The Outlaws of Sherwood

Author: Robin McKinley


ISBN: 9780441013258
Pages: 368
Description: $1.99 Kindle sale, Feb. 1, 2019. 3.5 stars. 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.

Interestingly, Robin himself is kind of a beta hero in this story, and initially he’s more driven by events that happen to him than affirmatively taking action himself. He’s also 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.

It’s mostly a pleasant and enjoyable read, but there’s an extremely violent and bloody battle toward the end that I found rather harrowing. If you’re interested in the Robin Hood legend this book is worth checking out, especially on sale. Otherwise I didn’t find it all that memorable, despite reading it two or three times over the years, and I’m normally a big fan of McKinley’s earlier fiction.
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