Book Reviews · Fantasy · POPSUGAR Reading Challenge · Young Adult

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge 2021 Update: Week Three

Good morning, everyone! I hope that you are having a wonderful weekend so far, and that you are able to spend some time resting and relaxing over the next couple of days.

It has been a week of reading at my house! I’ve had the opportunity to read several fantastic books, two of which I reviewed earlier in the week (on Wednesday and Friday). I spent most of the week finishing the last few books in Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher Mysteries series, and I am now eagerly awaiting the release of the newest book in the series, Death in Daylesford (which, unfortunately, will not be released until June 1st).

For the third week of the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge, I decided to re-read Robin McKinley’s The Outlaws of Sherwood. The last time I read this novel was when I was a teenager, so I was really looking forward to reading it again as an adult.

A book you think your best friend would like…

The Outlaws of Sherwood is a re-telling of the legend of Robin Hood. In McKinley’s version of the story, Robin is a young Saxon yeoman (rather than a member of the English nobility), who becomes an outlaw when he kills one of his fellow foresters in self-defense. Helped by his best friends, Marian and Much, the young outlaw goes into hiding in Sherwood Forest. Before long, other Saxon men and women begin to join him, hoping to escape the unreasonably high taxes imposed by the greedy Sheriff of Nottingham.

The outlaws soon begin to strike back at their oppressors, stealing the tax money collected for the Sheriff, and robbing the wealthy Normans who travel through the woods.

But as the fame of Robin and his band of outlaws grows, so does the danger they are in. Because the Sheriff of Nottingham will stop at nothing to rid himself of them…even if it means sending a famous assassin to do his dirty work.

It had been a very long time since the last time I read The Outlaws of Sherwood, and I found that I enjoyed it every bit as much as I did the first time. The story itself is filled with action and adventure, and I had a very hard time putting the book down. This really wasn’t a surprise to me though, as I always enjoy reading Robin McKinley’s books. In addition to creating her own fantastic worlds and characters, she also has a talent for re-telling classic stories in a new and interesting way.

One of the things I like most about The Outlaws of Sherwood is the fact that the characters are very well developed. While Robin Hood is, of course, at the center of the story, McKinley also makes a point of focusing on other characters as well. Characters such as Marian, Little John, Friar Tuck, Will Scarlet, Much, and Alan-a-dale (just to name a few) are just as important to the plot, and the author does a great job of creating an ensemble cast that you really find yourself caring about and rooting for as you read.

While I chose to read this book for the prompt “a book you think your best friend would like,” it would also work well for several other POPSUGAR Reading Challenge prompts, including…

  • “a book set mostly or entirely outdoors”
  • “a book about do-overs or fresh starts”
  • “a book set somewhere you’d like to visit in 2021” (England, specifically Sherwood Forest)
  • “a book about a social justice issue” (economic injustice)
  • “a book by an author who shares your zodiac sign” (Scorpio)
  • “a book that has fewer than 1,000 reviews on Amazon or Goodreads” (As of this morning, it had only 869 reviews on Goodreads.)

Whether you are a fan of fantasy novels, have read and enjoyed other books by Robin McKinley, or just enjoy great young adult re-tellings of classic stories, then I highly recommend The Outlaws of Sherwood. If you have the opportunity to read this book, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Next week’s POPSUGAR Reading Challenge update will be posted on Saturday, January 23rd. In the meantime, I hope you’ll join me next week on The Unapologetic Bookworm for book reviews and other new content…including a special Winnie-the-Pooh Day celebration.

Have a great weekend!

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