Brightfall
Someone is murdering the Merry Men - and if Marian doesn't stop them, her children will be the next to die: a wonderful re-imagining of Robin Hood and Maid Marian, perfect for fans of Katherine Arden, Naomi Novik and Christina Henry.It's been a mostly quiet life since Robin Hood denounced Marian, his pregnant wife, and his former life and retreated to a monastery to repent his sins . . . although no one knows what he did that was so heinous he would leave behind Sherwood Forest and those he loved most.But when friends from their outlaw days start dying, Father Tuck, now the Abbott of St. Mary's, suspects a curse and begs Marian to use her magic to break it. A grieving Marian bargains for protection for her children before she sets out with a soldier who's lost his faith, a trickster Fey lord and a sullen Robin Hood, angry at being drawn back into the real world.Marian soon finds herself enmeshed in a maze of betrayals, tangled relationships and a vicious struggle for the Fey throne . . . and if she can't find and stop the spell-caster, no protection in Sherwood Forest will be enough to save her children.

Brightfall Details

TitleBrightfall
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 5th, 2019
PublisherJo Fletcher Books
ISBN-139781787479203
Rating
GenreFantasy, Historical, Historical Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Retellings, Fiction

Brightfall Review

  • Sebastien Castell
    January 1, 1970
    Set some twelve years after the adventure tales we're all familiar with, Brightfall takes the elements of the Robin Hood mythos and turns them on their head. Robin is no longer the joyful, daring adventurer of his Sherwood Forest days, but rather a bitter and often petty man who abandoned his family to retreat into a monastery. Most importantly, Marian is neither the damsel in distress nor a badass female version of Robin himself, but rather a forest wise woman who relies on her magic, intellect Set some twelve years after the adventure tales we're all familiar with, Brightfall takes the elements of the Robin Hood mythos and turns them on their head. Robin is no longer the joyful, daring adventurer of his Sherwood Forest days, but rather a bitter and often petty man who abandoned his family to retreat into a monastery. Most importantly, Marian is neither the damsel in distress nor a badass female version of Robin himself, but rather a forest wise woman who relies on her magic, intellect, and determination to investigate the murders of the former Merry Men.It's that dichotomy that makes Brightfall so unique – never pandering to our expectations of a "Robin Hood Story™" but rather taking us down a path that's part mystery, part fairy tale, and rich in nuance and complications. I've never read a fantasy novel in which the characters were so internally conflicted. Nothing is easy, no decision obvious. It's rather like real life in that way. In fact, that's the sense I had throughout most of the book, that for good or ill, in a world of magic and fae beings, this is probably what it would feel like to be on Marian's quest.This same aspect of Brightfall also keeps me from describing it as a joyous romp. It's not fun, particularly. There are lots of fun elements, but there's a melancholy quality to the novel that's entirely in tune with the book's heroine. Marian isn't on this journey for the adventure of it. She wants to be home with her children, given the chance to grieve for lost loved ones, but with more of her old friends being killed by this mysterious force, she has no choice but to seek out this hidden enemy.Brightfall masters its subject's tone and voice, blending fairy tale elements seamlessly into a more realist narrative, held together by the honesty of its main character. Watching Marian's inner candour juxtaposed with Robin's isolating self-hatred is quite remarkable, and I think Jaime Lee Moyer has shown herself to be a fabulous writer.
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  • Lou
    January 1, 1970
    Brightfall is a retelling of the story of Robin Hood and Maid Marian, and what a spectacular historical fantasy it was. I adored the fact that Marian was the central character and with her personality traits it's difficult not to admire her; strong, independent and opinionated protagonists always grab my attention. The weaving together of the fantasy and real worlds is done seamlessly and Moyer's prose is nothing less than mesmerising making this a pure pleasure to read. Right from the beginning Brightfall is a retelling of the story of Robin Hood and Maid Marian, and what a spectacular historical fantasy it was. I adored the fact that Marian was the central character and with her personality traits it's difficult not to admire her; strong, independent and opinionated protagonists always grab my attention. The weaving together of the fantasy and real worlds is done seamlessly and Moyer's prose is nothing less than mesmerising making this a pure pleasure to read. Right from the beginning, I was drawn into an immersive world of myth and legend; it's very entertaining as well as having an intense, exciting plot and relatable characters.Where the book lacks in pace it makes up for in action, intrigue and a cast of diverse people. This is basically a thrilling murder mystery set primarily in the world of the Fae and has that wonderful fairy-tale vibe to it. There are twists upon twists upon twists and they just keep on blindsiding you every time; I don't quite know how Moyer did it! There are often times when authors either neglect the plot in order to focus on character development or vice versa, but not here; I found the attention to detail was excellent for almost everything. I was genuinely depressed when I came to the end as I wanted to inhabit this crazy, cosy world for longer. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Jo Fletcher for an ARC.
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  • Beth Cato
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advance ebook through NetGalley.The mythology of Robin Hood is twisted in delightfully fresh ways in Moyer's Brightfall. Picking up about a decade after the disbanding of the Merry Men, the book finds Maid Marian as a mother of twins and a competent witch. (Let me emphasis the competent bit, as that was one of the joys of this book--she's darn good with magic and a savvy lady. This isn't a book with a Too Stupid to Live lead character.) Robin Hood is her children's father, but he i I received an advance ebook through NetGalley.The mythology of Robin Hood is twisted in delightfully fresh ways in Moyer's Brightfall. Picking up about a decade after the disbanding of the Merry Men, the book finds Maid Marian as a mother of twins and a competent witch. (Let me emphasis the competent bit, as that was one of the joys of this book--she's darn good with magic and a savvy lady. This isn't a book with a Too Stupid to Live lead character.) Robin Hood is her children's father, but he is not involved in their lives. Instead, he has abandoned them--and the larger world--to live in a monastery, an embittered man who hides behind his excessive piety.This version of Robin Hood is a jolt, no denying that. I think Robin, I think fun, charismatic, jovial. But this Robin feels realistic, sadly so, and Marian is as jolted by what has happened to Robin as the reader is. She never stops mourning the change in the man she once loved.When word comes to Marian that the Merry Men and their families are being murdered, she must act. She's forced to partner up with Robin, neither of them happy about the arrangement, as she searches for clues about the killer's identity. As Robin has become a supreme jerk, I was concerned that the book might rekindle the romance with Robin--not so! The book wonderfully subverts that trope, as it does so many during the course of the the plot. Also, I loved that a fox character brings brightness to the novel; I'm not sure if that was intended as a nod to Disney's animated Robin Hood, but I relished it nevertheless.This is truly a fun mash-up of historical fantasy and murder mystery. The familiar is made new and different, and the story brings constant surprises. I read through this incredibly fast--about half the book in a single setting--and I was sorry to see it end. There's a cozy feel to this world that left me yearning to settle into a cottage next door to Marian's and watch the fae frolic about Sherwood Forest.
