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Monday, December 27, 2010

HOOD by Stephen R Lawhead ~ The good, the bad, the ugly, and the end.

Stephen Lawhead is known as an accomplished fiction author who "blends Christianity, mysticism, adventure, and history seamlessly to create a wonderfully compelling story" (Barnes & Noble).

Title: Hood (Book 1 of the King Raven trilogy)

Author: Stephen R. Lawhead




Synopsis (From Amazon.co.uk):


Stephen R. Lawhead's Hood brings to life the legend of Robin Hood as never before.


The Norman conquest of England is complete - but for one young man the battle has only just begun. When Bran ap Brychan's father is murdered by Norman soldiers, he flees to London, seeking justice. The journey is long and hard - and the suffering of those he meets along the way fuels his anger.


With his demands dismissed, Bran has no choice but to return home, but a worse fate still awaits him there. His lands have been confiscated and his people subjugated by a brutal and corrupt regime.


Should Bran flee for his life or protect his people by surrendering to his father's murderers? The answer, perhaps, is known only to the Raven King - a creature of myth and magic born of the darkest shadows in the forest.

THE GOOD:

I am a total fan of the myth: Robin Hood. Thus the reason a friend gave me HOOD as a gift. He knew my passion for the story.

1 So in reading HOOD, I found that Mr. Lawhead's theological ideas made this story worth reading. His mix of historical fact, biblical truths, peppered with superstition were fun to read. I wish I'd highlighted some passages. I'll keep the book just to peruse the dialogue over and over.

2 I am excited to discover more of Stephen Lawhead. He has some other books out there I am now chomping at the bit to get my hands on. I think he has a great mind and will open a new, entertaining door to sci-fi and fantasy.

In HOOD, on Page 473, after the epilogue, there is a short writing by Mr. Lawhead: Robin Hood in Wales? I wish I could have read this first. The information he gives here, the history of the story of Robin Hood, is most interesting. Especially to me, who adores the myth called Robin Hood.

THE BAD:

I think HOOD was told from what's called "alternating points of view". The author jumped from one character's head to another, sometimes even in the same paragraph. I don't enjoy this type of storytelling. The result leaves me without bond to any one character, confused at times whose head I am in, and dreading the end of each chapter, knowing that we will start again with another character on the next page.

I know this type of storytelling shows talent. Alternating points of view are hard to write, and many of the greatest of the greats write/wrote this way.

Still, not my fave.

THE UGLY:

I did not yearn to turn the page until page 350 of this 479 page book. HOOD is an obvious first-book-to-set-up-a-series book. A classic let's-hook-them-to-buy-another-book book. This is most likely not the author's fault but the publisher and the publishing business as a whole. Its about money.

Robin Hood is a familiar tale and much to well-known to drag out.

THE END:

I am a Robin Hood fan, I will probably pick up the next book in the series. {after some other books stacked on my shelf}

However, I will pick up the next book in this series because of what I read in HOOD's epilogue; and because of the summaries I've read of other Stephen Lawhead projects, not because of the first 465 pages of HOOD Book 1 of the King Raven trilogy.

Good news is, I will, after this experience, delve into other Stephen Lawhead books. I am excited to read the other writings Stephen Lawhead has out there. Stay tuned for those reviews!

Arthur F 1989 

Avalon F 1999-09 
The Black Rood F 2000-06 
Byzantium F 1996-08
Dream Thief F 1996-06 
The Endless Knot F 1993
Grail F 1997-07
In the Hall of the Dragon King F 1982
The Iron Lance F 1998-12
Merlin F 1988
The Mystic Rose  2001-10
The Paradise War F 1991
Patrick F 2003-02
Pendragon F 1994
The Search for Fierra F 1994
The Siege of Dome F 1994 
The Silver Hand F 1992
The Skin Map SF 2010-09
The Sword and the Flame F 1984
The Tale of Jeremy Vole GF
Taliesin F 1987
The Warlords of Nin F 1983

4 comments:

Chris said...

Thanks for the review! I think I'll stick this one on my "not immediately to be read" list.

I hate omniscient POV when it's used like that... it's confusing! But I do love the Robin Hood myth, so... hmm.

Grace Bridges said...

Scarlet is a lot better. I enjoyed that one much more than Hood, which was hard to get into but as you say, a setup for what comes after.

My favourite Lawhead books are the Empyrion saga, Song of Albion, and most of the Arthurian ones, especially Taliesin, Merlin, and Avalon.

KM Wilsher said...

Chris, Thanks for stopping by fellow Robin Hood fan!

Grace, can't wait to read some more of his books. Maybe I'll try Scarlett :0)

Brandon said...

Hey KM :)
Good honest review. I've been wanting to get a hold of his Empyrion saga...