole Nicole says:

    I finished this book with a wistful feeling, thinking it was beautiful despite the violence, suffering and loss McKinley captures the essence of the Robin Hood legend with lyrical descriptions and good characterisation The style of the telling is reminiscent of a tale of long ago with a few anachronistic turns of phrase The author even gets away with some drifting points of view because of that old tale quality The story of Robin Hood captured my heart when I was very young, and Robin has l I finished this book with a wistful feeling, thinking it was beautiful despite the violence, suffering and loss McKinley captures the essence of the Robin Hood legend with lyrical descriptions and good characterisation The style of the telling is reminiscent of a tale of long ago with a few anachronistic turns of phrase The author even gets away with some drifting points of view because of that old tale quality The story of Robin Hood captured my heart when I was very young, and Robin has long been one of my favourite characters McKinley talks in her afterword about how the story has changed over time to suit the desires and needs of the audience, and I ve heard this concept applied to other stories While I have seen some versions of the Robin Hood story I likethan others, none fully capture my idea of how it should be But this one is definitely one of the better ones To me, there should be a magical quality to the story without there being any actual magic I guess that s the legendary element, the idea of humans doing extraordinary things McKinley does a good job contrasting the reality of the outlaws lives and deeds with the tales that are being told by the villagers about them I m a conflicted idealist I love seeing characters do heroic things, but I also like seeing characters with realistic flaws or weaknesses In this case, Robin is not the best archer of the group The incident that starts him down the outlaw road involves a stroke of luck both bad and good , and his friends nudge him into his role in Sherwood Robin is not devil may care but instead takes his responsibilities as a leader very seriously His friends Much and Will areimpulsive and sarcastic Little John is complex Friar Tuck has a bit of an edge I liked them all very much This version of the story makes female characterscentral to the action, and I enjoyed seeing that Marian plays a dangerous game living a double life I also liked how she, Robin, Much and Will had grown up together The romantic element between Robin and Marian is subtle and sweet, the tricky business of a friendship turning into romantic love, madecomplicated by Robin s conflicted sense of honour he wants to send her away for her own safety but doesn t want to be without her The outlaws don t come through their adventures unscathed, which is sad but realistic The ending felt a little abrupt, but I suppose it makes sense While I would ve wished in my silly, girlish way for a somewhatfairy tale ending, King Richard s punishment reward for Robin and company is logical andrealistic than many outcomes At least it allows me to imagine that they did eventually all make it back home again intact


  6. Mir Mir says:

    McKinley explores the circumstances that might have led to the formation of an outlaw community in Sherwood and the growth of the Robin Hood legend She contrasts Robin s practical concerns not being arrested and executed, taking care of his followers when the decide to live in the woods with theabstract political ideals of those who want to make him a symbol of Saxon resistance McKinley s Robin is not a great archer or a brilliant strategist, but he is an inspiring leader This was a g McKinley explores the circumstances that might have led to the formation of an outlaw community in Sherwood and the growth of the Robin Hood legend She contrasts Robin s practical concerns not being arrested and executed, taking care of his followers when the decide to live in the woods with theabstract political ideals of those who want to make him a symbol of Saxon resistance McKinley s Robin is not a great archer or a brilliant strategist, but he is an inspiring leader This was a great idea, but there were some serious weaknesses in the execution First, the political discussions I m sorry, I just don t believe medieval peasants talked like this, especially when they had accidentally killed someone hours before and were urgently trying to escape Much, especially, soundslike someone giving responses on a political talk show than someone talking about real life with friends The second problem and this won t surprise prior readers of McKinley cough Spindle s End cough was point of view For the first two thirds of the book, the pov is Robin s Then suddenly we have a brief shift to Marian at her father s castle Then in the last few chapters we are seeing from the point of view of Cecily, Will Scarlet s little sister.And that s third Cecily She was fine as a character, but I didn t see any reason to make up an additional character when there were so many already to choose from that I could hardly keep them straight If McKinley had wanted to add a character to to serve as narrator throughout the story, that would have made sense, but why invent one who isn t really important until fairly late in the book If the author wantedfemale perspective she could have used Marian, who really doesn t get as much page time as the character seems to deserve And Cecily s romance was weak you know, authors, it is okay to have a female character who doesn t fall in love with anyone Really it is.Lastly, I did not find the ending very satisfactory I don t think there is a good way to end Robin Hood That s why the tales are so episodic and their timeline so unclear Robin Hood s story has a vague beginning and an even fuzzier termination the important part is the adventures in the wood which is as much the Forest Eternal as Sherwood , the series of jokes, tricks, and thefts against oppressive enemies, rescuing comrades from danger Is there really a believable happy ending for a bunch of outlaws living in the wild Not really McKinley wants the story to be short and delineated a couple years in Sherwood, a couple minor victories against the Sheriff, a major battle, The End And that s not the right feel for a story with an epic cycle I realize that is McKinley s point Yeah, the outlaws probably would have been lucky to make it two years before getting caught It just was kind of a let down.If you re a McKinley completist or fan of Robin Hood adaptations by all means pick this up It was not unenjoyable, the flaws were just a bit too glaring for me to love it