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  • T ❄
    January 1, 1970
    Brightfall is a really difficult novel for me to rate and review. I thought this was a definite 5 star read for the first third or so of the book, it started out so strongly. Unfortunately, I hardly wanted to pick up the book by the half way point.Brightfall is a part murder mystery, part Robin Hood retelling told from the perspective of Robin’s ex-wife, Maid Marian. The story is set in the depths of the enchanted Sherwood Forest, which is ruled by Fae and filled to the brim with malicious creat Brightfall is a really difficult novel for me to rate and review. I thought this was a definite 5 star read for the first third or so of the book, it started out so strongly. Unfortunately, I hardly wanted to pick up the book by the half way point.Brightfall is a part murder mystery, part Robin Hood retelling told from the perspective of Robin’s ex-wife, Maid Marian. The story is set in the depths of the enchanted Sherwood Forest, which is ruled by Fae and filled to the brim with malicious creatures. When Marin receives news that the Merry Men and their families are being murdered, she is sent on a mission to use her skills as a witch to unravel the mystery. Sounds dark and promising, right? (NB: a child death occurs prior to the start of the story, which is explored in a bit of detail - this may be an issue if this is a trigger you are sensitive to).The story introduces us to vixens, a talking dragon that guards over the forest, and many different kinds of dark Fae. The beginning of the story sets the stage for a dark and dangerous fantasy with so many unique elements, and for me all of this fell short. Like other reviewers noted, we are told how dangerous these Fae are, and they pose the greatest risk to the characters, yet every time Marian encounters them in the story she hardly breaks a sweat. There is almost no actual danger in this story, I felt no tension or concern for the characters at all. As another example, the dragon who was introduced at the start (who you would assume would then play a role in the story) essentially served no purpose and was only briefly mentioned again at the end. For me, this book introduced so many intriguing elements and then didn’t deliver on the plot at all. I also had issues with the pacing, it was painfully slow and the plot was disjointed and transparent by the half way point. The descriptive writing in this story is beautiful, and that’s what makes this such a difficult review. It was well written, and the effort the author put into researching the mythology of Robin Hood is evident. I also liked the spin the author put on the characters and her unique take on retelling the well known story. Perhaps if I wasn’t expecting a dark retelling I would feel differently, and maybe this is more of an individual issue. Reviews seem to indicate that a lot of people thoroughly enjoyed this book, so I wouldn’t discourage you from reading it. It just fell flat for me personally, and I suggest not to go into this expecting a dark fantasy, despite the premise.I am grateful to have received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.
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  • imyril
    January 1, 1970
    Marian is an independent woman of magic - yes, okay, a witch - and her Fae allies are steeped in glamour and treachery. Robin has fled the greenwood for the abbey, and is called back unwilling to be her protector as she tries to solve the mystery of the Merry Men's murders. The stage is set for a bickering road trip where faith and sin will clash with magic as the couple's past comes back to the haunt them. In spite of the magical trappings, the book is at its best when it focuses on the commonp Marian is an independent woman of magic - yes, okay, a witch - and her Fae allies are steeped in glamour and treachery. Robin has fled the greenwood for the abbey, and is called back unwilling to be her protector as she tries to solve the mystery of the Merry Men's murders. The stage is set for a bickering road trip where faith and sin will clash with magic as the couple's past comes back to the haunt them. In spite of the magical trappings, the book is at its best when it focuses on the commonplace; the down to earth details of parenting, contrasting sibling bonds, tensions between estranged lovers, the twin arrows of guilt and grief. And for me, the two sides of the narrative didn't quite gel. While I was initially delighted to discover this was a novel of the Fae (and loved the depiction of the Court), I would have liked rather more of the Court or considerably less of the Fae full stop (the Trickster, in particular, is a brilliant character but so powerful I was left wondering why Marian's quest was required at all). I preferred Marian's exhausting, bounded hedgewitchery to the Trickster's near-unlimited ability to drain the threat from a situation with a glamour or a wave of the hand. I recommend it for lovers of retellings and tales of the Fae, but I provide a warning to lovers of Robin Hood: this is not the usual Robin; his transformation here into a man warring with his faith and his self-deceit, dodging his responsibilities and hiding from his sins was one of my favourite aspects, but will not make lovers of the Prince of Thieves happy. The threads of romance - love abandoned, love lost, love planting its first seeds - are handled well, interwoven with themes of responsibility and redemption (along with regular outrage at Robin bloody Hood). But for me it skims a little too lightly, never quite peeling back the layers implied by the narrative.But this is Marian's story, first and foremost - and with her tale, at least, I was well satisfied.3.5 stars
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  • Blodeuedd Finland
    January 1, 1970
    I can't believe I am saying this, but Robin was such an asshat! Ugh, I wanted to kick him in the nuts! But luckily this is not his book.It is not your usual kind of Robin Hood. There is magic, dragons and Fae. But the Church is winning ground, men are turning to logic and magic is dying and will be forgotten. So maybe this is what really happened then.Marian is a witch, she lives with her twins in Sherwood since Robin annulled their marriage 12 years ago and went to live in a monastery. Luckily I can't believe I am saying this, but Robin was such an asshat! Ugh, I wanted to kick him in the nuts! But luckily this is not his book.It is not your usual kind of Robin Hood. There is magic, dragons and Fae. But the Church is winning ground, men are turning to logic and magic is dying and will be forgotten. So maybe this is what really happened then.Marian is a witch, she lives with her twins in Sherwood since Robin annulled their marriage 12 years ago and went to live in a monastery. Luckily she does have Will who came into her life more and more to help out. Grr Robin! Asshat! And I liked this Marian, sure she had Will, but she does not need a man, she does fine on her own. She is strong, she knows her craft and she takes no bs.But someone is killing the merry men and Tuck asks Marian to investigate as dark magic is a foot.The Fae show up, I liked it without saying more, there was a fool that amused me.Robin is being more asshattery than usual (swift nutkick). He was a zealot.Dark magic, death, Fae, a dragon! Two new nice sidekicks too, without saying more.I enjoyed this continuation of the story you thought you new. As the story progressed I did understand why Robin turned into a zealot too, still, I can not forgive him. All I wanted was Marian's happiness and that I got.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    *4.5 stars*Set many years after King Richard's return to England - and 12 years after Robin Hood left his family to retreat into a monastery - this story is told from Marian's point of view, and it really is deliciously fun, magical and absorbing. (It even has a fabulous dragon in Sherwood Forest!) I had a couple of very tiny nitpicks along the way, but honestly, by the time I sat down to write this review, I couldn't bear to even write any of them out because they're SO small by comparison to t *4.5 stars*Set many years after King Richard's return to England - and 12 years after Robin Hood left his family to retreat into a monastery - this story is told from Marian's point of view, and it really is deliciously fun, magical and absorbing. (It even has a fabulous dragon in Sherwood Forest!) I had a couple of very tiny nitpicks along the way, but honestly, by the time I sat down to write this review, I couldn't bear to even write any of them out because they're SO small by comparison to the huge enjoyment I got from this book - I just devoured it! And I can't wait for the next book from Jaime Lee Moyer.This is the blurb I sent off for the book the moment I finished it, which really says everything important:"Brightfall is beautiful inside and out, gorgeously written and filled with bittersweet magic. A lush, immersive read, perfect for readers of Juliet Marillier. I loved it."
