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Jackaroo (Tales of the Kingdom, #1)
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Jackaroo (Tales of the Kingdom #1)

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  4,066 Ratings  ·  252 Reviews
There is much want in the kingdom and the tales of Jackaroo, the masked outlaw who helps the poor in times of trouble, are on everyone's lips. Gwyn, the innkeeper's lively daughter, pays little attention to the tales. But when she is stranded during a snowstorm in a cabin with the lordling Gaderian, and finds a strange garment that resembles the costume Jackaroo is said to ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Simon Pulse (first published January 1st 1985)
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(showing 1-30)
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Nov 02, 2012 Catie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Catie by: Noelle
Shelves: ya, fantasy, read-in-2012
3 1/2 stars

Noelle mailed me the second book in this series last year for my birthday and then challenged me to actually get off my butt and read it this month for She Made Me Do It. And then, she also sent me the description for this book – the first in the series – by email like a juicy little lure. A description which contains mention of a feisty innkeeper’s daughter who’s independent and strong and doesn’t want to get married and who stumbles across a disguise for the legendary Robin Hood typ
Jul 26, 2010 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I vaguely remembering picking this off the YA shelf in the library sometime around eighth grade, but somehow my brain categorized it as "sad" a la Westmark (read around the same time) and I never revisited this until now.

I'm glad I did, because it turns out that Jackaroo is a coming-of-age story. The exciting thing about it, though, is that it's only ultimately one; for most of the novel it reads as a fantasy uniquely marked by a pervasive sense of doom. Where poverty and desperation hem everyon
Becky B
Oct 16, 2012 Becky B rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those who like Robin Hood stories, Historical ficiton lovers, Those who like spunky female leads
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when I picked up this book. Even the reviews I read didn't seem to prepare me, maybe because it is not an easy book to review.
Although the Jackaroo stories in this book definitely mimic Robin Hood tales, this is not a Robin Hood story. More than anything else, this is a coming of age story about Gwyn the Innkeeper's daughter. Gwyn lives in the Kingdom which could be in any European or imaginary area that has mountains, forests, a river and a coast. The feud
Kathy * Bookworm Nation
Jul 21, 2008 Kathy * Bookworm Nation rated it it was ok
Shelves: high-fantasy
As I started reading this I realized I had started it before and never finished. I suppose that is what kept me at it this time. My expectations were a bit too high, I had heard this compared to Robin Hood or even Scarlet Pimpernel, so as I read I was a little disappointed in the story. I think it had a lot of promise, but it was a little lacking for me. Gwyn was a pretty good heroin, and she grows a lot throughout the story. I think Burl (her good friend, and father’s servant) was under used an ...more
Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)
I came across this book in a thrift store and bought it because I enjoyed a few other books by the author. I ended up really loving it and read it several times as a young adult.
Aug 21, 2015 Allison rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I guess so many people have this shelved as a fantasy because of the "alternate history" aspect to the story. We never really know it takes place in OUR past and no real-world names that I know of are given for places. But there isn't any magic or sorcery. The School Library Journal calls this "an intense and elegantly written historical adventure-romance ." There really isn't even much of a romantic aspect to the story unless you count the romantic, swashbuckling legend of the Jackaroo, who is ...more
Dec 15, 2011 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, romance
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I used to love this book as a middle-schooler, when I first found it. It was like Robin Hood meets all the wuxia stories I heard about as I grew up, where girls disguised themselves as guys and explored, and made differences in the world where they could. It was refreshing to read a story like this, in English. ^_^
But then I read the other Kingdom novels. And eventually, a few months ago, I reread Jackaroo. And all of a sudden, though it was still a refreshing scenario, the story, the writing,
Jul 20, 2011 Cherise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011, fantasy
This book started out a little slow, but halfway through things started to get interesting, and by the end I discovered that I had absolutely fallen in love with the book! It was thoughtful, vivid, full of unique and interesting characters, realistic and yet hopeful, portraying the hardships of life without at all diminishing the fantastic moments of adventure. And the ending! It was a legitimate, beautiful happy ending, one that leaves you grinning from ear to ear at the end. I highly recommend ...more
Mar 30, 2011 Aubrey rated it really liked it
I don't know why I just recently discovered Cynthia Voigt. I've been deprived these many years. Her writing is a little bare, but I've discovered that she is saying a lot by saying a little. Her main character is so strong and sure of her capabilities. I hoped that the love story would resolve itself just the way that it did, which made me happy! I was greatly intrigued by her "kingdom." It is a very interesting place to discover and explore.
Sara Diane
Oct 03, 2007 Sara Diane rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
I first read this book in jr. high and loved it. I re-read it every year or two and still find it wonderful every time.