  7. Suzanne Suzanne says:

    A nice telling of Robin Hood that sticks pretty close to the classic version However, Marian getsof a role, and she is a great character


  8. colleen the convivial curmudgeon colleen the convivial curmudgeon says:

    1.5McKinley introduces us to a Robin who is a young man unspecified, but I m thinking 17ish who becomes a reluctant outlaw after he accidentally kills someone in self defense He is basically prodded into becoming the leader of a band of people by his two best friends, Marian and Much And he s not a great archer He s actually the worst archer of the lot though that doesn t stop him from introducing the longbow to the people of SherwoodRobin is not the hero of legend He s mostly a wor 1.5McKinley introduces us to a Robin who is a young man unspecified, but I m thinking 17ish who becomes a reluctant outlaw after he accidentally kills someone in self defense He is basically prodded into becoming the leader of a band of people by his two best friends, Marian and Much And he s not a great archer He s actually the worst archer of the lot though that doesn t stop him from introducing the longbow to the people of SherwoodRobin is not the hero of legend He s mostly a worry wart and rather boring.But this story still fits in the major moments of the legends, but Marian takes the place of the great archer of the group Which is cool, in a way, but Robin was just so boring.But, honestly, most of this story was boring I had said to a group that I m in that this was the most boring Robin Hood story I ve ever read but then I was reminded of Hood by Stephen R Lawhead, and at least I managed to finish this book, which isthan I could say for Hood Several of the reviews mention that it picks up after the archery contest, which is true But this takes place, like, 70% into the story which is far too long waiting for something interesting to happen in a freaking Robin Hood story.Since most of the story is from the perspective of the outlaws, switching a bit through Robin, Marian, Little John and Cecil, we don t really see much about what happens outside their borders, except in snippets we get told.And that s a big part of the problem with the writing of this story We re constantly told things instead of shown them It s like Robin Co spent a mild winter, where this one thing happened that wasn t that big of a deal, and then it was spring We don t get much tension in the build up between Robin and the Sheriff And Guy sort of enters, becomes interesting for awhile, and then leaves again.And then that ending After slowing down again after the archery contest things seem to be heading for a big climactic finale only for view spoiler Richard to show up and be like Now stop it, you naughty things hide spoiler And then everyone gets sent view spoiler to the Crusades hide spoiler Seriously, that s how this thing ends.Anyway this is my second McKinley book, and while the first wasenjoyable, it still had issues with telling over showing, and long parts of boredom followed by some interesting stuff so, honestly, I think I m done trying her out as an author


  9. Meg Meg says:

    The first half of this book is a weak 2 stars but it picks up to 4 after that point, so rating it is really confusing One thing s for sure, though Robin Hood is the LEAST interesting character Not to mention the worst archer in the group Which is easily one of my favorite parts about it.To me, the book demonstrates the reality of a legend like Robin Most iconic characters in both history and fiction owe their legendary status to timing, luck, and a bunch of awesome friends.This novel is The first half of this book is a weak 2 stars but it picks up to 4 after that point, so rating it is really confusing One thing s for sure, though Robin Hood is the LEAST interesting character Not to mention the worst archer in the group Which is easily one of my favorite parts about it.To me, the book demonstrates the reality of a legend like Robin Most iconic characters in both history and fiction owe their legendary status to timing, luck, and a bunch of awesome friends.This novel is obviously written by a woman, because even the truly awesome male characters are saved by women at one point or another Maid Marian is certainly three quarters of the way up the cool o meter but Cecily is tops for me Basically, pick this book up about halfway through right around the archery contest and you ll thank me Up until that point it s mostly the day to day drudgery of trying to live in a forest with Robin generally being a fuddy duddy and worrying over his people like an old woman.And PLEASE if you want to read a Robin McKinley pick up The Blue Sword It s GOLDEN.P.S When did Friar Tuck get so cool FAVORITE QUOTES Let us not gallop to meet future difficulties A walking pace is enough Robin I have often been wrong, and whilst the training of the church has taught me to admit it, somehow I have never learnt not to be wrong in the first place Tuck I knew your father A good man, as many say not all, for if all called him good it would not be the truth Tuck to Robin It was common knowledge when I was a forester that I could hit the broad side of a barn only if it wasn t walking away too quickly Robin It is her misfortune not to be stupid, and so her hatred is difficult for her It twists in her hands and bites her Rita on Beatrix Tales are as much the necessary fabric of our lives as our bodies are Tuck Any lone man who can, with littlethan stubbornness and a few ragged friends, set so much of my aristocracy in a rage, is a man I wish to put to my purposes King Richard


