Wednesday, February 26, 2020

"Hawksmaid" by Kathryn Lasky

Hawksmaid is a retelling of the Robin Hood legend that focuses on Marian and imagines her as a nobleman's daughter with a love for falconry.  She and Robin Hood grow up together, and the story follows them from preteens to young adulthood.  I found that nifty, as most Robin Hood retellings don't span such a lot of years, especially not ones aimed at kids.  

I liked the characterizations in this, for Robin himself felt light-hearted, yet could be serious-minded, which is exactly what I want in a Robin Hood.  And Marian was brave, intelligent... and a little bossy.  I'm bossy myself, so I kinda liked that in her.  Plus, she learns all about falconry, which means readers learn a lot about it too.  The only other fiction book I can remember that touches on this subject is My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, which I loved as a kid.

The one thing I didn't like in this was the sort of mystical, magical turn the story veered off into toward the end, with Marian joining consciousness with her birds somehow.  The rest of the story was so grounded in reality that the injection of magical realism here and there felt weird and off-putting.  I would have loved it if it had stayed totally realistic, or if it had been magical realism from the start.  Instead, it feels like the author couldn't figure out how to make the ending work, so she resorted to adding in some magic.  As a reader, I was annoyed.  As a writer, it struck me as lazy writing.  So... I'll give this three stars.  And let my kids read it if they want to.  The characters were good, and the storyline was good.

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG for violence, danger, and scenes of peril, as well as unexplained magicalness.

This is my sixth book read for #TheUnreadShelfProject2020.


  1. I've wanted to read this for awhile because I love Robin Hood retellings! From other books that I've read by this author she almost always adds a bit of that magic, which can be a little jarring with the setting.

    1. MC, I think if you're aware the author does this, it wouldn't be so startling. I've never read anything of hers before, so I was kinda like, "Whaaaaaaaaat now?"

  2. Haha, yeah the magical part felt weird/out of place to me. Especially because it came out of the blue pretty much? I don't remember there being a lot of foreshadowing of it or anything. But I do loooove the characterization of Robin and Marian. <3

    1. Eva, yeah, in retrospect I could see hints, but it caught me unawares.

      But yes, the characters made it worthwhile, for sure.


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