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The Forest Queen

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  1,176 ratings  ·  287 reviews
When sixteen-year-old Sylvie’s brother takes over management of their family’s vast estates, Sylvie feels powerless to stop his abuse of the local commoners. Her dearest friend asks her to run away to the woods with him, and soon a host of other villagers join them. Together, they form their own community and fight to right the wrongs perpetrated by the king and his noblem ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 7th 2018 by Clarion Books
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Jenny I would say it's for an older teen. It's not super descriptive but a lot of things are alluded to (rape, potential rape, incest, being beaten often, t…moreI would say it's for an older teen. It's not super descriptive but a lot of things are alluded to (rape, potential rape, incest, being beaten often, torture, killing animals to eat, parental death/dementia).(less)
NevaReads It is more accurate to say that there *isn't* a Maid Marian character. The author found that she didn't exist in early versions of Robin Hood, so she …moreIt is more accurate to say that there *isn't* a Maid Marian character. The author found that she didn't exist in early versions of Robin Hood, so she left her out. I don't feel that the atory suffers for it though.

There is a minor character who is bisexual and based on a real historical figure though. I thought that was a nice way to slip an homage to a real person into the story.(less)

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Average rating 3.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,176 ratings  ·  287 reviews

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Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
CW: Suicide, sexual abuse, explicit killing of animals

I had high expectations going into this book as it is a lady Robin Hood retelling, which might be why it was a disappointment. I'm going to organize my thoughts into pros and cons as I'm having trouble eloquently explaining my issues with it. This might be for some readers, but it wasn't for me.

- A slow burn friends-to-lovers romance
- Description of nature
- Seemingly accurate survival skills (I will never eat blackberries again.)
- (Brief
Korrina  (OwlCrate)
I have a hard time forming a strong opinion on this one. It was just okay. Some parts were really interesting and others were not. Didn't love it; didn't hate it. I think I had a lot of really high expectations going into this, and it ended up being very different from what I anticipated. But I definitely think some people will really love it! ...more
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm with all the other readers who say they were immediately on board with this story once they heard the words gender swapped Robin Hood retelling. And I wasn't disappointed. Honestly, I could have read the lush, lyrical descriptions of the forest for days. But what really stands out to me about The Forest Queen - and makes it a particularly important book for this time - is the idea that people (specifically women) can build their own forms of community in the face of repression and exploitati ...more
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. I have to admit I don't know a lot about Robin Hood, as I'm fairly sure I've only seen the Disney version back when I was a kid, but I had a general idea of what the story is about. I think I expected it to be more action-packed than it ended up being.

There were a few things in this book that didn't quite work for me, and I think most of it has to do with the fact that to me, the writing feels young and some of the themes in the book don't really refl
Amber ☾♥
So here's the thing--

I did actually enjoy this story as a whole. It's hard not to feel semi-attached to a retelling of a story and re-imaginings of characters that you hold close to your heart--especially the ones you grew up with.

My issues lie in a few specific place:

1) The writing seemed a little too simply done for me. Yes, I'm fully aware this is a YA novel and I shouldn't be expecting literary genius. However, considering 95% of what I read is YA, I feel like I have a good enough grasp on t
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A gender-swapped retelling of Robin Hood... what more could you want?

This book was fully immersive, and the cinematic descriptions really brought the story to life. I haven't read Mechinna, but didn't feel as if I was missing out on anything, and will now read this too.
The characters were brilliant, there were some I loved, and some I loved to hate, but they all added to the plot.

If you are a fan of fantasy with a twist, this is the book for you! Perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer, Once Upon A T
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Forest Queen is a retelling of Robin Hood in which Lady Silviana of Loughsley assumes the role of Robin Hood. Together with her friend Bird and others, she starts to rebel against her own brother John.
John, who was recently made sheriff by the king is very harsh and cruel to his citizens. He raises the taxes they have to pay both to him, and to the king. If they do not pay or do not pay on time, the citizens will find out exactly how cruel John can be the hard way. Lady Silviana, in the bo
Erin Arkin
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
The Forest Queen by Betsy Cornwell was a book that caught my eye when I was wandering around ALA and when I read the summary, I immediately added it to my to read shelf. I love a good re-telling and it’s the first one I’ve read that is a Robin Hood story.