  10. Emily Emily says:

    This retelling of Robin Hood tries to ground itself in the realities of life in early medieval England, which makes this interesting but only semi enjoyable Robin is pessimistic about the bandits chances from the start, and there s the understanding that they can t last forever This gives the book an odd tone It s sometimes lighthearted and humorous, poking fun at theridiculous elements of the legend, but then will take a sharp turn into darker sections where everyone is cold and hungr This retelling of Robin Hood tries to ground itself in the realities of life in early medieval England, which makes this interesting but only semi enjoyable Robin is pessimistic about the bandits chances from the start, and there s the understanding that they can t last forever This gives the book an odd tone It s sometimes lighthearted and humorous, poking fun at theridiculous elements of the legend, but then will take a sharp turn into darker sections where everyone is cold and hungry in the woods, unsure of their fate And it has the most ridiculous ending I ve ever read view spoiler I suppose it s realistic that the bandits couldn t expect a full pardon, but sending them all to fight on Crusade What is that hide spoiler What I was most struck by on this reread is how uneven Robin is as a character I really liked how McKinley turned some of the most routine pieces of the tale on their head view spoiler I loved that Marian was the good archer, and that Robin couldn t hit anything at ten paces hide spoiler , but she also keeps some of the elements that don t line up with her interpretation I never bought Robin as an inspiring leader The best characters in the book are in the supporting cast, especially Little John and Cecily This is interesting as an addition to the Robin Hood canon, but isn t my favorite rendition


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10 thoughts on “The Outlaws of Sherwood

  1. Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ says:

    3.5 stars Full review, first posted on Fantasy Literature I ve owned a paperback copy of The Outlaws of Sherwood, a retelling of the Robin Hood folktale, for ages, dating back to the days when I was auto buying everything Robin McKinley wrote It s a very different type of book for her a straightforward historical novel no fantasy elements at all telling how Robin came to be the leader of a band of outlaws in Sherwood Forest, and how several of the key members of his group came to join him 3.5 stars Full review, first posted on Fantasy Literature I ve owned a paperback copy of The Outlaws of Sherwood, a retelling of the Robin Hood folktale, for ages, dating back to the days when I was auto buying everything Robin McKinley wrote It s a very different type of book for her a straightforward historical novel no fantasy elements at all telling how Robin came to be the leader of a band of outlaws in Sherwood Forest, and how several of the key members of his group came to join him The focus here is on the different personalities in the group and how they interact with each other.Robin has led a downtrodden life since his father, a fargifted archer than Robin himself, died under rather suspicious circumstances His boss, the Chief Forester, hates him as the son of the man who married the woman the Chief Forester wanted for himself, and his cronies have been bullying Robin In their attempt to take Robin down, he strikes back with an arrow that kills one of the men Robin was aiming at the man s leg his lack of archery skill backfires on him in a deadly way here, though it may have saved his life Robin plans to run away, but Marian and Much, the miller s son, find him and eventually convince a deeply reluctant Robin that forming a band of free men in Sherwood Forest is a better idea He ll be a symbol of Saxon freedom against the Norman oppressors Yay says Robin Robin s group of outlaws gradually grows, with names both familiar like Little John, Will Scarlet and Alan a dale and unfamiliar including several women who join their group Marian remains in her father s castle but uses her position to secretly supply the band with food and other necessities and spy for them Robin decides to learn how to use his father s longbow an unusual type of bow at this time in history and trains others in his band to make and use them as well, giving them an advantage over the sheriff s men.Interestingly, Robin himself isof a beta hero in this story as far from the Errol Flynn mold as can be imagined and initially he sdriven by events that happen to him than affirmatively taking action himself As mentioned, he s not much of an archer Marian is the one with the real archery skills This makes for an interesting twist on the famous archery contest story.Robin McKinley has a gift for creating well rounded characters with realistic problems and flaws, and an engaging writing style with a dry wit that periodically surfaces Like the original Robin Hood tales, The Outlaws of Sherwood is an episodic type of novel, with a series of adventures and conflicts, and several twists on the original legends It s mostly a pleasant and enjoyable read, but there s an extremely violent and bloody battle toward the end that is rather harrowing.The ending is odd and a little unsatisfying, and it s not the most memorable of McKinley s novels But when I picked it up again for the first time in a couple of decades to refamiliarize myself with it before writing this review, it was difficult not to get lost in the pages of this book If you re interested in the Robin Hood legend, The Outlaws of Sherwood is worth checking out

