#Review – Hood by @StephenLawhead // Historical Fantasy

Hood by Stephen R. Lawhead
Book One of the King Raven Trilogy
Historical Fantasy 496 pp

The year is 1093. The King of England is William II, aka William the Red, and the Normans are plotting their further control over English territories. And Wales becomes the screwed casualty. Thus starts our adventures with Bran ap Brychan and his “merrymen.”

Hood a tale that re-imagines the lore of Robin Hood not as English but as Welsh. If you’re like me, the only thing you know about Robin Hood is from the Looney Toons or Disney’s anthropomorphic version, i.e., limited. There’s also Errol Flynn and Kevin Costner’s interpretation of Robin Hood of which I’ve never seen. And there’s Russell Crowe’s Robin Hood which I suppose is forgetful because I recall nothing of it, but I digress.

Going into this with limited knowledge of Robin Hood, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this. The character development of our protagonist was great; slow building but by the end of the novel a fist pump is in order, especially by the end of the epilogue. The characterizations of the antagonists are grand; you hate them with varying degrees of odiousness. However, as much as I loved the protagonist, Bran, I found myself having more affection towards the supporting characters behind Bran. If one of those characters gets written off, I may or may not become emo-devastated.

By the end of Book One, the tone has been set, the intrigue established leading into Book Two.

With an open mind and open to genres, I don’t think you can do wrong with Hood. There’s a certain realism with the setting and environments presented to the reader. The fantasy portion seems to be steeped in Albion folklore/fairy tales and not necessarily, “I cast magic missile on your ass.” I wouldn’t necessarily call this a “must read” book, but something to add to the queue should the genre fit your mood.

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