The Robin Hood in this story happens to be a sixteen-year-old girl named Silvie. When her brother, John, becomes the sheriff of Woodshire, she feels powerless to stop the abuse he heaps on the local commoners. When she finds out that he plans t
Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)
Somehow I missed the fact that this was a gender swap retelling of Robin Hood. I'm always a hit or a miss when it comes to retellings. This one I did find entertaining as a simplistic read for the young adult crowd. I did love the gender swaps too and it seemed almost one for one for each swap (almost).

What I found most interesting is that while there wasn't a ton of layers or depth to the storyline or characters, the story did touch on some deep subjects such as rape, suicide and abortion that
J.A. Ironside
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

3.5 stars rounded up

Gender bent Robin Hood? I was so in and I wasn’t disappointed.


First of all if you’re looking for something with great historical context this probably isn’t for you. Likewise if you want magic and dragons. It’s a fantasy in that it’s a reimagining of several original folktales around the mythic Robin Hood. (I have to admit that my head cannon on Robin Hood always sets it in 12th Century England and having researched t
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I really did like this book! I think its different than others I have read and I kept finding myself wanting more.

The main character of this book is amazingly written. I think she's so different from our typical heroine because she has her own fears to work through before she can help others. I think this part of her makes her so real and relatable to so many people.

I did like this book but I didn't love it. There was something missing from the plot that made it less interesting to read.

I t
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book! It was fresh and original, despite being a re-telling. It really stood on it's own two feet and didn't feel like reading a re-telling of Robin Hood. It was a quick and easy read, as I read it in one afternoon, but it was highly entertaining and I loved the character development over the novel. Highly recommend. ...more
Rachel Meyer
I like the story of Robin Hood and I'm always up for a retelling. However, this was a hard pass for me. Allow me to share a list of all my issues.

• Heavily feminist. It really followed the whole "girls rule, boys drool" mentality. All the girls were shown as smart and powerful while all the boys were assumed to be jerks. There are even whole lines about Silvie not wanting to be tied down and how she is an independent women who don't need no man.
• Silvie was just kind of bland. She didn'
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: galleys-read, hmh
So much love! I love it so! If you know me or follow my review you know that fairy tale retellings are my weakness, and of them all, Robin Hood is my favorite. I've been hoping for this book since MECHANICA, where there was only a whisper of The Forest Queen, before it even existed. I was thrilled to finally read it and friends, it's as good as you all hope.
I love the forest and Silvi and just about everyone else in this book (except the obvious, but I'd never want to meet a person who roots fo
Ang -PNR Book Lover Reviews
To me this plot sounded super promising. I love Robin Hood, and the idea of a retelling with switched gender roles is just incredibly fantastic. The story itself was fun to read, but I dunno I just couldn't love it. I do love the cover, super pretty! I am interested to see what other people think of this book. I haven't check any review yet, but I am wonder if people had the same annoyances that I did.

There are so many characters, but none of them are fully developed. There are four main charact
Olivia Williford (LivTheBookNerd)
ARC provided by HMH Teen for an honest review

TW: abuse, elder abuse, rape, and sexual harassment

5/5 stars

This book was BEAUTIFUL. The story was so charming and lovely. I loved the themes throughout and I absolutely adore the characters. I really did not want to put this book down. I could have just sat and read it all day. It was lovely.

More thoughts and a full review to come!
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Please Note: I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence the opinions in my review in any way.

When I first picked up The Forest Queen, by Betsy Cornwall, I didn't know what to expect. Would this be a story of female empowerment? An adventure story? Would there be intrigue and romance? The answer is YES to all of it. I found this book to be fun, and moving. Once I started it, I could not put it down.

What I Liked:

As with m
Amelia Phelps
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was and am very pleased with the way this book ended and was written. I read this book before it came out and before I had good reads back in June. But, I will say that I read it in two days, and it is a book I would read again. So, to all the people who are indecisive about reading the book, you know what I say, read it. And if you don’t like it then stop, or read it anyways. It’s your choice.
R.F. Gammon
Okay, so...I may try this one again? But for right now...the concept was a great one, but the way it was written was so confusing that I just couldn't keep up. There were time jumps and I could /not/ tell which one was the real timeframe and which one was the flashback. Just...not interested for right now :/ ...more
Paige Green
Disclaimer: I bought my own copy but then got a copy on Netgalley. Yay me! All opinions are my own.