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  • E.M. Swift-Hook
    January 1, 1970
    What happens after a legend is over?Twelve years ago, after their days with the Merry Men, Robin renounced Marian leaving her to fend for herself and their unborn twins, to go into a monastery. It had been her magic had kept them safe from the Sheriff of Nottingham as they hid in Sherwood Forest. But now something is killing their friends. Tuck asks Marian to find out who is weaving the murderous curse before anyone else dies. Marian knows the ways of the fae and the other creatures of magic, bu What happens after a legend is over?Twelve years ago, after their days with the Merry Men, Robin renounced Marian leaving her to fend for herself and their unborn twins, to go into a monastery. It had been her magic had kept them safe from the Sheriff of Nottingham as they hid in Sherwood Forest. But now something is killing their friends. Tuck asks Marian to find out who is weaving the murderous curse before anyone else dies. Marian knows the ways of the fae and the other creatures of magic, but once she begins to understand what is going on, she is far from certain her magic is strong enough to undo what has been done and stop more of those she cares for being killed.What I really enjoyed:The setting. Everyone knows of Robin Hood and Maid Marian and the many different tales told about them and the Merry Men who steal from the rich and protect the poor. It is a legend that is quintessentially English. The author takes that known foundation as a launch pad into a fantasy world setting that is still, recognisably, medieval England. The magic is woven into the fabric of the world with seamless skill and seems to simply belong.The characters. These are familiar friends about whom the reader already knows so much. That could have been a huge issue as reader expectations are already established. But the development of the characters flows naturally from their legends. It is as if they each step into view on the stage of this story from the shadows of their legend and become real and vivid as they do so. Marian is a strong heroine, not with weapons of war but with her mind and her magic. It is through her perceptive eyes we see the others.The story. From the first, I found it drew me in. Those who we learn had been killed were characters I already knew and that meant I was quickly bound with Marian to want to find who and why. The journey to find out is one of character growth and discovery as well as mystery solving and action scenes. The denouement is very fitting for the story, but the afterword, for me lacked something of natural justice.What I struggled with:Fantasy tropes. Here and there in the story, I began to feel that there were fantasy elements being added in for the sake of, well, fantasy. Dragon? Check. Merfolk? Check. Griffin? Check. Sometimes it seemed more as if such things were there to fill out the fantasy feel than because they provided anything specific and vital to the plot.Emotional depth. Whilst the majority of the writing is emotionally powerful, the responses to one or two key events seemed out of kilter with the impact of those events. Whilst it is true people respond differently to such things, a couple of times that seemed to drift a tiny bit out of plausibility for me.Overall thoughts:I really loved this book, for all its minor flaws. It is a well-written whodunit/fantasy/thriller. If, like me, you were raised on tales of Robin Hood and you still enjoy fantasy novels, then take a look inside. You’ll be drawn into taking one more journey beneath the greenwood tree.
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  • T. Frohock
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of the few non-horror/dark fantasy books that I've read this year, but I've always enjoyed Jaime's writing, so I didn't think twice about picking it up.Jaime's style draws me in with her emotionally centered female characters and Brightfall is no exception to this rule. Told from Marian's point of view, the book puts a neat twist on the Robin tale with lots of references to Celtic magic and Robin Hood lore. The characters and their motivations are solid and believable, yet wrapped in This is one of the few non-horror/dark fantasy books that I've read this year, but I've always enjoyed Jaime's writing, so I didn't think twice about picking it up.Jaime's style draws me in with her emotionally centered female characters and Brightfall is no exception to this rule. Told from Marian's point of view, the book puts a neat twist on the Robin tale with lots of references to Celtic magic and Robin Hood lore. The characters and their motivations are solid and believable, yet wrapped in a magical world that is hidden just beneath our own.One part murder mystery, one part fairy tale, Brightfall will satisfy lovers of high fantasy who are looking for a new twist on the Robin Tale legend.Highly recommended.
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  • Vivienne
    January 1, 1970
    My thanks to Quercus Books/Jo Fletcher Books for an eARC via NetGalley of Jaime Lee Moyer’s ‘Brightfall’ in exchange for an honest review.I immediately fell in love with this historical fantasy inspired by the legends of Robin Hood. Its green cover design showing a map of Sherwood and the surrounding environs was beautiful and enticed me to enter Moyer’s rich reimagining of how Robin, Marian and their companions lives turned out.Twelve years before the events of ‘Brightfall’, Robin had his marri My thanks to Quercus Books/Jo Fletcher Books for an eARC via NetGalley of Jaime Lee Moyer’s ‘Brightfall’ in exchange for an honest review.I immediately fell in love with this historical fantasy inspired by the legends of Robin Hood. Its green cover design showing a map of Sherwood and the surrounding environs was beautiful and enticed me to enter Moyer’s rich reimagining of how Robin, Marian and their companions lives turned out.Twelve years before the events of ‘Brightfall’, Robin had his marriage to Maid Marian annulled and entered a monastery. Marian now lives deep inside Sherwood with her twin children, born after Robin’s abandonment. Marian was raised in the old ways and is a powerful healer and hedgewitch.Abbot Tuck sends news to Marian about the mysterious deaths of a number of the former Merry Men, including the most recent victim Will Scarlet, who has been Marian’s partner for the past seven years. Tuck suspects witchcraft is involved and feels that “we need a witch to unravel it all.”Although in mourning, Marian agrees to his request especially as she realises that her children are also in danger. Tuck orders a sullen and reluctant Robin to accompany her. The Lady of the Fae is also concerned when Marian seeks her counsel and assigns a Fae Lord to join the quest. He is something of a trickster figure and assumes the guise of a peddler for the journey taking the rather amusing name of Bert.Also joining the group is Jack, a disillusioned soldier whose sister, Meg, is the widow of Midge the Miller, another victim of the curse. Bert dubs Jack as the Warrior and Robin as the Archer. Of the reasons for Robin’s withdrawal from the world and the mystery behind the deaths I will say no more aside from the fact that Moyer addresses both within the narrative.Marian is the novel’s narrator and I welcomed her powerful voice. She is devoted to her children and also very much in touch with the energies of the Greenwood and respectful of the Otherworld, hence Bert’s assignment to the party. Moyer’s Sherwood is a place of magic populated by various creatures and beings, including many kinds of Fae from the lesser goblins and piskies to the powerful Lordly Ones. There is also a wise dragon who serves as the secret Guardian of Sherwood.I love historical fiction and felt Moyer seamlessly blended realistic aspects of life in medieval England with its rich folklore and mythology. I hadn’t expected such a strong fantasy element but welcomed it; especially Moyer’s powerful portrayal of Faerie expressing the sense of their otherness and often inimical attitude towards humankind.‘Brightfall’ proved a highly engaging and entertaining novel, tragic and bittersweet in places but also hopeful and uplifting. There is humour as well, much of it provided by ‘Bert’, who after Marian was my favourite character. I was also very fond of their animal companions: Julian, Jack’s enthusiastic dog always eager to chase after lesser woodland fae, and Bridget, a vixen loyal to Marian and her children.Each chapter began with a short extract of poetry, ballads, and the like that reflected the themes of the novel. It was a small yet much appreciated detail.I was sad for this wonderful novel to end and certainly will be interested in reading more of her work.I have been a long time fan of the ‘Robin of Sherwood’ series created by the late Richard Carpenter. Many of my friends are also very drawn to the tales of Robin Hood and I will be looking forward to having them read this when published and discussing. Given Moyer’s beautiful and lyrical language and ‘Brightfall’s’ rich imagery I am hoping that her publishers will be releasing this novel in audiobook format.Very highly recommended.
