by Matthew Cody
Kindle Edition – Read October 6, 2013
Expected Release Date: October 8, 2013
Length: 272 pages
Will Scarlet is on the run.
Once the sheltered son of nobility, Will has become an exile. While his father, Lord Shackley, has been on the Crusades with King Richard, a treacherous plot to unseat Richard has swept across England, and Shackley House has fallen.
Will flees the only home he’s ever known into neighboring Sherwood Forest, where he joins the elusive gang of bandits known as the Merry Men. Among them are Gilbert, their cruel leader; a giant named John Little; a drunkard named Rob; and Much, an orphan girl disguised as a bandit boy.
This is the story of how a band of misfit outlaws become heroes of legend – thanks to one brave 13-year-old boy.”
I have very little knowledge of the original story of Robin Hood, though I know it has changed over the years, because (supposedly) his story has been around since the 15th century. This book is actually a retelling of how Robin Hood came into being told through the view of Will Scarlet and Much the Miller’s ‘son’. It is an interesting tale and meant for a middle grade audience. We also see how the Merry Men came to be as the robbers of rich who gave to the poor. The Merry Men of course has Will Scarlet, Much, Little John with a few other characters thrown in but who aren’t of significance. I found the tale really interesting once we got into a nice pacing. I kept trying to figure out how everything would come to be because there are so many characters that are popular to the story. Granted my first ever encounter with Robin Hood was the Disney version where everyone is an animal. Oh the memories. Anyway, it was interesting to see in this version how the gang came to be and how the bad guys came into power. Yes we know how it will turn out, but I think this is a great re-imagining that will intrigue older middle grade kiddos. There even seems to hint at a little romance evolving there at the end.
I can’t say the book held my interest the entire time because there were really slow moments of inner turmoil and the whole Guy of Gisborne thing was a little odd. It was also hard to imagine that this person set on revenge and the death of Guy was only a 13 year old boy who spent his time sneaking and playing. It also made me wonder what happened to his BFF Milo because we kind of start to have an interest in him and then we’re off with the Merry Men. Overall the story is (again) a good introduction to the Robin Hood tale, full of action, adventure, bravery, corruption, and bloody violence.
* I did receive this book for free for an honest review!
“We’ve all got pasts. It’s what you are now that counts. And what you do.”