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 2/5

Publication Date: August 7, 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Recommended Age: 17+ (suicide TW, dark themes, and violence)

Publisher: Clarion Books

Synopsis: When sixteen-year-old Sylvie’s brother takes over management of their family’s vast estates, Sylvie feels powerless to stop his abuse of the local commoners. Her dearest friend asks her to run away to the woods with him, and
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4,5 stars*
A beautifully written Robin Hood retelling featuring a female "Robin" and many other female characters whose struggles within a patriarchal society are made visible. It's especially outstanding how the main character Silvie constantly acknowledges her privileges and does her best to dismantle them, or, if more helpful, uses them to support the oppressed. Also remarkable is the respect for rape victims, bodily autonomy, and reproductive health and rights. Those is should be self-eviden
Jan farnworth
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a refreshing intriguing take on the legend of robin hood, we get robin hood as a female in this retelling that in no way takes away from the heart of the robin hood legend.  Which is take from the overly rich and give to the lowly poor.  The best part is that our Robin hood is a female who runs away from her rich life  and strives with all her heart to to the best she can for her merry men.  Their are some themes in this book that maybe hard for some readers to handle so be wary -they i ...more
*Source* Publisher/NetGalley
*Genre* Young Adult Fiction / Fairy Tales & Folklore / Adaptations
*Rating* 2.5-3


Betsy Cornwell's The Forest Queen is supposed to be the retelling of Robin Hood with a feminist angle. It's a story about how a corrupt, too-powerful leader and his inner circle thrive at the expense of the common people and how one girl fights for what's right and makes a difference. Lady Silviana of Loughsley chooses to make a stand against her older brother, who just happens t
Zoe Turner
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Forest Queen is a book of rebelling for the right reasons. Its a book that gives hope to the little guys. Its a book that gives the feeling that things will always get better. Its a book that shows all different forms of love.

If you cant tell already from my intro I really enjoyed this book and all it had to offer my ever starving brain. The main character is a lady of a noble house and has the benefits of all that comes with it. Until one day she finds herself second guessing all of her re
In this well told revisionist Robin Hood, Lady Silviana of Loughsley is entreated by her best friend Bird to run away from her cruel brother John, the sheriff appointed by the king. At sixteen, Lady Silviana is a bit naive about the lives of the common folk, but she is motvated to flee when her brother offers her in marriage to an older nobleman. Once she escapes to the forest with Bird and Little Jane, a pregnant peasant girl, she begins to realize the extent of the cruelty and deprivation suff ...more
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was excited to check out this book. The reimagined concept of Robin Hood with a gender reversal role was a thrilling thought. That is exactly what should have happened is "thrills". However, this book barely got afloat. None of the characters were that interesting. Yeah, I could keep them straight and knew who was who only because of the roles they portrayed but if this had been a regular story not reimagined; I would have not remembered any of them.

What saddened me was Silvie. I wanted her t
Karen Barber
Aug 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This is a telling of the Robin Hood legend, with some parts familiar and others changed to suit the characters.
Sylvie has got used to the cruelty of her brother, the new sheriff of the land. He is accustomed to treating others as he sees fit in order to improve his own standing. There comes a time when Sylvie can take it no more and she runs away to live in the forest with her childhood friend.
We watch Sylvie - the forest queen as she comes to be known - as her pairing quickly becomes a ragtag g
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't even f*ck with fantasy that much, let alone YA, but this was fantastic. My wife read it to me chapter by chapter every night before bed and it ended up being a miserable choice for a go-to-sleep read as I kept getting absolutely rapt with what would happen next.

Basically you've got a gender swapped Robin Hood, tons and tons of social commentary about capitalism, the wealthy, and checking one's own privileges and biases, all wrapped up in a beautiful story about anarchy and compassion th
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This gender-swapped Robin Hood tale is a satisfying peek into the backstory of the world of Mechanica, but can certainly be read and enjoyed by readers who haven't read the other two books in the series. I want to re-read this book before I write a more thorough review, since I flew through it in one night, but I can say with certainty that this book was wonderful. Betsy Cornwell's writing is thoughtful and rich, as always, and I quickly found myself immersed in the characters and the world. I w ...more
Mary Fulkerson
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A tribute to strong women. This novel had me laugh, sigh, smirk, and cry. Like a hot bowl of soup on the coldest winter day I tried to make the book last several days but could not put it down!

A feminine twist on Robin Hood. Take a chance to believe on fairy tales again. It's worth the read.
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Betsy Cornwell is a New York Times bestselling author living in west Ireland. She is the story editor and a contributing writer at Parabola, and her short-form writing includes fiction, nonfiction, and literary translation and has appeared in Fairy Tale Review, Zahir Tales, The Violence Prevention Initiative Journal, and elsewhere. She holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Not ...more

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