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  • Lynne
    January 1, 1970
    (Content Note: there is offscreen child death in this novel.)I absolutely loved this. I've long been a fan of Jaime Lee Moyer's work, because her characters are so well rounded that they feel like people you're sitting and having tea with. This novel does that with characters that we think we already know. If you ever wondered what happened to Maid Marian and Robin Hood after their happily ever after, this is a murder mystery set in Sherwood from Marian's point of view, roughly 10 years after th (Content Note: there is offscreen child death in this novel.)I absolutely loved this. I've long been a fan of Jaime Lee Moyer's work, because her characters are so well rounded that they feel like people you're sitting and having tea with. This novel does that with characters that we think we already know. If you ever wondered what happened to Maid Marian and Robin Hood after their happily ever after, this is a murder mystery set in Sherwood from Marian's point of view, roughly 10 years after the stories we are familiar with take place. The Merry Men have all settled down into their lives and livelihoods. And now they and some of their family members have been murdered, and it's up to Marian to solve the mystery. Faerie is very plausibly involved, which makes things even more complicated.Stories are tidy; people are messy. This is a gorgeously written, well-paced exploration of a bunch of messy people trying to make sense of -- and the best of -- an "adventure" they never signed up for, and Marian's voice is particularly resonant for this reader. Marian's older, wiser, and has been through significant heartbreak.This is a novel about resilience, about the costs of doing what must be done, relationships that get broken, repaired, and find a way forward, and about how your story doesn't necessarily end just because other people assume it has. Highly, highly recommended.
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  • Jeannie Zelos
    January 1, 1970
    Brightfall, Jaime Lee MoyerReview from Jeannie Zelos book reviewsctionGenre: Sci-fi and FantasyAs a child I adored Robin hood and the merry men, so when I saw this I was keen to read. I'm really conflicted though, TBH if it wasn't about Robin and co I'd have enjoyed it far more but for me its Robin and Marion and a HEA and its hard to see them apart. Even harder is the ar se Robin has become. He's like a spoiled child, afraid of his own shadow, sullen, rude to everyone and with a really Entitled Brightfall, Jaime Lee MoyerReview from Jeannie Zelos book reviewsctionGenre: Sci-fi and FantasyAs a child I adored Robin hood and the merry men, so when I saw this I was keen to read. I'm really conflicted though, TBH if it wasn't about Robin and co I'd have enjoyed it far more but for me its Robin and Marion and a HEA and its hard to see them apart. Even harder is the ar se Robin has become. He's like a spoiled child, afraid of his own shadow, sullen, rude to everyone and with a really Entitled sense of self. I just didn't recognise him from the Robin I remembered. That spoiled the whole book for me sadly :-( Its a really well written novel, fabulous characters, human, Fae and otherwise. I loved Marion, a strong lady, devoted to her twins, always ready to help others, doesn't need a man but enjoys being part of a couple. I liked seeing her skill at Craft, the stuff that's kept Robin and his crew alive for so long, and now he sees it as Devils work. It just seemed so wrong the way he saw Marion, when from my memories he respected and adored her. Likewise he didn't seem to have any respect for the men who he lived with, the band that were such a close knit group, who valued each other, had each others backs always. The story took turns I didn't expect, and was full of surprises, especially the culprit and the reasons. That came as a real shock. There were criticisms by another reviewer over the types of Fae brought in that served no real purpose and I wouldn't disagree with that. The story didn't need those additions, they simply detracted IMO. Likewise the Fae – all powerful and yet Marion, skilled in craft though she was, seemed to be able to work round them pretty easily. Sometimes it was made clear it had taken effort but others it was just too easy for her...again, that's just how it felt to me. Stars: Three, if it hadn't been Robin and the gang I think I'd rate it higher, probably a five. Its a great read, but for me Robin being such a drag, so surly and rude really brought the story went down. ARC via netgalley and publishers
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  • Patrice Sarath
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this story. You know how in some books you know the characters and the world live on even when you’ve finished the book? Brightfall is like that. The world and characters are so strong and beautifully drawn that I could imagine them going about their lives after the last page of the book, continuing to feel, to sorrow, to heal, and perhaps to love again. This is a lovely book. Highly recommend for fans of fantasy, Robin Hood myths, and the old ballads. This book goes on my keeper shelf.
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  • Anya
    January 1, 1970
    I love this so so much. It blew me off my socks with it's lovable characters. Besides all your standard Robin Hood/Maid Marian characters we got an adorable vixen called Bridget, a hound named Julian, Marlowe the dragon and even Marian's children. All the sidekicks gave the story this extra magic to it.It reads like a re-telling/fairytale paired with adventure and a bit of thriller.I flew through this and at some point I'll re-read it, which is the highest rating I personally can give a book.5 s I love this so so much. It blew me off my socks with it's lovable characters. Besides all your standard Robin Hood/Maid Marian characters we got an adorable vixen called Bridget, a hound named Julian, Marlowe the dragon and even Marian's children. All the sidekicks gave the story this extra magic to it.It reads like a re-telling/fairytale paired with adventure and a bit of thriller.I flew through this and at some point I'll re-read it, which is the highest rating I personally can give a book.5 stars and re-read-worthy.Thank you Netgalley for providing me with an eARC.All opinions expressed are entirely my own.
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  • Juliet McKenna
    January 1, 1970
    Even experienced writers are setting themselves a high bar when it comes to finding an original and unexpected perspective on a myth as well-known and as oft-told as Robin Hood. Moyer more than succeeds in this, and does a whole lot of other interesting things with this story as well. Highly recommended as an entertaining and exciting read, that will leave you looking at the nature of heroism from some very different angles.
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  • Fran
    January 1, 1970
    This is so much fun! A gorgeous concept, beautifully rendered by my friend Jaime Lee Moyer.