  2. Anne Anne says:

    Full disclosure I like this book a lot, and I think its best pointsthan outweigh its flaws.To those disappointed by Robin Hood s sidelining, I want to point out that McKinley s title The Outlaws of Sherwood should warn you what she s up to Robin Hood himself is not her main focus, though he is the key and the center of the plot, and the nucleus of all the relationships of the outlaw band Traditional interpretations of heroism and heroes don t interest her, and mythic grandeur only whe Full disclosure I like this book a lot, and I think its best pointsthan outweigh its flaws.To those disappointed by Robin Hood s sidelining, I want to point out that McKinley s title The Outlaws of Sherwood should warn you what she s up to Robin Hood himself is not her main focus, though he is the key and the center of the plot, and the nucleus of all the relationships of the outlaw band Traditional interpretations of heroism and heroes don t interest her, and mythic grandeur only when contrasted with reality otherwise, why bother to reimagine folk or fairy tales at all they re grand enough in original form Myth making, in McKinley s view, is a vital part of human nature Fleshing out myth with realistic characterization is what makes her stories vibrant and relatable, and all it takes is about the second page or so Robin did not hate the fact that he was a second rate archer for Robin Hood to snap from godlike Mary Sue to complex, layered, interesting person She s explored this tension before and will again the idealization of storybook heroes contrasted with what would be the gritty reality of practical deed doing The Hero and the Crown showed us dragon killing as grim, thankless vermin disposal, a clear inversion of the most typically heroic deed in Western myth in The Blue Sword, Harry is consciously molded into a hero as a symbol she feels she can t live up to All of McKinley s heroes are reluctant, uncertain, forced to step up to the plate by circumstance and character rather than high minded inclination they perform heroic deeds because there is no other option, not because they re bold, noble, pure, or powerful Like Ursula LeGuin s Sparrowhawk, they spend their lives learning to decide to do what they must do.She s never before been so explicit about what she s doing, either There s practically not a character in the book who doesn t overtly refer to the act of myth creation and its contrast with the facts of their narrative Friar Tuck tells us tales are as much the necessary fabric of our lives as our bodies are Marian consciously constructs a legend of superhuman archer Robin Hood the common folk of Nottingham have their own tales and stories of a fairy Old One Robin Hood, savior of the Saxons the outlaws themselves add some gloss to their versions when drinking with town girlfriends and robbed nobles exaggerate the shocking deeds of the outlaws, or are implied to be doing so Finally, in the afterword, if you somehow missed it, she lays it out in her own voice and tells us how and why she manipulated the Robin Hood legend the way she did This is a story about stories, a story about the impact of stories The next time you read it, dig for quotes about stories, tales, myths, and you ll find them everywhere McKinley s skill lies in burying this theme in a great story that stays interesting, in part because the third person narrative POV jumps around and you don t spend too much time in any one character s head Plot and character wise, she fleshes out most generally agreed upon elements of the Robin Hood myth longbow archery, Sherwood Forest, robbing the rich to give to the poor, the quarterstaff meeting with Little John, the ragtag fugitives motley characters seriously, didn t we all wonder what a minstrel was doing in a forest all are given plausibility, grounding, wit, motivation, and real character I suspect that a lot of us double X chromosome folks are drawn to this book because she added some women to the traditional Robin Hood sausagefest, and realistic women at that It s difficult to tell how anachronistic they might be, since there aren t a lot of records of women s inner monologues in the 12th century, but at least they aren t glaringly modern Anne Perry, your Charlotte Pitt is a huge offender

