Happy review Thursday. This might be a little shorter than usual because I somehow forgot that I didn’t have a post to go up today so I am doing this a little last minute. I am very much blaming A Court of Silver Flames for this oversight since I was totally consumed reading it for the past day and a half. I finished it yesterday and it was amazing…but I will probably have a full review for that soon. Enough rambling, let’s jump into today’s review.
Author: Jenny Elder Moke
Genres: Young Adult, Historical, Retelling, Adventure, Romance
Publication Date: June 9th 2020
Pages: 320 pages
When I Read It: February 4th 2021
Goodreads Rating: 3.73 Stars
Isabelle of Kirklees has only ever known a quiet life inside the sheltered walls of the convent, where she lives with her mother, Marien. But after she is arrested by royal soldiers for defending innocent villagers, Isabelle becomes the target of the Wolf, King John’s ruthless right hand. Desperate to keep her daughter safe, Marien helps Isabelle escape and sends her on a mission to find the one person who can help: Isabelle’s father, Robin Hood. As Isabelle races to stay out of the Wolf’s clutches and find the father she’s never known, she is thrust into a world of thieves and mercenaries, handsome young outlaws, new enemies with old grudges, and a king who wants her entire family dead. As she joins forces with Robin and his Merry Men in a final battle against the Wolf, will Isabelle find the strength to defy the crown and save the lives of everyone she holds dear?
My Goodreads Review: *aka my initial thoughts, straight after (and during) reading
February 3rd (page 204/63%) – “Now this is a book with plot!! My past two reads have been really lacking drove and intrigue to their plots and I was starting to think ACOTAR raised my reading standards immeasurably. But then this comes racing through smashing that idea to threads. Its so great, the familiar yet adapted characters, the action, the writing. I really wish I didn’t have to put it down for the night.”
February 4th – Finished – Damn.
I’m bawling my eyes out and have been for the last 20 pages. I thought I hated the big twist, but after reading the last 3 pages everything just fell into place and felt right. Amazing.
The writing was beautiful.
The plot was constantly gripping.
I wish some of the characters had been deepened more (cough cough adam) and that the romance had maybe been deepened a bit. But it does end in a open yet closed manner so who knows what will happen.
Anyway, this was great.
You know its good when it makes you cry so hard your eyes hurt.
My Favourite Quote:
“We need you.” He cleared his throat. “I need you.”
Characters: Reading the characters in this felt kind of like coming back to a book series you had been away from for a long time, only with the twist that you’d actually never met them before. I have not read many retellings in my life but this makes me want to read more. I love the folklore/historical tales of Britain and Scotland. I think it’s so interesting, and Robin Hood is one of the major ones that always draws me in. The way the characters feel so familiar to the ones I grew up learning about and loving, but then also like they are brand new and different is a combination that I didn’t think was possible to get. But here it is!
I really liked Isabelle as a character. She had a really good arc and I loved that it really did take the full length of the book for her to come into her own and realise what she wanted out of life. Really all of the “new characters” AKA the children as I mentally dubbed them when reading, were great. I loved their banter and friendship and comradery. I wish we got a little more of Adam’s backstory because I feel like that would be interesting and flesh him out a little more but it was still good.
Characters = 9/10
Humour: There was definitely humour in this book, maybe not as much as I usually like or as obviously there as I like but there were definitely the undertones of it and it balanced out the action and the quests really well. It definitely had me audibly laughing on occasion so a solid B on humour.
Humour = 7/10
Atmosphere: Like I mentioned above, I love this period of British history. I think it’s so interesting and I think the book did a spectacular job of conveying it. The mix between the towns and cities and then the forest was just great, it really helped highlight the long journey aspects of the adventures somehow without making it feel like it dragged just because the juxtaposition in the writing was really well done. I love forests. They are always some of my favourite settings in books so this was so up my street. I loved this!
Atmosphere = 10/10
Writing Style: If you couldn’t already tell…I may be obsessed with the writing haha. I thought it was amazing. It was a really nice mix of modern form and structure but with a etiquette and properness of the time than helped ground it and really make it feel like an historical adaptation/retelling. I can’t believe that this was Jenny Elder Moke’s debut novel because it just blew me away. I’ve heard she has a book coming out this year…I don’t know what it’s about but you already know that it’s on my Amazon wish list!
Writing Style = 10/10
Plot: The plot was so good. Like I said at the time in my goodreads thoughts, I thought the action of the ACOTAR series and the Shadow and Bone series had ruined me for books…and then I read this! And it was incredible. The drama, the action, the pacing!! I really struggled to put it down. It was so well done, and actually really surprising. Usually I have a pretty good sense of where a plot is going but this was actually amazing at being unexpectedly unexpected. I’ve said it a thousand times by now but I love Robin Hood so this was such a fun and different twist on events that had just as much action as the original stories.
Plot = 10/10
Intrigue: I feel like I’m repeating myself a little…but I struggled to put it down so I think that says pretty much everything I could about the intrigue. It had me on the edge of my seat. It had be sobbing through probably the last 30-50 pages. It was so well paced and just stunningly written. There wasn’t any parts that felt like it lagged or slowed or felt unnecessary. Everything felt chosen and important which is why I think it’s so successful.
Intrigue = 10/10
Logic: Overall, I think this is pretty logical. I don’t remember being mad at any of the characters actions. If anything I remember being pretty impressed at how strategic most things were thought out and I just thought that reflected really well on the characters and the source material. My only gripe would be that why would Robin not hunt “The Bad Guy” down. He literally ruined his life. He clearly has the means to do so…so why not. I don’t remember it being explained. But it was definitely one of those thoughts that hit me after I read and not during the read so maybe I have just forgotten. But yeah, that was my one issue.
Logic = 9/10
Enjoyment: If you couldn’t tell…I loved this. It was great. The ending in particular was so beautifully done. What I read through the tears was incredible. I loved the focus on family and the friendships and the little elements of romance. It was so good. Just too good!!
Enjoyment = 10/10
Relationships: I loved the familial and the friendships in this. I thought they were amazing. So well done…but the romance – (AKA usually my favourite part of a story) was a little meh. I just felt that it wasn’t delved into much and almost felt like it was there as a bit of an after thought. I would have loved to see that a bit more deepened along with Alan as a character in general because I think that might have just fleshed out the book that last bit and really made this a perfect read. So far, Jenny Elder Moke has said she doesn’t have plans for a sequel but that the world is definitely open to the possibility so maybe I’ll get that character development and romance development one day.
Relationships = 8/10
Overall Score = 83/90 or 9.2/10
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
That’s all for today’s review folks. I am still thinking of changing up the headings of the things I review because I feel like there is overlap but also sometimes there’s not so I am most definitely on the fence about what to do. What do you think?
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this and I will see you guys again tomorrow ❤