  • Nicki Markus
    January 1, 1970
    I found Brightfall an immensely fun and entertaining read. It's not a retelling per se, as all the events from standard Robin Hood stories have taken place prior to those in this story, but it does take familiar characters and show them in a new light. Marian is very much the central figure here, and I enjoyed Moyer's portrayal of her as a strong, independent woman. My favourite character was Bert, though I do wish Marian had given him a nobler-sounding name. Every time she addressed him I wante I found Brightfall an immensely fun and entertaining read. It's not a retelling per se, as all the events from standard Robin Hood stories have taken place prior to those in this story, but it does take familiar characters and show them in a new light. Marian is very much the central figure here, and I enjoyed Moyer's portrayal of her as a strong, independent woman. My favourite character was Bert, though I do wish Marian had given him a nobler-sounding name. Every time she addressed him I wanted to laugh at the thought of a Fae lord being called Bert! The fantasy elements were central to the story and worked well within the historical setting, the prose was engaging, and the action nicely paced. I would definitely read more from this author in the future. 4.5 stars.I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • S. Naomi Scott
    January 1, 1970
    ** DISCLAIMER: I was provided with an advanced reading copy of this book by the publisher (via Amazon Vine) in return for an honest review. **I’m not going to lie, I really wasn’t impressed with this book. It’s got so many faults and flaws that the few shining moments it does have don’t really raise it above a two-star rating, in my opinion. And honestly, this is a hell of a shame, because the basic premise has so much promise and so much to offer.Robin Hood and his Merry Men have broken up and ** DISCLAIMER: I was provided with an advanced reading copy of this book by the publisher (via Amazon Vine) in return for an honest review. **I’m not going to lie, I really wasn’t impressed with this book. It’s got so many faults and flaws that the few shining moments it does have don’t really raise it above a two-star rating, in my opinion. And honestly, this is a hell of a shame, because the basic premise has so much promise and so much to offer.Robin Hood and his Merry Men have broken up and gone their separate ways. Robin himself has retreated to a monastery to seek forgiveness for his sins, Tuck has become Abbott of St Mary’s Abbey in Nottingham, Little John’s got married and started a farm, and Marian has settled down to a simple life as the local witch of Sherwood with her two children and a seriously smart vixen. One day, Marian is visited by Timothy, one of Tuck’s junior monks, who brings bad news – apparently someone seems to be going around killing her old friends in mysterious ways, with Will (presumably Scarlet) being the most recent.After pressing the monk for as much information as he can provide, Marian agrees to meet up with Tuck three days later at a tavern in Nottingham, giving her time to wander off to the local stone circle where she summons up a fae Lady and her retinue to find out if they can shed some light on what’s going on. There’s a run-in with an obnoxious brat of a fae girl and the fae Lady gives Marian a promise of protection, and then suddenly Marian’s off to see the local guardian of Sherwood, who just happens to be a dragon.See, this is one of the many problems I have with this book. The fae are initially introduced as these powerful, dangerous spirits who shouldn’t be treated lightly, and yet at several points throughout the narrative Marian barely raises a sweat dealing with them. She even ends up with a fae Lord accompanying her on her journey. The dragon (whose name is Marlow) shows up briefly in the beginning, with Marian tending to an injured wing, and then turns up again at the end of the story but doesn’t seem to serve any purpose other than to tick a trope box. The same goes for the brief appearance of the wholly unthreatening griffin, the slightly out-of-place mermaids who’ve made their home in the River Sheaf, and old mother Grindylow and her children that the heroes encounter on the outskirts of Sheffield market. None of these encounters seem to offer more than a cursory challenge to the protagonists and then they’re gone.Another problem I have is the historical and geographical accuracy. Now, it may just be because I grew up in this area and spent a fair bit of my life studying the local history and geography, but the author gets so many things wrong in this book. I’m not saying there wasn’t a stone circle in Sherwood back at the start of the Thirteenth Century, but if there was it’s not one I’ve heard of. The nearest one I can think of is Nine Ladies, which is about thirty miles from Nottingham on Stanton Moor. Then there’s Tuck’s Abbey, St Mary’s in Nottingham. Unfortunately, according to folklore the St Mary’s Abbey connected with Tuck was all the way up in York, and while there is a St. Mary’s in Nottingham it’s never been an Abbey.The author also seems to have a problem with geography. It takes Marian and her entourage a few days to get from Hucknall (where Little John lives) to Mansfield. That’s a massive hike of all of nine miles for those who don’t want to break out Google maps, and even allowing for the fact the land was covered in greenwood at the time that still wouldn’t take most people more than half a day to walk. There are other confusing geographical problems, such as the cliffs and waterfalls they pass as they follow the River Sheaf, but for me the worst part is the very inclusion of Sheffield in the first place.Look, back in the thirteenth century Sheffield was pretty much nothing more than a wooden castle sitting on the confluence of the Don and Sheaf, with a small hamlet of huts and taverns clustered nearby for the protection the castle afforded. But in this book Sheffield is described as a bustling metropolis with busy streets and a thriving market economy, and absolutely no mention whatsoever of the castle. Now, call me a pedant, but this was the last straw in a book full of particularly troubling straws. My disbelief has been far from suspended by this book.I’m not saying it’s all bad. There are some nice touches in the background detail and it’s clear the author has tried very hard to make this at least somewhat historically accurate, but for me it could have done with much deeper research and much better exploration of the local geography. The character of Marian is well written and presents us with a strong female heroine that’s far more than just the usual kick-ass woman with a sword, and the interplay between her, Jack and Bert is engaging. This is why I’m giving this two stars, and not the one star I was leaning towards when I initially turned the last page in the book. I can kind of see why so many other readers have fallen in love with this book, but for me the lack of accuracy was enough to make me less than interested in further adventures of Maid Marian at this time.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    The story starts roughly 12 years after the 'Robin Hood' tale we all know and love. When Marion found out she was pregnant, Robin left her, got their marriage annulled and joined the church. Now Father Tuck brings bad tidings to Marions doorstep. Will Scarlet, and many more of the Merry Men have died under suspicious circumstances. Knowing Tuck would only bring this to her if he suspected magic, Marion sets off to find the reason behind these mysterious deaths before any more of her friends meet The story starts roughly 12 years after the 'Robin Hood' tale we all know and love. When Marion found out she was pregnant, Robin left her, got their marriage annulled and joined the church. Now Father Tuck brings bad tidings to Marions doorstep. Will Scarlet, and many more of the Merry Men have died under suspicious circumstances. Knowing Tuck would only bring this to her if he suspected magic, Marion sets off to find the reason behind these mysterious deaths before any more of her friends meet their end, and on the way she will meet a mysterious Fae lord, and possibly the one man who can heal her broken heart.Wow! This book was everything I love in a good retelling. Mythical, magical and mysterious, I found myself flying through the pages, following Marion on her journey to save her friends. I loved how Moyer managed to mix the original story line with the magical world of Sherwood forest she weaves. Mixing well loved characters with new ones that enter our hearts just as fully. Marion is such a strong heroine. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story from her perspective, hearing about her blind love for Robin, without knowing much about the man underneath the myth. Having not seen him since their children had been born, being thrust together on this mission makes her truly look at the man she once blindly adored and realise that she might not have truly known him at all. She shows her strength through her resilience to Robins barbs about her magic, her willingness to thrust herself into danger to save the ones she loves and her absolute faith that she will find the perpetrator before any more of their friends or family die.Marion is by far the main character, though she does travel with a trio of men, a fox and a dog. Robin is not the lovable rogue we remember him to be. Sure that Marion will rot in hell for her use of witchcraft, his blind loyalty to god and the secrets her carries make for a shocking ending to the book. Uncle Burt as we know him is the Fae lord sent to ensure Marion finds the cause of these deaths, Jack is someone who is unwittingly roped into the scheme. Having the 'sight' makes him an invaluable asset and Marion may depend on him more than she realises. Finally Beatrice the fox and Julian the dog, both blessed with the sight and serve as warning beacons to any approaching danger. Marion would never have been able to complete the quest without her own band of 'merry men.' Each having an important part to play in the plot.The writing in this book is sublime. Wonderfully lyrical, the authors descriptions had me travelling right alongside the group. At points the book was increasingly intense and I found myself at the edge of my seat unsure whether I would get the outcome I wanted. With plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing, you're never quite sure who is behind the attacks until bam! The author drops the bomb and you look back at the whole book realising it was pretty much in front of your face the whole time.This was an easy 5/5 for me. Perfect for fans of Naomi Novik or Katherine Arden. This is a truly magical retelling of a treasured story we all know and love. I will definitely be picking up more of the authors books after finishing this.