  3. Angie Angie says:

    I have a thing for Robin Hood Specifically Robin Hood retellings I love Robin, Marian, Little John, Will Scarlet, Much the Miller, Alan a Dale, and the whole merry crew I read Ivanhoe cover to cover just for Robin Hood s periodic appearances And when I went on study abroad to England, I dragged my best friend all the way to Nottingham and Sherwood Forest as well so I could walk around in the woods and soak it all up It s still one of the happiest, most golden days I can recall, that one My I have a thing for Robin Hood Specifically Robin Hood retellings I love Robin, Marian, Little John, Will Scarlet, Much the Miller, Alan a Dale, and the whole merry crew I read Ivanhoe cover to cover just for Robin Hood s periodic appearances And when I went on study abroad to England, I dragged my best friend all the way to Nottingham and Sherwood Forest as well so I could walk around in the woods and soak it all up It s still one of the happiest, most golden days I can recall, that one My first encounter with the tale itself was no doubt the Disney animated version which I still love watching with my son , but I m pretty sure the first actual novelization I read was Robin McKinley s THE OUTLAWS OF SHERWOOD And it remains my very favorite to this day Admittedly, I seem to possess the McKinley gene I love her writing I love the unexpected, twisty paths she takes, the obstinate characters, and the wry humor True to form, her Robin is not the typical Robin of legend If you cherish the strapping, dashing, swashbuckling hero a la Errol Flynn, then this version is probably not for you But if you like an unusual, but beautifully wrought, take on a classic then you really ought to give this one a shot.The story opens with the following lines A small vagrant breeze came from nowhere and barely flicked the feather tips as the arrow sped on its way It shivered in its flight, and fell, a little off course just enough that the arrow missed the slender tree it was aimed at, and struck tiredly and low into the bole of another tree, twenty paces beyond the mark Robin sighed and dropped his bow.Robin is on his way to Nottingham Fair to meet his childhood friends Marian and Much and have a bit of well earned frivolity As an apprentice forester in the King s Forest, Robin barely scrapes by and his days off are few and far between Unfortunately, while on his way he is ambushed by a few of the Chief Forester s men who have had it in for Robin for years No one issurprised than Robin when he wins the resulting archery contest and the skirmish ends in an attempt on his life and Robin s arrow buried in his attacker s chest From this point on Robin is a wanted man His friends convince him to go into hiding while they work up a plan to keep their friend alive and prevent the Norman overlords from raining down punishments on all the Saxons heads as a result of Robin s crime Against his better judgement, Robin goes along with Much and Marian s plan and, in the process, he becomes a hero albeit a reluctant one.There is so much good in this book and it all centers around the characters Either you will fall in love with Robin or you will not And if you love Robin, then you will love all of the characters for they gather around him despite his adamant refusal that he is no hero because they need him Marian and Much, his old friends, see this They understand it and they try to help Robin understand it Their love for him, their need to believe in him, and their willingness to walk away from their homes and their lives to follow him into hiding in Sherwood Forest reflect the desperate nature of the times and the ways in which this good man is able to inspire and take care of other good men and women like him who have been caught in the ever tightening vise of Norman justice I love watching this transformation, this coming together of such a motley band of comrades Every time I read it I savor each one And, as with any McKinley book, if you re a fan of strong female characters who do not do what they are expected to do, then this book is for you Marian is awesome It s Marian who is the excellent shot It s Marian who has the vision and who knows Robin s potential before he does It s Marian who risksthan anyone else to create the legend and keep it alive There is one other standout female character, but I can t tell you anythan that as she is so excellent she must be discovered entirely on her own Along with Deerskin, I think this is the most emotional of McKinley s works because it is as grounded in reality as any retelling I ve read THE OUTLAWS OF SHERWOOD is an emotional, subtly humorous, visceral take on the legend and I cannot recommend it highly enough

