Minh's Reviews > The Outlaws of Sherwood

The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley
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Jul 08, 10

bookshelves: young-adult
Read in February, 2007

I am a sucker for Robin Hood. Off the top of my head I can remember at least 3 versions of Robin Hood that I've read (not all loved). Robin Hood is the book that I remember the most when I think back to my primary school reading days, and I was super excited (and eventually super disappointed) for the new BBC incarnation of my favourite protagonist. I picked up Outlaws because of a yuletide story that I put to the sidelines, not wanting to spoil myself for yet another version of the Hooded Man.

Without a doubt my sentimental favourite for Robin Hood is the novelisation of the old TV series, Robin of Sherwood. I searched for that ominbus for YEARS. I had a search saved on ebay for it, scoured the 2nd hand search engines, looked in every library! Finally, finally I found it, of all places... In a 2nd hand bookstore at Milson's Point for $5. :D And if I hadn't turned around at the right time I would have missed it. Yes. I do believe it was Fate.

Outlaws of Sherwood! For some reason I have this categorised as a Children's Novel. I'm not particularly sure it is a children's novel but I enjoyed the spin that Robin McKinley put on this incarnation of Robin Hood. For one, he's a crap shot and readily acknowledges that a test to become one of his men, is to be better than the leader with the bow and arrow. The Marion of Outlaws is very similiar to the BBC Marion, stubborn, outspoken, yet still living at home, rebelling quietly under the farce of unassuming daughter. Will Scarlet is actually a nobelman, who takes his name from the scarlet cloths he loves to wear. Much is one of Marion and Robin's childhood friends and Little John is as always, not so little.

All the old favourites come out to play, Guy of Gisborne becomes an assassin! And yes, King Richard the Lion Heart appears. I enjoyed the novel as it portrayed Robin as a normal man, stripping away some of the myth factor that you see in so many other Robin novels. Robin is just a boy really, who somehow ends up being the figurehead of the rebellion, not all powerful by any means, not even a good shot. But a great story.
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