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  • Pile By the Bed
    January 1, 1970
    Jaime Lee Moyer revisits the story of Robin Hood in her new novel Brightfall. Set twelve years after the events that are commonly known from the folk tales, Brightfall takes a more fantastical approach to the material and is also a murder mystery of sorts, a combination that Moyer manages to slip easily into the setting.The book opens with Marian, who lives with her two children in the heart of Sherwood Forest receiving some devastating news. Will Scarlett is dead from mysterious causes. This is Jaime Lee Moyer revisits the story of Robin Hood in her new novel Brightfall. Set twelve years after the events that are commonly known from the folk tales, Brightfall takes a more fantastical approach to the material and is also a murder mystery of sorts, a combination that Moyer manages to slip easily into the setting.The book opens with Marian, who lives with her two children in the heart of Sherwood Forest receiving some devastating news. Will Scarlett is dead from mysterious causes. This is just one of many deaths of the gang that used to run with them (the Merry Men), deaths that include the young son of their old compatriot, John . Abbot Tuck suspects sourcery and Marian being a witch, her believes that she can help investigate. On her way to see him, Marian pauses to commune with the Fae, seeking their protection for her children. And when she arrives she is partnered with her estranged husband Robin, who years before had sought an annulment of their marriage and took himself to a monastery.As Marian and Robin start to investigate the deaths they find evidence of dangerous magic associated with the fairy folk. The pair pick up travelling companions as they go including the consort of the fairy queen, a former soldier, a dog and a fox. All of these are needed as they face off against a range of mythical creatures (griffins, grindylows) and evil magic in their search for the killers. By focussing on Marian, Moyer gives a new twist and insight into the original Robin Hood story without rehashing it or slavishly following it. The biggest problem with this book is the character of Robin – moody, rude and unhelpful despite the threat to his family and old friends. While this, and his history with Marian, is eventually explained, it is a tough trip to get there.Brightfall is an interesting mix of genres. Historical, traditional fantasy with a hint of murder mystery thrown in. The fantasy elements fundamentally confound the mystery elements. Once the fae character, who can see glimpses of the future, is introduced it feels like the die is cast. He constantly makes suggestions, who should join them and where they should go, because of this power, which drive the plot forward. He also, as it turns out, knows exactly what is going on but feels it is better if Marian works it out for herself. So that much of the middle section of the book becomes Marian’s journey of discovery of information that other characters she is travelling with knew all along, which makes it feel a little frustrating in retrospect.By playing with a well known folk tale and twists it in new and interesting directions through fantastical folk elements, Brightfall is generally an effective and original fantasy.
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  • S.J. Higbee
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this set-up. Robin has retreated to a monastery, deserting his wife and children after mysteriously going missing. Marion manages to provide a living for herself and the twins by selling her salves and potions, as well as doing a bit of healing as a respected witch. In fact it’s this reputation that brings Abbot Tuck to her door, urgently requesting her help with reports that much-loved friends have died in mysterious circumstances.Moyer effectively establishes Marion’s character so that I loved this set-up. Robin has retreated to a monastery, deserting his wife and children after mysteriously going missing. Marion manages to provide a living for herself and the twins by selling her salves and potions, as well as doing a bit of healing as a respected witch. In fact it’s this reputation that brings Abbot Tuck to her door, urgently requesting her help with reports that much-loved friends have died in mysterious circumstances.Moyer effectively establishes Marion’s character so that I quickly bonded with her, feeling her anger and pain over Robin’s desertion, alongside her gritted determination to go on providing a good life for her children. The medieval world is well depicted and provides a strong backdrop for the magical shenanigans that are going on. The stakes steadily rise as it becomes apparent that this enemy attacking and destroying Robin’s former comrades, or those dearest to them, is using dark, powerful magic. I liked the fact that Marion isn’t some super-powerful practitioner, but also needs extra help from one of the Fae court, determined to uncover who is prepared to murder children to garner yet more twisted power.Marion is forced to leave her own children behind as she goes on a desperate quest to hunt down this shadowy magic-user – and is also forced to spend time alongside Robin… Will the danger they are in give them a chance to get together once again? I was intrigued to see if this would happen – and you’ll have to read the book to find out.There was plenty of action and danger in this gripping read. But alongside all the adventure, there was a strong poignant sadness for a brave band of young men fired up by the wicked injustice of King John’s rule to help those poorer than themselves, accompanied by an equally brave young woman whose craft kept them out of the hands of the Kings men more than once… Life hasn’t been kind to the main protagonists in those tales – and while I rolled my eyes at Robin’s behaviour, I was also aware that the terrible situation he found himself in required a different form of bravery. The kind that those endowed with lots of physical courage often lack…This one has stayed with me since I finished reading it and while there are a couple of minor niggles – which I don’t want to discuss as they drift into Spoiler territory – it wasn’t a dealbreaker. This is a gripping adventure with a haunting backstory which I hope will lead to a second book in this intriguing world. The ebook arc copy of Brightfall was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest opinion of the book.9/10
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  • Micha Sevier
    January 1, 1970
    Having been abandoned by her husband Robin Hood twelve years previously, Marian lives in the forest with her children. She leads a quiet life, practicing her craft and caring for her family. Marian’s life is turned upside down when old friend Father Tuck gives her the devastating news that many of their old friends have recently been found dead. With her gift of magic, Marian is the only one of their surviving friends able to discover and deal with whoever is responsible for the deaths. Tuck sen Having been abandoned by her husband Robin Hood twelve years previously, Marian lives in the forest with her children. She leads a quiet life, practicing her craft and caring for her family. Marian’s life is turned upside down when old friend Father Tuck gives her the devastating news that many of their old friends have recently been found dead. With her gift of magic, Marian is the only one of their surviving friends able to discover and deal with whoever is responsible for the deaths. Tuck sends Marian on a quest for truth, with estranged husband Robin sent to protect her. Along the way they pick up further mismatched companions; a jaded soldier and a Fey lord. I really enjoyed this book. The story is well-paced and very readable. It takes familiar characters from myth and adds strong fantasy elements; fantastic creatures, magic, and the intrigue of the Fey court. Although the shared past of the familiar characters brings them together for the story, the events take place after any Robin Hood stories that I’m familiar with so it almost felt that the characters could have been anyone and the story would still have worked. That being said, the famous Sherwood Forest is a character itself and a huge part of the story. I loved the magic system and lore of the story and how Marian’s use of magic was described. I also really liked Marian as a character, and felt empathy for her with her sorrows, fears, and small joys. I also really enjoyed the Fey Lord character, who is a well-written, captivating trickster. It was interesting to see the famous character Robin Hood in such a different state to other portrayals; now a fearful, repentant, man of God. The setting is vivid with the sense of magic, mystery and increasing danger in the forest. I thought the historical elements were well-incorporated, with the descriptions of the towns and religious buildings. I’m not sure if this book would appeal to all fans of the Robin Hood myth, particularly as the Robin in this story is a shell of his former self. And the mentions and meetings of the former Merry Men are quite brief. However, I would recommend it to fans of the character of Marian, and to anyone who enjoys mysteries full of magic, danger, and intrigue. Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this title.