  4. Hope Hope says:

    I ve been on a bit of a Robin Hood craze for the past month Having always had a place in my heart for the noble outlaw, my interest in him was rekindled when I stumbled upon the BBC show and fell in love with the story and the characters all over again Thus, when I started nearing the last episodes of the series, I wasn t ready to give it up just yet I got this sort of clingy feeling, like when you were little and you came to the end of a wonderful bedtime story and you just don t want to go I ve been on a bit of a Robin Hood craze for the past month Having always had a place in my heart for the noble outlaw, my interest in him was rekindled when I stumbled upon the BBC show and fell in love with the story and the characters all over again Thus, when I started nearing the last episodes of the series, I wasn t ready to give it up just yet I got this sort of clingy feeling, like when you were little and you came to the end of a wonderful bedtime story and you just don t want to go to sleep And so, I found The Outlaws of Sherwood And it did what I wanted, in prolonging the Robin Hood obsession a bit longer My main complaint about this story was that there was too much Cecily Who is this character and why is she so important and what s so special about her And most of all, why is she even in this story I just found her to be really quite flat, over all, and I d rather have had her screen time replaced with Will, Marian, or Much Because none of those characters got what was due to them Marian got like, one chapter devoted specifically to her Was it even that And I LOVED that chapter Marian s perspective was fantastic I would ve putof her in there, if I d written this But, alas, I did not I kind of liked how Robin wasn t the best archer in the gang But actually one of the worst Probably the worst Not that he s bad, by typical standards, but he s not great And Robin is always great I liked the unremarkable ness of this Robin but I also missed it a little I can t really explain why, but there s something about the Robin Hood who never misses a target and is the best at all the cool stuff that I m just a bit attached to Still, I can t complain He was realistic, and he was still awesome He still had that incredible leadership thing going on, which is the essence of Robin Hood anyways One description in the book which I found most fitting went thusBut there was something the way the man caught the eye for no reason the something Robin hadThere wasn t a lot of dwelling on the romance between Robin and Marian, but the little glimpses of it were absolutely adorable and maybeso because of how little there was shown between them They remain at the top or very near the top of my list of favorite fictional couples.There s not really a whole lot to say about the book in particular, butabout the Robin Hood legend in general Because I ve felt like researching, and I ve felt like pondering, and I ve been wondering incessantly what it is that people of all ages find so memorable and so endearing about the tale What it is that I myself find so endearing about the tale My thoughts are scattered, but the conclusion I ve come to is that people need a hero We need to believe that a human being is capable of selflessly giving up his livelihood, whether of his free will or not, to serve and help the less fortunate Robin Hood s actual existence is rather vague I d like to believe that he lived, that he was real, because there s something romantic about it all for me But then, he might have just been an idea A hopeful, idealistic idea that is still alive and well today even though it doesn t take the form of ballads and epic poems Robinhood became a general name for bandits in the 1300s, apparently But it had to start somewhere I don t think we ll ever know for sure whether he was real or not, and I think I like it best that way Because there s this mysterious, magical feel that surrounds the legend Hood has been exaggerated, he might have been a horrible person in reality with nothing noble about him And that s exactly, I think, why I d prefer not to know entirely who he was or was not The ending of this novel, in my opinion, was not satisfactory But it s enjoyable over all, with its fun as well as its serious moments And it s definitely worth a read

  5. Nicole Nicole says:

    I finished this book with a wistful feeling, thinking it was beautiful despite the violence, suffering and loss McKinley captures the essence of the Robin Hood legend with lyrical descriptions and good characterisation The style of the telling is reminiscent of a tale of long ago with a few anachronistic turns of phrase The author even gets away with some drifting points of view because of that old tale quality The story of Robin Hood captured my heart when I was very young, and Robin has l I finished this book with a wistful feeling, thinking it was beautiful despite the violence, suffering and loss McKinley captures the essence of the Robin Hood legend with lyrical descriptions and good characterisation The style of the telling is reminiscent of a tale of long ago with a few anachronistic turns of phrase The author even gets away with some drifting points of view because of that old tale quality The story of Robin Hood captured my heart when I was very young, and Robin has long been one of my favourite characters McKinley talks in her afterword about how the story has changed over time to suit the desires and needs of the audience, and I ve heard this concept applied to other stories While I have seen some versions of the Robin Hood story I likethan others, none fully capture my idea of how it should be But this one is definitely one of the better ones To me, there should be a magical quality to the story without there being any actual magic I guess that s the legendary element, the idea of humans doing extraordinary things McKinley does a good job contrasting the reality of the outlaws lives and deeds with the tales that are being told by the villagers about them I m a conflicted idealist I love seeing characters do heroic things, but I also like seeing characters with realistic flaws or weaknesses In this case, Robin is not the best archer of the group The incident that starts him down the outlaw road involves a stroke of luck both bad and good , and his friends nudge him into his role in Sherwood Robin is not devil may care but instead takes his responsibilities as a leader very seriously His friends Much and Will areimpulsive and sarcastic Little John is complex Friar Tuck has a bit of an edge I liked them all very much This version of the story makes female characterscentral to the action, and I enjoyed seeing that Marian plays a dangerous game living a double life I also liked how she, Robin, Much and Will had grown up together The romantic element between Robin and Marian is subtle and sweet, the tricky business of a friendship turning into romantic love, madecomplicated by Robin s conflicted sense of honour he wants to send her away for her own safety but doesn t want to be without her The outlaws don t come through their adventures unscathed, which is sad but realistic The ending felt a little abrupt, but I suppose it makes sense While I would ve wished in my silly, girlish way for a somewhatfairy tale ending, King Richard s punishment reward for Robin and company is logical andrealistic than many outcomes At least it allows me to imagine that they did eventually all make it back home again intact

