Sunday, May 28, 2017

"Hood" by Stephen R. Lawhead

So, I'm in a little bit of an awkward position here.  A friend loaned me this book, and the two others in the series, about 4 months ago.  She said, "I just know you'll love these!  Here, you can borrow them."  And I was excited, because two years ago when I was doing My Year with Robin Hood, lots of people recommended these books to me.  So as soon as I'd finished my mountain of books from the library, I started in.

But... I didn't love Hood.  I liked parts of it, but not all of it.  

If a book doesn't grab me right off the bat, I usually give it 10 chapters or 100 pages, whichever comes first.  If it hasn't hooked me by then, I feel justified in quitting it.  Because this was loaned to me by a friend and I wanted to give it a very fair shake indeed, I decided to give it 150 pages.  And right around page 130, I started to get interested.  At least, interested enough to be willing to finish the book.

However, having finished this volume, I'm not at all sure that I care enough about these characters to spend another thousand pages or so with them.  I don't even like most of them much, aside from Tuck and Iwan.  

But that's not the main problem.  I mean taking 130 pages to get interesting, and only having two characters I like -- those are huge problems.  However, the main problem for me was the fact that, as I mentioned on my other blog a few days ago, I have come to realize that I need Robin Hood to be merry.  You can be dark and gritty, and I'm fine with that.  But Robin Hood himself, or whatever you're calling him (Rhi Bran Hud, for instance) -- he needs to be a cheerful, plucky fellow.  Don't get me wrong, I still love Byronic heroes.  Always will, I'm sure.  But I don't want Robin Hood to be Byronic.  Not at all.

So yeah... I didn't have a problem with this being set in Wales (I like Wales!  Ioan Gruffudd and Luke Evans and Richard Burton are Welsh.)  I didn't have a problem with it being set a long time earlier than most Robin Hood legends.  I didn't have a problem with all the not-quite-usual names.  I just Did Not Like the Robin Character.  And I kept getting bored.

I'm kinda bummed that I didn't like this book, because I really was expecting to dig this series.  Sigh.

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG-13 for a smattering of bad language, quite a bit of violence, some creepy moments, and a very mild bit of innuendo.

This is my last contribution to Robin Hood Week hosted by Meanwhile, in Rivendell...  

And this is my fifth book read and reviewed for the Adventure of Reading Challenge.  Yippee!


  1. I'm so glad(selfishly?) that you didn't like this so that I'm not completely alone in my disinterest. :)

    I didn't even mind it being dark-- although that is a good point-- but it was quite boring and the whole time I just wanted to finish it...

    Now I'm curious-- what is your favorite Robin Hood book?

    1. I think there's the possibility of a dark version being good, but the darkness needs to come from the story, not from Robin himself.

      My favorite is Howard Pyle's Adventures of Robin Hood :-)

  2. Y'know, I've seen this book popping up everywhere, so have become interested, but I think this is the second not-so-glowing review, and I'm starting to think that it might not be my cuppa tea? But we'll see.

    Also, I hadn't mentioned it yet, but thanks for creating more buttons! It was fun to see your choices. :D

    (P.S. Also, I just watched The Adventures of Robin Hood yesterday! It was such fun. :) I feel like it'll be one of those movies that I'll grow more and more fond of with each watch.)

    1. Olivia, I do want to try the next book, just because this one did improve greatly in my estimation by the end. I think I just... am not captured by this setting in a way that would keep me reading just for the pleasure of the book, without characters I care about or a plot that intrigues me. If this had been a western, for instance, I might have been more lenient. So a person who is drawn to stories set in non-merry Olde England would likely have a far different experience than I did. (Or maybe if this just wasn't supposed to be about Robin Hood, so I didn't have my Robin Hood expectations, I'd have liked it better?)

      I'm glad you were okay with me making more buttons :-) I just... wanted something with one of MY Robins on it. Or two, as it turned out.

      (I'm so glad you liked The Adventures of Robin Hood!!! It's such a delightful movie. I don't get tired of it.)


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(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)