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  • Vicky
    January 1, 1970
    I can imagine the pitch for this book. What if… Maid Marian was a witch, and Robin Hood had fairies? It sounds like it shouldn’t really work on paper, but it really does. In this alternate universe, the Merry Men have disbanded. Ten years later, Marian has two children by Robin, but Robin ran off and left her a few months before they were born.Now, the Merry Men are dying, and Marian wants to get to the bottom of it, before her own children come into danger. It’s time to find Robin again- even i I can imagine the pitch for this book. What if… Maid Marian was a witch, and Robin Hood had fairies? It sounds like it shouldn’t really work on paper, but it really does. In this alternate universe, the Merry Men have disbanded. Ten years later, Marian has two children by Robin, but Robin ran off and left her a few months before they were born.Now, the Merry Men are dying, and Marian wants to get to the bottom of it, before her own children come into danger. It’s time to find Robin again- even if he doesn’t want to speak to her- and dive into the world of the fae.This is definitely a fun take on the Robin Hood myth. Setting the whole thing ten years after the Merry Men have disbanded gives the whole book a weight that it probably wouldn’t otherwise have. All the characters have baggage, which makes their exchanges a lot more fun to read about, as you try and unpick a relationship ten years in the making.That relationship becomes a lot more complicated when it comes to Robin. My only (slight) quibble is that in this version of events he’s a bitter old man who despises Marian and everything she stands for. For the first half of the book, this is fun. But for the rest, it gets tired, and it stretches credulity. Why would Marian have been with him in the first place if he hated her so much? And though Moyer attempts to redeem Robin towards the end of the book, it comes too little, too late. It would have been fun to poke some more chinks in his armour earlier on, so he and Marian could develop their relationship a little more.That aside, I loved everything else about the novel. Moyer seamlessly blends medieval England with the world of the fae: Nottingham is invaded by malicious faeries, Marian must navigate the complex world of court alliances, and they are joined on their quest by a mysterious fae Lord who takes pleasure in teasing Robin. And while the ending is a tad predictable, it’s still a good read.
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  • Sadie Slater
    January 1, 1970
    Jaime Lee Moyer's Brightfall is a fantasy novel inspired by Robin Hood. Rather than revisiting the familiar legends, it's set some twelve years later, when the Merry Men have settled back into normal life. Robin has retreated into a monastery, abandoning Marian to bring up their two children without him. Her peaceful life in the forest with her children is interrupted when she receives the news that several of her old friends have died in mysterious circumstances. Abbot Tuck suspects a curse, an Jaime Lee Moyer's Brightfall is a fantasy novel inspired by Robin Hood. Rather than revisiting the familiar legends, it's set some twelve years later, when the Merry Men have settled back into normal life. Robin has retreated into a monastery, abandoning Marian to bring up their two children without him. Her peaceful life in the forest with her children is interrupted when she receives the news that several of her old friends have died in mysterious circumstances. Abbot Tuck suspects a curse, and asks Marian to use her magical powers and craft to track down the killer.I liked this a lot; it's an enjoyable new take on a well-known story, with an engaging plot and interesting, likeable characters. (And of course, I'm always predisposed to like fantasy with older female protagonists.) Moyer mixes the Robin Hood legends with fairytale elements; magic, mythical beasts and a Fae Court that reminded me of 'Thomas the Rhymer' to tell a story about love and loss and moving on. I had some minor niggles, both historical (I don't think a 13th-century miller would actually be selling flour, rather than the services of the mill) and geographical (it being two full days' walk from Hucknall, north of Nottingham, to Mansfield, when Google Maps tells me they're only nine miles apart), but they certainly weren't enough to stop me enjoying the novel. I don't think it's necessarily a book that will stay with me for a long time, but I was in the mood for some fluffy, undemanding fantasy after reading The Handmaid's Tale, and this definitely fit the bill.(I would note that Brightfall does include the death of a child, so may not seem as fluffy to those who are sensitive to that in books.)Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a free eARC for review.
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  • Karina
    January 1, 1970
    Not all is well in Nottingham forest. Several ex-Merry Men,companions of Robin Hood, and their family members are found dead. The circumstances are a bit suspicious as they are all found staring in the void without any visible cause of death. Robin has left his Marian(and their two children )some twelve years previously and entered a monastery(where Brother Tuck is the abbot).Why he did so is not very clear,at least not at the beginning..So Brother Tuck asks Marian, who is a wise woman with the Not all is well in Nottingham forest. Several ex-Merry Men,companions of Robin Hood, and their family members are found dead. The circumstances are a bit suspicious as they are all found staring in the void without any visible cause of death. Robin has left his Marian(and their two children )some twelve years previously and entered a monastery(where Brother Tuck is the abbot).Why he did so is not very clear,at least not at the beginning..So Brother Tuck asks Marian, who is a wise woman with the "sight", to find some information. This quickly leads her to the Fae,basically a parallel world inhabited by,of course the Fae,but which is also steeped in rather amazing magic. The Lady Fae also asks Marian for her help because they too are worried about those killings. So an improbable fellowship is formed:Marian, a very reluctant Robin,Jack,a family member of one of the victims,Bert,a rather flamboyant Fae,Birgit,a real vixen and Julian,a more than adorable dog.This is basically an adventure story immersed in magic,extraordinary powers and a bit more magic. It has so much potential but it is a bit long winded. When Marian encounters yet another site of dark (or not) magic the details are so extensive that they interfere with the flow and the rhythm of the story which is a pity because it is really a good storyline. But nobody wants to skip passages because they are not always relevant or even very interesting. That said,the flow picks up at the very end but leaves the reader with some serious questions. I could be wrong,but I think a follow up is a possibility...So,all in all,good storyline,interesting characters but way,way too much descriptions and details.
