Publisher's Note:  

A stunning re-imagining of Robin Hood, the first in an exciting new trilogy

Forget everything you've ever heard about Robin Hood.

Robin Loxley is seven years old when his parents disappear without a trace. Years later the great love of his life, Marian, is also taken from him. Driven by these mysteries, and this anguish, Robin follows a darkening path into the ancient heart of Sherwood Forest. What he encounters there will leave him transformed . . .

The first book of a trilogy, Shadow of the Wolf is a breathtakingly original--and utterly compelling--retelling that will forever alter the legend of Robin Hood.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic

Shadow of the Wolf

by Tim Hall

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Overall Review:  

Tim Hall's YA debut novel Shadow of the Wolf exquisitely besets any affinity you may have for Robin Hood. This retelling cleverly distorts whatever you may think you know about the classic tale and turns in on its head. Set to be a trilogy, this foreboding chronicle has no merry men, no tights, and certainly no giving to the poor. So forget everything you think you know about Robin, Maid Marian, and Sherwood forest because you're in for a wildly fierce adventure.

Set somewhere in Great Britain during the medieval time period, readers, through third person narrative, are introduced to Robin and his cohort Marian at a very young age. This part of the novel may seem to drag, but it is an imperative exposition for readers to understand why as adults Robin and Marian are so connected. It is not until Robin encounters the Sheriff and his guard in adolescence (1/3 of the way into the novel), that readers are hustled into the supernatural. The story behind the legend is hinted at early on, and in some cases readers may feel as if they are just a fingertip's reach away from uncovering the full saga, but Hall is a tease and will not beseech the reader's plea until the tale is almost concluded, and even then the complete story is only unraveled a smidgen!

A pesky disappointment is that the author did not include a map to go along with the narrative. It would be so handy for readers to be able to better acquaint themselves with the adventures Robin encounters in various parts of his travels.

A lengthy volume, coming in at nearly 500 pages, it stays the course because the prose is enchanting and in some cases lyrical, the battle scenes are gruesome, and the mixture of myth and mayhem create an awesome re-imagining of the traditional version.

Robin Hood meets the Hulk, with fantasy flair. This tale will make you quiver!

A howling winter and a silent spring.

But it's all still here, lurking amid the mist.

A world of gods, and monsters, rolling their final dice.

A time of heroes and demons, and the horror that shadows both.

The world of Robin Hood...”

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  13 religious exclamations; 9 mild obscenities.

Violence/Gore: Several (about 15) mentions of hunting animals to eat (sometimes descriptive, bloody); character briefly encounters creepy character eating raw meat, blood mentioned; character tackles, hits, claws, and threatens character; character sees a picture depicting a fantasy creature being mauled; child is briefly hit by adult character; character is accidentally burned; character makes various, somewhat comical threats; destruction of property by fire (3x); character physically fights other characters, blood mentioned; mild violence in extended scene (about 2 pages) character completes obstacle course for combat training; character strikes another character with a switch; character is kicked into water; extended scene (about 2 pages) characters fight with swords in scrimmage; characters scrimmage with swords and punch in extended scene (about 2 pages); character witnesses the aftermath of robbers killing a traveler; character sees stakes with human heads on them (2x); characters briefly witnesses soldiers assaulting villagers (about 4x); character shows another character their severed fingers, implying they were violently removed; character fears they may have killed their attacker; after a violent altercation; character plans to kill another character; implication that character murdered other characters; character threatens to cut another character's tongue out; character watches character's head being bludgeoned, blood and gore; extended scene (about 1.5 pages) attack with knife, strikes and blows, blood and injury; implication that character's eyes are removed as punishment; character tries to kill another 2x; verbal threat to kill another character; gory description of character's remembrance of having their eyes removed; character is captured and kicked; character is injured, blood mentioned; character threatens to slit another character's throat; character is threatened with bodily harm 2x; character receives a non-life threatening injury; character cuts another character's face; character briefly attempts to kill another character; character forces child to have an extremity ripped off by animals, blood and gore; secondhand report of child abuse; character remembers killing their parent as a child; character plans to kill another character; extended scene (about 1 page) character attacks to kill fantasy creature, injury and blood mentioned; extended creepy scene (about 1 page) strange type of violent mythical ceremony is preformed; extended frightening scene (about 1 page) character feels as if they are being buried alive; animals attack animal carcass; character comes upon another character who has been killed (2x); character receives wounds, implied that they will be finished off/die by animal attack; character kill another by slitting their throat, somewhat descriptive; secondhand report of brief battle; character attacks another character, receives superficial wounds; character descends upon a gruesome scene of dead bodies; non-descriptive brief scene character kills other characters; gory description character recounts how they cut off their own limb and ate human flesh so survive; extended scene (about 1 page) character tries attacking another character with sharp object; character threatens to kill another character (2x); brief, character kills 2 others; implication that a character will either die or be mutilated; characters briefly exchange violent tales; character pushes another character; extended scene (about 2 pages) character violently kills others using magical powers; character warns another character with weapon and verbal threat; secondhand report of suicide; character attacks another character with a weapon; brief somewhat descriptive scene, character is burned alive, implication that others will also be burned; character is cut, challenges another character to a duel; second hand report of character's past fights; extended scene (about 1 page) characters attack one another using a knife and their fists, blood mentioned; character threatens a group of people; wounds on character imply they've been tortured; character is knocked unconscious; character implies that he/she will have other characters tortured; threat of characters suffering; extended scene (about 3 pages) character kills other characters, somewhat descriptive and gory, injuries mentioned; secondhand report of character's attempted suicide; character is briefly whipped; character briefly tries to attack characters who are trying to take their child; implication that violent actions were taken against village and inhabitants; character threatens another character with knife (2x); character threatens to poison another; brief report of an earlier battle; character receives non-life threatening injury; implication that female characters will be tortured as punishment; screams imply characters are being tortured; characters die by poison; extended gory scene (about 3 pages) characters brutally kill other characters; characters is described to be half-naked covered in animal blood and innards; extended gory scene (about 2 pages) characters battle, some deaths are descriptive; secondhand report of family members deaths.

Sex/Nudity:  Kiss on cheek, chin, and on lips; male character notices female character's dress is translucent; character sees a dead character who is nude, no description; male character sees female character nude; characters embrace; couple cuddles, holds hands, and fall asleep together (non-sexual); fantasy creature takes nude female shape to touch and caress male character; character removes clothes to bathe; sexual encounter implied when nude fantasy female creature and male character bathe, touching and caressing; mention of half-naked woman; implication that female character is being sexually abused; half-naked male receives medical treatment; character is said to be half naked.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Violent death(s), murder, death of family members, child abandonment/abuse, murderous overlord, abuse of government position, vengeance.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Few (about 10) mentions of drunk characters, drinking of ale, and pubs; 1 mention of opium.

Reviewed By MaryLou
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