As you can see by the title, this story is the author's version of Robin Hood. The story focuses on Matty, or, Maid Marian. Her mother was murdered by Guy of Gisborne before she turned ten, and her father taught her to read, write, and be a falconer. As the story progresses, Matty becomes closer to the four falcons that she and her father have left, even to the point that she is able to talk to them in their own language. Meanwhile, the English are getting poorer and poorer. King Richard is away on the Cruasdes, and Prince John is taking advantage of his older brother's absence. Matty's best friend, Fynn, and his friends start a troop of outlaws, stealing from the rich to give to the starving poor. But when King Richard is captured, can the friends find a king's ransom?
I was very much impressed by this book. One - because I wasn't expecting to find anything appropriate, let alone, good, in my library's young adult section. Two - because the story was interesting and because of the Catholic content. I certainly was not expecting the latter!
The book sucks in the reader right away. There are only traces of romance in the book, almost nothing to speak of - THANK GOD THAT THIS AUTHOR CAN PUT ROMANCE IN A BOOK WITHOUT...well, without writing what most teen authors do nowadays. However, I was a little disappointed by the ending. I was hoping Matty and Fynn (aka Robin) would swear their undying love to each other...get married...something like that. Instead, they just tell the other that they love him/her, like it's not too much of a big deal. Yes, I did appreciate that the romance was only a very minor part of the book, but couldn't the author have made the ending a little more of something worthwhile?! SPOILER SELECT TO SEE: Matty has just been rescued from certain death and the book ends almost right after she wakes up!
Other than that, the book was very good. The only part that I didn't like was just that disappointing ending.
As I said above, I really liked the Catholic elements - and the forces of good vs. evil (the part about good people stealing is a point I'm a little uncomfortable with, but I'm just going to let it go in this review), even within the Church. As I hope most of you know, the Church has not been without people, who have let the devil work within them. Two Bishops are mentioned in this story - one is loyal to King Richard and a good man, the other is loyal to Prince John. Also loyal to Prince John is a very evil abbess.
Alyianna's rating: 9 out 10