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  • Nicola Bennett
    January 1, 1970
    As I was reading this book I could see it as a movie. The lush descriptions of the surroundings were some of the parts I enjoyed the most and would make lovely images. And the pacing and construction of the confrontations increased as the chapters rolled by. Although described as a Robin Hood and Maid Marian book, he is a secondary character, using the parts of the legend that describe him as a member of the nobility, and in this telling he has retired to a monastery. The main character is Maid As I was reading this book I could see it as a movie. The lush descriptions of the surroundings were some of the parts I enjoyed the most and would make lovely images. And the pacing and construction of the confrontations increased as the chapters rolled by. Although described as a Robin Hood and Maid Marian book, he is a secondary character, using the parts of the legend that describe him as a member of the nobility, and in this telling he has retired to a monastery. The main character is Maid Marian who is struck by tragedy, and has a mystery to solve in order to prevent future tragedies. The actual mystery is fairly transparent, but the journey on the way to solve it visits other Merry Men characters, and also involves interactions with the Fae. Robin′s motivations throughout the book seem obscure, and I kept expecting more of an explanation of his actions. He is as perhaps as reticent as a noble monk would be expected to be, but I did feel that the emotions of all the characters were not very deep. Or I failed to connect with their emotions which is why I didn′t give it a higher star rating.I finished up thinking that this did not need to be a Robin Hood book, it would have worked as a standalone story, and might even have worked better for me.(I received this book free from Netgalley.)
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  • Annarella
    January 1, 1970
    I fell in love with the cover and then I fell in love with this book.I was hooked after a few pages and couldn't put it down till the end.It's a mix of fantasy, old legends, and women's fiction. I loved all the part but I was impress by the attention to the relationship, the family, and the changes and path to healing of the characters.The world building is interesting because it is based on the Robin Hood legend but with a modern take.Robin Hood is not the perfect hero we learnt to love but an I fell in love with the cover and then I fell in love with this book.I was hooked after a few pages and couldn't put it down till the end.It's a mix of fantasy, old legends, and women's fiction. I loved all the part but I was impress by the attention to the relationship, the family, and the changes and path to healing of the characters.The world building is interesting because it is based on the Robin Hood legend but with a modern take.Robin Hood is not the perfect hero we learnt to love but an anguished and complex man, a man that has to face his own demons and not hiding behind the religion.Marian is a strong women who is trying to stop the killing of her friends and to heal ancient and new wounds.There's a lot of characters development and all the characters are fleshed out and well written.The world building is fascinating and interesting because it's modern and ancient at the same time, mixing different legends and making them new and modern.The plot is fast paced, it keeps you hooked and entertained till the last page.I'd love to read other books featuring this characters because I love them and rooted for them.Highly recommended!Many thanks to Quercus Books and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    I have to admit that I don’t read a huge amount of fantasy, so I was coming at this with a certain amount of naivety about what to expect. I’d been attracted to the book because I’ve visited Sherwood before and always loved the takes about Robin Hood. The book began well enough. Marian is now estranged from Robin and lives with her small children in the forest. Friar Tuck visits her to bring news that a number of the Merry Men have been killed and asks for her help to find out what’s happened. O I have to admit that I don’t read a huge amount of fantasy, so I was coming at this with a certain amount of naivety about what to expect. I’d been attracted to the book because I’ve visited Sherwood before and always loved the takes about Robin Hood. The book began well enough. Marian is now estranged from Robin and lives with her small children in the forest. Friar Tuck visits her to bring news that a number of the Merry Men have been killed and asks for her help to find out what’s happened. One of the murdered includes Will Scarlett, who had been her lover. After a bit of toing and froing, Marian is joined by Robin, a warrior called Jack and Bert, a fae lord in an attempt to find the killer and stop them. The novel wasn’t hard to read, the writing is engaging and Marian is a sympathetic character. Sadly good characterisation was let down by a plot that made little sense and the uneven (and at times glacial) pacing as well as unresolved issues at the end. It got to the stage where I would have happily shot Robin with one of his own arrows if he didn’t stop stalking about like a petulant teenager. And he didn’t. Not one for me and I fear there will be a sequel.
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  • Christina Reid
    January 1, 1970
    I had to read this because I loved the legends about Robin Hood growing up and always particularly liked The Forestwife Trilogy, which retells events from Marian's point of view.This story is set 12 years after the stories we all know and love, when Robin has left Marian and his children and retreated to a monastery. When people connected to him mysteriously start turning up dead, Friar Tuck approaches Marian, an accomplished wise woman or witch, to get to the bottom of the murders. It being her I had to read this because I loved the legends about Robin Hood growing up and always particularly liked The Forestwife Trilogy, which retells events from Marian's point of view.This story is set 12 years after the stories we all know and love, when Robin has left Marian and his children and retreated to a monastery. When people connected to him mysteriously start turning up dead, Friar Tuck approaches Marian, an accomplished wise woman or witch, to get to the bottom of the murders. It being her friends and loved ones who are being targeted, all with connections to Robin Hood, Marian fears for the lives of her children, so she calls on the fae for help.This was one of my favourite elements of this story - the inclusion of the fae, alongside lots of other creatures from folklore and the references to some people having the Sight. Unfortunately, Robin Hood is a shadow of his former self and was an intensely irritating character to read, perhaps because our narrator is Marian, who has been hurt multiple times by his actions.Full review to come next week!4.5 stars
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    A fantasy mystery story featuring the 'characters' from the Robin Hood tale. Set 12 years after the events in the traditional story, this novel sees Marian as the main protagonist, setting out to solve a series of unexplained deaths. These deaths have no rational explanation other than each victim has a connection to Robin Hood. With the help of Robin, and others who join them along the way, including a fairy lord, Marian uses her magical abilities to discover the truth about the killings.This s A fantasy mystery story featuring the 'characters' from the Robin Hood tale. Set 12 years after the events in the traditional story, this novel sees Marian as the main protagonist, setting out to solve a series of unexplained deaths. These deaths have no rational explanation other than each victim has a connection to Robin Hood. With the help of Robin, and others who join them along the way, including a fairy lord, Marian uses her magical abilities to discover the truth about the killings.This started off with so much potential, I was really looking forward to reading it. However, it soon became clear that there wasn't much substance to the story. It plodded along, more as a descriptive piece of writing rather than a plot driven narrative. The characters lacked depth. Robin Hood was arrogant, sanctimonious and irritating. Marion was more like an over-confident teenage witch with spells and charms than a mature wise-woman.A disappointing read.I received a free review copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest and unedited review.
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