It's the age-old tale of Robin Hood and the Maid Marian, retold by Robin McKinley. We are taken through the familiar scenes of Robin fleeing into Sherwood forest and inadvertently gathering up outlaws to call his own, even as he battles his own emotions to keep his band safe and his love for Marian.
I picked this book up solely because I love Robin McKinley. I think it's one of her weaker books, but I still liked it. I think it was weaker because I really don't feel as if there was a cohesive difference in her story than the folklore - besides making the story more realistic. The characters only came to life in the latter half of the book - where in the beginning, it really just felt like a narrator pulling us along. I suspect that's because of the third person omniscience and the lack of a strong voice in the beginning from Robin.
I almost felt like the story was too plot-based. It focused too much on bringing the story from one plot point to the next, all which are known because it's a retelling. Even though I eventually got to know McKinley's view of these old characters, it took a little too long to really understand.
But I love her emphasis on the women in this book. Marian and Cecily are such wonderful characters that really make this book.
Two and a half stars because I think it could have been a lot stronger in character development, but I still enjoyed reading it. Recommended for people who like Robin Hood and his merry band and retelling of old stories. Or if you're just a Robin McKinley fan.