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The Compulsive Reader: Shadows of Sherwood: A Robyn Hoodlum Adventure by Kekla Magoon

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Shadows of Sherwood: A Robyn Hoodlum Adventure by Kekla Magoon

I'm having a really hard time finding words to properly convey my excitement over this book, because it's that awesome. Basically...this is Robin Hood, only Robin is a twelve-year-old biracial girl living in a futuristic society that experiences a sudden coup, leaving Robin parentless on the streets and...are you in?

Of course you are, because that's just awesome.

Robyn Loxley is naturally stealthy and inquisitive, and when she avoids capture by pure luck on the same night her parents disappear, she's left to fend for herself in Nott City. As new governor Ignomus Crown restricts the civil liberties of the citizens of Nott City, Robyn falls in with a bunch of street kids and finds herself fighting against Crown by accident. Her cause starts out small--stealing food that Crown confiscates and returning it to the hungry people--but escalates quickly. As she becomes the most wanted outlaw in all of Nott City and Sherwood County, Robyn uncovers a mystery about a prophecy that is somehow connected to her parents, Crown's hostile takeover, and her own destiny.

I enjoyed reading this book so, so much. Robyn is a fantastic character, and Magoon does a really great job of portraying her as the privileged kid from the upper crest who is jolted to reality when she hits the streets and learns about what life is like for the lower classes. Robyn is naive at first, and she grapples with doing what's right, but she doesn't shy away from doing what she needs to survive and help others. While she is certainly a brave and caring person who is motivated to help the less fortunate, Robyn's actions are mainly motivated by the desire to discover the truth about what happened to her parents at the beginning of the story, and solving the mystery her father left behind for her--sometimes at the risk of alienating her new friends.

Fans of the Robin Hood legend will really enjoy the little nods to the original tale, but Magoon is so great at world building and creating complicated characters that this novel feels very fresh and original. Middle grade readers who are fans of The False Prince and the numerous fantasy novels based on world myths will love this first book in the Robyn Hoodlum series, but it's no stretch to assume that YA readers will be attracted as well. It hits all of the sweet spots of a good futuristic adventure novel--a controlling government, vivid details that ground readers in the world, a well-developed and fascinating cast of characters, and a highly compelling plot. I loved every page.

Basically, the world needs at least five more Robyn Hoodlum books. And you need to get your hands on a copy. That is all.

Book purchased at my indie.

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