The story of a young woman who decides to make a difference in her community by taking on the persona of a folk hero. That decision changes her future in more ways than she could imagine.

So, so high up on the list of "things I hope do not seem crappy now that I'm an adult."
Yup. Right in the nostalgia.
Feb 20, 2009 Catherine rated it it was amazing
i just bought and reread this book. i so love it!
Mar 12, 2017 Taylor rated it it was amazing
Voigt's Jackaroo and I ran into each other at my local library. It is very rare that I walk in, browse a shelf, pick up a book and love it. Most of the time, I *like* what I find, but not to the extent where I wish I had found it when I was younger, reading it when I filled the age demographic it was written for.


Writing: 4/5
Plot: Early on, 3/5 but by the end 5/5
Characters: 4/5

Jackaroo is not so much a fantasy novel as it is an alternative history-historical-fiction (I think another reviewe
May 14, 2013 Gale rated it liked it

At 16 Gwyn is one determined female protagonist--a brave Innkeeper's Daughter who refuses to watch complacently while the common people--like herself--are bullied and butchered. My major confusion stemmed from the lack of a specific country or time: the novel was set in a nameless land governed by a King, three Earls and their various Lords--a palid prototype of the emerging feudal system. This was a dark and cruel world for most: the Lords kept aloof in their guarded
Aug 01, 2009 Stephanie rated it liked it
I’ve read another one of the books in this series, Elske, a couple times. It wasn’t necessary to read the other three books in the series to understand what was going on since they’re more companion novels than direct sequels, but I figured it was time to give the other three books a try.

One thing Voigt does well with these books is to draw us into the world right away. By the end of the first chapter of Jackaroo, I was fully immersed in the world of the troubled Kingdom, as seen through the eye
Oct 10, 2011 Lysmerry rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
I've wanted to read this book for years. When I was eleven I read the first chapter, and then lost the book when I moved. I searched for it in my new town library and it was nowhere to be found. The name- Jackaroo- was so mythical and enticing. Now, sixteen years later I've finally read it. And sadly, it didn't live up to its promise.
First off, I'll say that the heroine is a great role model. I would encourage children to read this book for that alone. She is disciplined, compassionate, and ma
Jennifer Lavoie
So I found this book completely by accident and I couldn't have been happier. I had just finished a book signing and I was wandering around and saw this lying on a table, and I thought, oh! Cynthia Voigt, I read her before. And then I saw the title and thought, hey... the name Gwyn sounds familiar. And then I see in small print that it was formerly published as Jackaroo and I exploded. I grabbed the book off the table, ran to customer service, and asked if there were reprints for the rest of the ...more
Sarah Ray
Jul 02, 2013 Sarah Ray rated it really liked it
This book was recommended by a friend who is starting a local book club with me. I read it in hardback, unlike most of the books I read lately, on my Kindle.

My impression of it was definitely thrown off by the cover and the name. My edition is the old cover, and I thought it might be a story about a Puritan-like community. I was far from the mark.

It does have a somewhat slow start as it builds the weight of this world, the poverty and despair of the people who so desperately need a flicker of ho
Dec 26, 2015 Ileene rated it it was amazing
Book is relatively PG-13, the 13 because of a few deaths, which are not overtly graphic. There is no sex, and actually very very little romance whatsoever. I find that its a sort of coming of age story. A 16 year old girl at the cusp of womanhood who does not conform to gender roles and wants to decide for herself what path she will take in life.

I get the feelings it's an old time Irish era setting. Before the Renaissance. The peoples ways aren't given background but I can see it's from their c
Jul 06, 2015 Dewlanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who like strong female charachters
For some reason I was not expecting much from this book. I don't really know why, since I've loved pretty much every book from this author I've read… The combination of the Middle-Age style universe, the Robin Hood type of story and the target audience being quite younger than I am... It just didn’t sound like something I’d enjoy.

