Review by: Ming
Growing up, I went to a small school that preached against the use of screens until around age eleven or twelve. This, combined with a childhood fear of movies pressed into me by one horrifying screening of Peter Pan at a camp in Switzerland, joined to make me averse to movies, something I’m still working my way out of.
However, this lack of movies led to me reading incredible quantities of books of all kinds. My favorite book as a child was a copy of Robin Hood by J. Walker McSpadden. I loved the stories of the band of colorful characters adventuring in Sherwood Forest, robbing the Sheriff of Nottingham and the assorted clergymen who came along the road. The stories followed a predictable plot structure of: Merry Man or someone close to them gets captured, the Merry Men plan an absolutely ludicrous rescue which always goes off without a hitch, and then the band steals from whoever captured the person originally.
Now, on to Hood. Hood is a story written in Sherwood Forest a generation after the original exploits of Rob of Locksley. Isabelle, a girl living at a priory in Kirklees, is sent to warn Robin of the return of a mysterious figure called “the Wolf.” Soon, she discovers that she is the daughter of Robin Hood and Marian, and thus, a very important player in the game of kings and outlaws. From this epiphany, the story moves very quickly in the style of older tales of the king of the forest, and ends in the same way as many of the legends do.
I found the tale very nostalgic—an experience that will probably not be shared by everyone. Isabelle felt like the character I daydreamed of playing in the wild woods of Sherwood as a child. Robin Hood has persisted for thousands of years, and even though the man in the stories may be dead—and may never have existed in the first place—his legends will live on past any of our lives. Stories have been written and rewritten about him for as long as there have been Robin Hood stories, but it takes a masterful hand to write one that feels like those stories and also feels original. (Hood Art by Ming below)
Isabelle felt like the character I daydreamed of playing in the wild woods of Sherwood as a child.
The one complaint I’d have with the story is that the romance subplot felt both unnecessary and unfulfilling, but it was such a minor detail it’s easily overlooked in the rapid-fire plot of the novel. Overall, I would recommend Hood to people looking for a fast-paced adventure set in Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest.
Waiting for the call of the Outlaw King’s horn,