  6. Mir Mir says:

    McKinley explores the circumstances that might have led to the formation of an outlaw community in Sherwood and the growth of the Robin Hood legend She contrasts Robin s practical concerns not being arrested and executed, taking care of his followers when the decide to live in the woods with theabstract political ideals of those who want to make him a symbol of Saxon resistance McKinley s Robin is not a great archer or a brilliant strategist, but he is an inspiring leader This was a g McKinley explores the circumstances that might have led to the formation of an outlaw community in Sherwood and the growth of the Robin Hood legend She contrasts Robin s practical concerns not being arrested and executed, taking care of his followers when the decide to live in the woods with theabstract political ideals of those who want to make him a symbol of Saxon resistance McKinley s Robin is not a great archer or a brilliant strategist, but he is an inspiring leader This was a great idea, but there were some serious weaknesses in the execution First, the political discussions I m sorry, I just don t believe medieval peasants talked like this, especially when they had accidentally killed someone hours before and were urgently trying to escape Much, especially, soundslike someone giving responses on a political talk show than someone talking about real life with friends The second problem and this won t surprise prior readers of McKinley cough Spindle s End cough was point of view For the first two thirds of the book, the pov is Robin s Then suddenly we have a brief shift to Marian at her father s castle Then in the last few chapters we are seeing from the point of view of Cecily, Will Scarlet s little sister.And that s third Cecily She was fine as a character, but I didn t see any reason to make up an additional character when there were so many already to choose from that I could hardly keep them straight If McKinley had wanted to add a character to to serve as narrator throughout the story, that would have made sense, but why invent one who isn t really important until fairly late in the book If the author wantedfemale perspective she could have used Marian, who really doesn t get as much page time as the character seems to deserve And Cecily s romance was weak you know, authors, it is okay to have a female character who doesn t fall in love with anyone Really it is.Lastly, I did not find the ending very satisfactory I don t think there is a good way to end Robin Hood That s why the tales are so episodic and their timeline so unclear Robin Hood s story has a vague beginning and an even fuzzier termination the important part is the adventures in the wood which is as much the Forest Eternal as Sherwood , the series of jokes, tricks, and thefts against oppressive enemies, rescuing comrades from danger Is there really a believable happy ending for a bunch of outlaws living in the wild Not really McKinley wants the story to be short and delineated a couple years in Sherwood, a couple minor victories against the Sheriff, a major battle, The End And that s not the right feel for a story with an epic cycle I realize that is McKinley s point Yeah, the outlaws probably would have been lucky to make it two years before getting caught It just was kind of a let down.If you re a McKinley completist or fan of Robin Hood adaptations by all means pick this up It was not unenjoyable, the flaws were just a bit too glaring for me to love it

  7. Suzanne Suzanne says:

    A nice telling of Robin Hood that sticks pretty close to the classic version However, Marian getsof a role, and she is a great character

  8. colleen the convivial curmudgeon colleen the convivial curmudgeon says:

    1.5McKinley introduces us to a Robin who is a young man unspecified, but I m thinking 17ish who becomes a reluctant outlaw after he accidentally kills someone in self defense He is basically prodded into becoming the leader of a band of people by his two best friends, Marian and Much And he s not a great archer He s actually the worst archer of the lot though that doesn t stop him from introducing the longbow to the people of SherwoodRobin is not the hero of legend He s mostly a wor 1.5McKinley introduces us to a Robin who is a young man unspecified, but I m thinking 17ish who becomes a reluctant outlaw after he accidentally kills someone in self defense He is basically prodded into becoming the leader of a band of people by his two best friends, Marian and Much And he s not a great archer He s actually the worst archer of the lot though that doesn t stop him from introducing the longbow to the people of SherwoodRobin is not the hero of legend He s mostly a worry wart and rather boring.But this story still fits in the major moments of the legends, but Marian takes the place of the great archer of the group Which is cool, in a way, but Robin was just so boring.But, honestly, most of this story was boring I had said to a group that I m in that this was the most boring Robin Hood story I ve ever read but then I was reminded of Hood by Stephen R Lawhead, and at least I managed to finish this book, which isthan I could say for Hood Several of the reviews mention that it picks up after the archery contest, which is true But this takes place, like, 70% into the story which is far too long waiting for something interesting to happen in a freaking Robin Hood story.Since most of the story is from the perspective of the outlaws, switching a bit through Robin, Marian, Little John and Cecil, we don t really see much about what happens outside their borders, except in snippets we get told.And that s a big part of the problem with the writing of this story We re constantly told things instead of shown them It s like Robin Co spent a mild winter, where this one thing happened that wasn t that big of a deal, and then it was spring We don t get much tension in the build up between Robin and the Sheriff And Guy sort of enters, becomes interesting for awhile, and then leaves again.And then that ending After slowing down again after the archery contest things seem to be heading for a big climactic finale only for view spoiler Richard to show up and be like Now stop it, you naughty things hide spoiler And then everyone gets sent view spoiler to the Crusades hide spoiler Seriously, that s how this thing ends.Anyway this is my second McKinley book, and while the first wasenjoyable, it still had issues with telling over showing, and long parts of boredom followed by some interesting stuff so, honestly, I think I m done trying her out as an author

