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Review of Shadow of the Wolf

hall_shadow of the wolfShadow of the Wolf
by Tim Hall
High School   Fickling/Scholastic   472 pp.
6/15   978-0-545-81664-9   $18.99   g
e-book ed. 978-0-545-82313-5   $18.99

This retelling of the legend of Robin Hood features Game of Thrones–levels of brutality and not much in the way of “merry men,” but it is a richly imagined emotional and physical adventure for Robin, Marian, and the audience. At age seven, Robin Loxley is deserted by his father in the woods. Already a masterful hunter and woodsman, Robin stealthily survives. He encounters a privileged young woman (“These are my woods”) who enlarges his narrow perspective, and the pair becomes inseparable. This is no tame Marian — she is defiant of authority, bold in the face of danger, and very demanding. Each of the characters endures horrible suffering over the course of the book. Robin is blinded and nearly stripped of his humanity, while Marian is kidnapped and imprisoned by the evil Sheriff of Nottingham. Hall’s writing is filled with sensory images, and readers with the patience (and stomach) to read the descriptive passages will have a sense of what Robin and Marian experience. Supernatural elements — including the Wargwolf, the old man Cernunnos (a.k.a. the Green Man), and the shape-shifting woman who torments Robin — give the plot surprises beyond the traditional conflict between Robin and the Sheriff. Patrick Ness fans may have found another new writer with the ability to mix horror and compassion.

From the July/August 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Susan Dove Lempke About Susan Dove Lempke

Susan Dove Lempke is a Horn Book reviewer and director of the Niles Public Library District in Illinois.

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