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

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  4,467 ratings  ·  280 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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3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,467 ratings  ·  280 reviews

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Nov 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Catie by: Noelle
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2012, ya
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 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 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
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
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy * Bookworm Nation
Jul 21, 2008 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
Jul 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adventure, sci-fi
I'm so glad I asked a local library to order these. It's been long enough that I only slightly remember the feeling of the book, so it had the lovely experience of being new yet as comfortable as an old friend.

I'm not sure what I expected, but this book both met and exceeded what I was looking for.

Sigh. I hate being vague. I'm looking forward to getting the next book in the series.
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.
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Robin Hood tale, centered on a girl named Gwyn, who one day has the injustice of the system driven home for her... and decides to try to make a difference. Fast, compelling read, with well-developed characters that unfold over the course of the book, showing hidden depths. The world building is peppered throughout, woven in seamlessly, which means some areas aren't complete, but all the vital framework is explained. Looking forward to the new main character in book 2!
Evil would be done, that was the nature of the world; that was bearable if good could also be done.

3.5 stars. The pacing of this book is really, really slow. Or at least, it feels that way. This is a great story about a headstrong girl who defies pretty much every standard of the land and does what she believes she should do and what she believes is right.

At times, Gwyn seems pretty dull. Other times, she's plotted out this whole plan on the move and you really don't know what she's going to
Dec 15, 2011 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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2011
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
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Tale of Gwyn- I wish I would've noticed this was Jackaroo under a new name BEFORE I ordered it from Amazon!
I am not sure why they renamed it. That being said, Gwyn is my all-time favorite fictional character, and Jackaroo is one of the best books ever written. Gwyn is infinitely herself- wanting to help others, feeling stuck in her role as the daughter of a wealthy innkeeper. She is short-tempered, sometimes short sighted. A very real character.
I love the way the society's rules are interwov
Mar 30, 2011 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.
Mar 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I've probably read and re-read this book a hundred times. I used to read it once a year as a child. And it's so wonderful to discover that it is still every bit as good as it ever was.

I love fierce, soft-hearted Gwyn. Strong, steady Burl. Feisty Tad, who gets to grow up. And the stories and secrets and switcheroos. They are good characters in a thoughtful, well-composed world.
Sara Diane
Oct 03, 2007 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.
Apr 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, ya, fantasy
Imagine “Robin Hood” revisited with a twist. Throw in a soul-searching main character, a butterfly flapping its wings sort of turn of events, and watch what you think is going to be a slow book turn into one of your favorites. At least this is what happened to me…

So, so high up on the list of "things I hope do not seem crappy now that I'm an adult."
Nov 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yup. Right in the nostalgia.
Feb 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
i just bought and reread this book. i so love it!
Dec 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jackaroo is set in a fictional medieval land. The main character, Gwyn, is the daughter of a well-off innkeeper, struggling to come to terms with the injustice in the world around her, the fact that her family and neighbours are terrible people, and that as a woman who does not want to marry the future does not hold much in store for her, even though this world does better on the women's right front than actual medieval society did. Surrounding this is the myth of Jackaroo, a Robin Hood like fig ...more
Gloria Piper
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
People are starving, that the lords may wax fat. Tales of comfort pass among the people, tales of a masked Jackaroo who helps those in need. But he is a myth. Or is he?

As we imagine a hero like Robin Hood or Zorro, the author takes us on a surprise journey. Somehow, Gywn, the innkeeper's daughter becomes involved with the Jackaroo, so her compassion for the needy is served. And backing her up is Burl, stable hand, always ready to help her.

An apparent lack of depth drives the story, (after all,
I read this first when I was in middle school. I remembered liking it then, so I thought I'd read it again to figure out exactly why I liked it so much then.

And I still loved it!

Though the paperback had, like, size 9 font, the pages still melted away quickly, and I found myself not wanting to stop reading.

It's a classic adventure--brave heroine, medieval times, lords and ladies, servants, outlaws, town fairs, running from danger, hangings, thieves, short, everything I love in a fantasy
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Going into my second read of this book, all I could remember was that my impression of it years ago was how very much I enjoyed the book. A hundred pages in, I recalled how little I liked it at first.

Approximately the first half of this book reads very much like a Jane Austen novel: the day-to-day life of a young woman of marriageable age, her impending decision on whether or not to marry, who to marry, etc. Appealing, I suppose, to fans of that particular style. However, even if--like me--that'
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
Karen GoatKeeper
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Set in a medieval world, times are tough. Gwyn is lucky to be the Innkeeper's daughter as she has a roof over her head and food security, unlike most of their neighbors. Due to unrest in the kingdom, taxes are being raised. Many will lose their homes because of this.
Gwyn is now of marriageable age. Should she marry? Whom?
A mapmaker and his son come to the Inn. They take the servant Burl and Gwyn with them and are trapped in a storm. They reward the two with gold coins.
Gwyn discovers clothes for
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cricket Muse
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One aspect of rereading books from long ago is rediscovering and reconnecting with the story. I only vaguely remembered how Jackaroo’s costume was found, all else was like reading a new novel.
And what a wonderful story! Adventure, Middle Ages setting with villages, earls, customs of Robin Hood trope. Voigt crafts her story with full characters and descriptive imagery that rounds out a story not easily put down once started.
There are enough twists in the plot to prevent the usual stale tale scrip
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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

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)
“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.” 2 likes
“Evil would be done, that was the nature of the world; that was bearable if good could also be done.” 1 likes
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