Well how happy I am that I read it despite my initial doubts. I absolutely loved the book. This is so much more than another simple “steal the rich to feed the poor” ad
Jun 01, 2015 Angie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
Synopsis: "In a fantastical kingdom ravaged by famine and poverty, the prospect of hope lies with a mythical masked hero in this, the first book in the Tales of the Kingdom series from Newbery Medalist Cynthia Voigt.

In a distant time, a kingdom is starving. With winter upon them, there is little hope, except for the legend of Jackaroo: a masked outlaw who comes at night to aid the destitute and helpless. But Gwyn, the innkeeper’s daughter, is too practical for false hopes. She believes Jackaroo
Natalie Joan
Oct 17, 2014 Natalie Joan rated it liked it
One upon a time (grade 7/8 ish) Cynthia Voight was my favourite author. I stumbled across this book a few days ago by complete accident, and absolutely had to read it. Voight writing alternative-history/fantasy? Amazing.
It was an easy and enjoyable read. Not really fantasy, just a Medieval kingdom not necessary based on any fact - but no magic, dragons, or wizards.
I enjoyed reading about Gwyn. She's just the kind of heroine I can get behind. She is independent, intelligent and hardworking. She i
Dec 12, 2013 Lydia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gwyn is questioning her life. As an Innkeeper's Daughter, she's comfortable and pretty well off, especially compared to the people in the village and holdings around her, but she's observant. She sees the hurting of those around her, from the old couple who is robbed and beaten for the goat that keeps them alive, to her sister fiercely holding on to the agony of loosing her first child and Gwyn wonders how she could help them. Thinking of the old stories, of the rougish lord who roomed the lands ...more
Excellent. Gwyn was not particularly unique - a fiery redheaded heroine with a strong sense of justice - but thankfully she was also sensible, and so avoided being annoying. The romance (view spoiler) I saw coming a mile off but it developed naturally and its resolution (view spoiler) made me want to start clapping. It helped that the guy was one of my favorite characters in the book. (view spoiler) ...more
4.5 stars

This book raises some surprisingly relevant philosophical dilemmas that I still struggle with. It explores the power of myth and how tales change as they are told and how certain myths spring up as a counterpoint to an unbearable reality. In times and cultures of great class divides, Robin Hood-like figures pop up, manifestations of the desire for justice and equity. After all, what are the poor and starving to do? Go on a hunger strike before the very people who consider them expendabl
Oct 19, 2009 Rebekah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first of Cynthia Voigt's books I've read outside the Tillerman family. To be honest, I've only read two others of hers but I plan on reading many more. I love her detailed stories. The clearly described, feisty characters. But like Dicey, Gwyn has a quick tongue that she tries, but often fails to keep guarded as she works for the good of her family. At least from these two girls, I get a very plain physical idea. Clearly that is not what matters, it's their spirits.

To make another l
Dec 01, 2009 Kaion rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, teen
The harvest has been spare and still the earls taxes more than ever, leaving the people hungry and victim to lawlessness, and fueling their talk of the legendary bandit and protector of the poor, Jackaroo. As an innkeeper’s daughter, Gwyn notices the burgeoning whispers of his reappearance, but considers them merely beautiful stories. That is until a mysterious pair of Lords come to the inn and draft her to serve them on a mapmaking sojourn North and she is faced with the mask of Jackaroo hersel ...more
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Cynthia Voigt is an American author of books for young adults dealing with various topics such as adventure, mystery, racism and child abuse.

Angus and Sadie: the Sequoyah Book Award (given by readers in Oklahoma), 2008
The Katahdin Award, for lifetime achievement, 2003
The Anne V. Zarrow Award, for lifetime achievement, 2003
The Margaret Edwards Award, for a body of work, 1995
Jackaroo: Ratte
More about Cynthia Voigt...

Other Books in the Series

Tales of the Kingdom (4 books)
  • On Fortune's Wheel (Tales of the Kingdom, #2)
  • The Wings of a Falcon (Tales of the Kingdom, #3)
  • Elske (Tales of the Kingdom, #4)

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“Behind the mask Jackaroo wore, there could be a face of bone, its flesh long since eaten away. Jackaroo could fight as a trained soldier, with swords and shield; he could ride a horse like a Lord; and he had the knowledge of letters which only the Lords held.” 0 likes
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