  9. Meg Meg says:

    The first half of this book is a weak 2 stars but it picks up to 4 after that point, so rating it is really confusing One thing s for sure, though Robin Hood is the LEAST interesting character Not to mention the worst archer in the group Which is easily one of my favorite parts about it.To me, the book demonstrates the reality of a legend like Robin Most iconic characters in both history and fiction owe their legendary status to timing, luck, and a bunch of awesome friends.This novel is The first half of this book is a weak 2 stars but it picks up to 4 after that point, so rating it is really confusing One thing s for sure, though Robin Hood is the LEAST interesting character Not to mention the worst archer in the group Which is easily one of my favorite parts about it.To me, the book demonstrates the reality of a legend like Robin Most iconic characters in both history and fiction owe their legendary status to timing, luck, and a bunch of awesome friends.This novel is obviously written by a woman, because even the truly awesome male characters are saved by women at one point or another Maid Marian is certainly three quarters of the way up the cool o meter but Cecily is tops for me Basically, pick this book up about halfway through right around the archery contest and you ll thank me Up until that point it s mostly the day to day drudgery of trying to live in a forest with Robin generally being a fuddy duddy and worrying over his people like an old woman.And PLEASE if you want to read a Robin McKinley pick up The Blue Sword It s GOLDEN.P.S When did Friar Tuck get so cool FAVORITE QUOTES Let us not gallop to meet future difficulties A walking pace is enough Robin I have often been wrong, and whilst the training of the church has taught me to admit it, somehow I have never learnt not to be wrong in the first place Tuck I knew your father A good man, as many say not all, for if all called him good it would not be the truth Tuck to Robin It was common knowledge when I was a forester that I could hit the broad side of a barn only if it wasn t walking away too quickly Robin It is her misfortune not to be stupid, and so her hatred is difficult for her It twists in her hands and bites her Rita on Beatrix Tales are as much the necessary fabric of our lives as our bodies are Tuck Any lone man who can, with littlethan stubbornness and a few ragged friends, set so much of my aristocracy in a rage, is a man I wish to put to my purposes King Richard

  10. Emily Emily says:

    This retelling of Robin Hood tries to ground itself in the realities of life in early medieval England, which makes this interesting but only semi enjoyable Robin is pessimistic about the bandits chances from the start, and there s the understanding that they can t last forever This gives the book an odd tone It s sometimes lighthearted and humorous, poking fun at theridiculous elements of the legend, but then will take a sharp turn into darker sections where everyone is cold and hungr This retelling of Robin Hood tries to ground itself in the realities of life in early medieval England, which makes this interesting but only semi enjoyable Robin is pessimistic about the bandits chances from the start, and there s the understanding that they can t last forever This gives the book an odd tone It s sometimes lighthearted and humorous, poking fun at theridiculous elements of the legend, but then will take a sharp turn into darker sections where everyone is cold and hungry in the woods, unsure of their fate And it has the most ridiculous ending I ve ever read view spoiler I suppose it s realistic that the bandits couldn t expect a full pardon, but sending them all to fight on Crusade What is that hide spoiler What I was most struck by on this reread is how uneven Robin is as a character I really liked how McKinley turned some of the most routine pieces of the tale on their head view spoiler I loved that Marian was the good archer, and that Robin couldn t hit anything at ten paces hide spoiler , but she also keeps some of the elements that don t line up with her interpretation I never bought Robin as an inspiring leader The best characters in the book are in the supporting cast, especially Little John and Cecily This is interesting as an addition to the Robin Hood canon, but isn t my favorite rendition

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