Years ago, I devoured Robert Muchamore’s C.H.E.R.U.B. series about a group of kid spies, until I believed myself too grown up to read children’s books as I grew older. Now, supposedly adult and wise, I am happy to report that I have gotten over myself and LOVE reading children’s books again! No pretensions here, I unashamedly read whatever entertains me, I have read enough smart books to last me a lifetime (unless, of course, I want to read them for fun). And now that I am writing a dissertation on modern retellings of medieval legends, I get to claim that reading books like Robin Hood: Hacking, Heists & Flaming Arrows counts as work!
RELEASE DATE: 02/04/20
STAR RATING: 4/5 ✶
SUMMARY: Locksley City has been on a downward spiral since the last car plant closed. Schools and hospitals are falling apart, abandoned houses get trashed by vandals and the Police Department is controlled by local gangster, Guy Gisborne.
When Robin Hood’s dad speaks out against corruption, he’s framed for a robbery and thrown in jail.
Twelve-year-old Robin finds himself on the run. The only place to hide is Sherwood Forest, which stretches hundreds of kilometers, from Lake Victoria to the Eastern Delta. It’s a dangerous place, where the bears and snakes are almost as scary as the human population of bandits, terrorists, cultists and biker gangs.
Robin wants revenge on the people who threw his dad in jail. But first, he must learn to survive in the forest. (from Robert Muchamore’s website)
OPINIONS: In terms of story elements, this is a fairly close retelling of the classic tales of Robin Hood, although seamlessly transplanted into a twenty-first century setting. The only concession to the medieval origin of the legend made is Robin’s talent for archery, which he cultivates even in a time when this is rather unusual (this is even featured on the cover). As the book is based on the transposition of medieval legends onto a modern story, many of the characters are largely grounded in stereotypes of good and evil, black and white. This lack of space for gray areas is further cemented by the fact that this is a middle grade book, allowing for less nuance than adult or even YA would.
Nevertheless, it is a thrilling, fast paced read featuring a pair of charming heroes, eponymous Robin Hood and his companion Marion Maid, who is rather formidable in her own right. There is some rather interesting backstory to the villains, and I am looking forward to seeing how that is going to be explored in the coming sequel(s). In typical Muchamore fashion, there is no shying away from a bit of violence, but also a fair share of humour, and some arrows hitting in …rather unfortunate places.
I very much enjoyed returning to Muchamore’s imagination after probably almost a decade away, and I encourage you to give his latest a shot! Add it on Goodreads here, and order it from Hive or your indie of choice directly. Remember, Robin would want you to support the little people!