My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Any story about Robin Hood is bound to be delightful, full of fun and adventure, but the addition of a Maid Marian who is obsessed with falconry, can talk to her hawks, and enlist their help in the fight against the evil Prince John… well, that is simply genius!
I adore Marian’s character, or Matty as she is known in her youth. She’s plucky and independent, brave and smart. She just wants to be one of the guys, hanging out with the Merry Men, doing the whole outlaw thing in Sherwood; and eventually, through her resourcefulness, she wins their respect and admiration.
There is a darker side to the story, since Prince John, the Sherriff, and the evil Abbess of Nottingham are up to their old atrocities. We see Matty’s parents attacked, her mother killed, her home ransacked, her people starving. Matty herself goes through some mild torture and pain. It’s not a pretty story.
But there is also a light-hearted side to the story, as the Merry Men are playing their practical jokes on the rich, in addition to robbing them of their gold.
The sweet romance that grows between Marian and Robin is delightfully woven into the adventure in little bits here and there. Robin is the perfect hero, all courageous and generous and self-sacrificing, with a smile and charm that melts hearts.
The best part of the book though are the hawks themselves. Each hawk has its own story, its own character, even its own voice as Matty communicates with them all. They play a large part in the plot, and there is even some magic woven into the nature of Matty’s connection with her birds.