The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley
I’ve always loved the idea of Robin Hood, but I always seemed to find qualms with some part of the versions. I think now that even some of the best seemed like caricatures. I think that is why I loved so much the film version this past summer because it was so much more (It also gets extra points for being part of my first date with Ben). McKinley breathes life and depth into the outlaws. Marian, Little John, Robin, Cecil, Alan and many of the others are beautifully round characters with odd quirks and flaws. Here is a Robin that does not choose his fate and has no great skill with a bow, but there is something within him that is more. Once again love is not simple or easy here. Right and wrong are a hard line to walk. I won’t go into detail but I loved the ending so many times when Richard shows up things get way too tidily happily ever after; this is perfect. So many moments were perfect like when you learn Cecil’s history I literally near tears laughed for over a minute at the genius of it. I’m not going to do a real summary because honestly we all know the basics and though McKinley does fill it with surprises I don’t want to spoil any of them. One of the things that truly impressed me was that she did make so much of it new and fresh but it is still close enough to the familiar that I never found myself confused (Ex: I’ve recently been watching some of the recent Merlin TV series and though I love things that build off of legends there are enough changes that I get a head ache trying to keep it straight and figure out where they are going.) McKinley keeps it flowing naturally throughout. Argh this is why I will never be a real reviewer but I’m okay with that. I wish someone had pointed me to this forever ago.