The Ghosts of Sherwood – Carrie Vaughn

Long time no read! I’ve been occupied with a migraine for the past week, so I haven’t managed to write up any reviews, but I do have some fun things planned for the days to come! I’m hoping that I can catch up over the course of the next few days given that I will be home rather than going to New York for BookCon (SOB – good for my wallet and bookshelf but I’m upset about missing out on the trip, NYC and all the BOOKS). But I’ve still been reading a lot during lockdown, much of it medieval-inspired – can you tell that I’ve started on my dissertation? One of those books was The Ghosts of Sherwood by Carrie Vaughn.

Thank you so much to Tor.com and Netgalley for providing me with an eARC of this novella in exchange for an honest review!

RELEASE DATE: 09/06/20

STAR RATING: 4/5 ✶

SUMMARY: Everything about Father is stories.

Robin of Locksley and his one true love, Marian, are married. It has been close on two decades since they beat the Sheriff of Nottingham with the help of a diverse band of talented friends. King John is now on the throne, and Robin has sworn fealty in order to further protect not just his family, but those of the lords and barons who look up to him – and, by extension, the villagers they protect.

There is a truce. An uneasy one, to be sure, but a truce, nonetheless.

But when the Locksley children are stolen away by persons unknown, Robin and Marian are going to need the help of everyone they’ve ever known, perhaps even the ghosts that are said to reside deep within Sherwood.

And the Locksley children, despite appearances to the contrary, are not without tricks of their own… (from Macmillan)

OPINIONS: The Ghosts of Sherwood is a really short novella. Even for Tor.com standards, it is a slim volume – their website says that the print version is just 128 pages. So it’s a very quick read, and I’m happy to say that it’s sequel will already be released in August, which means that there shouldn’t be too much of a wait in between volumes.

This version of the Robin Hood legend takes the story as we know it for granted, and uses it as a building block to put its own twist on the legend. Robin has grown up and become respectable, and built a family with Marian, as well as sworn fealty to King John. Many of the Merry Men known from the various stories are mentioned, though not quite all of them have turned respectable with Robin, leading to the mysterious Ghost of Sherwood Forest… It is interesting how this novella deals with the legendary nature of its characters within the text itself. While the Locksley family is very much aware of the stories and tales, it seems that Robin is trying his best to distance himself from who he used to be and re-brand himself a respectable man, someone to be taken seriously within Anglo-Norman society.

The Locksley children are adorable, and I enjoyed reading about them, and their different personalities. Mary, John and Eleanor are all interesting in their own way, and I’m not sure I could pick a favourite between feisty Mary and clever, underestimated Eleanor. However, the plot is a bit too deus-ex-machina at times, which is likely due to the extremely short format of the novella. A few thousand extra words of space would have allowed the story to develop more organically and helped add another layer to The Ghosts of Sherwood.

All in all, I really enjoyed my brief visit to medieval Nottingham in The Ghosts of Sherwood a lot, and I do recommend you pick up this novella if you feel like time travelling too! Add it on Goodreads here, and pre-order it from Blackwell’s or your local indie of choice.

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