Hood (King Raven Trilogy)

Hood - Stephen R. Lawhead Robin Hood! Ok, I admit, I have a lot of general feelings about Robin Hood. I frequently have meltdowns while thinking about Robin Hood. Please, don’t ask me why, we don’t question these things. So, this is actually my second time reading this book. I’d read it before about 5 years ago (or whenever it first came out, it was back then). And I remember really liking it then, but just never got around to finishing the series. BUT my dad got me the complete trilogy for Christmas so finish them I shall!I actually love this book so much. I adore it. I have this weird relationship with Stephen R. Lawhead’s books, in that I own A LOT of them, but haven’t read them… (I think I have 6 or 7? Yeah it’s a little strange). The thing is, I love what he does. I love his historic twists on well known legends (He’s pretty famous for the take he does on Arthurian stories, I…. I have the first two books in that series and…. I haven’t read them yet…).So, this is his take on Robin Hood. And it’s grand. He’s set it in Whales during the invasion of the Franks and the role of Robin Hood is one Bran ap Brychan, the Prince of Elfael. (I’m… I’m probably going to get pretty sketchy on the names here, they’re really accurate, thus really difficult to remember). I appreciate that Lawhead used one of my favourite characterisations of Robin Hood, and that is that he’s a spoiled brat beforehand. Now, I mean, that’s usually the point of Robin Hood, but I’ve seen all those obnoxious characterisations where he’s noble from the get-go and that’s just so annoying. Bran is especially spoiled though, and he remains that way for most of the book. After his father and all of the warband is ambushed by Ffreinc marchogi (Frank warriors? I’m calling them that now because I don’t want to keep worrying about misspelling Ffreinc. Haha), everyone is slain except for Iwan, the king’s champion. The Red William - King of England, sets up one of his Baron’s in Elfael (Now, I admit, there are three different barons in this book and I was getting two of them consistently mixed up. I got it all in the end, but it gets a little complicated with all of the names.), and Bran is forced to attempt to buy back his land from the King. But, because Bran never wanted to be king, he gives up his claim and attempts to flee to his mother’s homelands where he is hunted down by the Baron’s soldiers and ‘killed.’ Bran is taken in by an old woman - a bard - who teaches him stories of a King Raven and essentially shows him how his people are hurting and how he must do something. I LOVE the setup and everything of this story. There were a few dry moments could have used better pacing, but I didn’t really notice them too much during the reading. One of the things I loved the most was how he chose to connect the names of the stories, with the names in this setting. Iwan is John, the friar Aethelfrith is Tuck, later on Guy comes along. I’m not entirely sure who the role of the Sheriff is (maybe one of the Barons? I’m not totally sure…) but i’m sure he’ll turn up. Mérian is the daughter of one of the neighbouring Cymry kings and I love how Lawhead is handling her character so far. I think the only thing I’m worried about is the point of view shift that I noticed for the next book. I prefer third person, everyone knows that by now, and the next book is in first. I’m sure it will be fine though. Because basically, I adore this book. I love this take on Robin Hood. I love the set up and I love when they start actually pulling the heists and doing the highway robbery. Spot on.5/5 stars. Because Robin Hood.