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Robyn Loxley has to learn to take care of herself the night her parents disappear. Her city has been overthrown by the governor and his supporters. After escaping with her life, she throws in her lot with a rag-tag group of misfits, each with a talent for trouble. Robyn and her new found friends make names for themselves as wanted outlaws by doing what they can for those being crushed by the new regime. As Robyn continues to piece together the clues surrounding her parents disappearance, she realizes her destiny is tied to the future of the city.
Shadows of Sherwood by Kekla Magoon is fun, fast-paced adventure story. I really like the idea of going back to the beginning with a younger (and female) Robyn than I've ever seen. It's a great way to to introduce middle grade readers to the legend, especially if they aren't already familiar with it. Pairing those elements up with a futuristic setting is also a pretty cool new direction. Robyn, the most well-developed character in the story, is brave and strong, but also childish and selfish at times (then again she is twelve this time around). I also liked being able to see which classic characters are featured in this new interpretation: Tucker, Friar Tuck; Merryan, Maid Marian; and Scarlet, (female) Will Scarlet. While the story is about Robyn, I felt like the supporting cast should have been fleshed out a little more than they were.
There were two other things that could have made this story better: archery and the exclusion of the moon lore. Whenever I think of Robin Hood in any incarnation, I always think of the iconic bow and arrows, so I was stunned to see that there isn't a whisper of that (aside from the sketch she uses as her calling card). Then again, maybe the author thought that would be too odd for the futuristic setting. Then again, we could have have a scene somewhere along these lines, minus the robots:
On that topic, the moon lore element of the story just didn't seem to fit together with everything else. For me, it didn't mesh with the futuristic sci-fi elements. In a way, I am glad that the author took the destiny aspect the way she did by not making Robyn the only Chosen One in that the prophecy goes around and comes around through history.
Overall, I enjoyed this new interpretation of the legendary Robin Hood. It left me with plenty of reasons to return for the yet-to-be named sequel.
I read this novel from September 16 - 22, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.