Publisher's Note:  

The night her parents disappear, twelve-year-old Robyn Loxley must learn to fend for herself. Her home, Nott City, has been taken over by a harsh governor, Ignomus Crown. After fleeing for her life, Robyn has no choice but to join a band of strangers-misfit kids, each with their own special talent for mischief. Setting out to right the wrongs of Crown's merciless government, they take their outlaw status in stride. But Robyn can't rest until she finds her parents. As she pieces together clues from the night they disappeared, Robyn learns that her destiny is tied to the future of Nott City in ways she never expected.

Kicking off a new series with an unforgettable heroine, readers will be treated to feats of courage and daring deeds as Robyn and her band find their way in this cruel, new world.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Bloomsbury Children's Books

Shadows of Sherwood

by Kekla Magoon

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Overall Review:  

Shadows of Sherwood: A Robyn Hoodlum Adventure is the first in a new dystopian-like series by author Kekla Magoon. What sets this story apart from other novels in this genre is the incorporation of the well-known tale of Robin Hood. The names of people and places will seem familiar--as well as the task the Robyn, a 12 year old girl, sets out to do. However, the twist is the plot line of a government set on making a more utopian-like society and failing at it. Thus the stage is set for those on the fringe to take up the cause of fairness and justice.

Robyn, by what seems to be dumb luck, is spared from the night of the "Purge": when the new government came and took her parents to what end--the reader never finds out in this novel. Having survived this purge makes Robyn somewhat of an outlaw. She has random clues, left by her father, that are leading her to others that might help her, not only survive, but to make a difference and live up to her potential. Along this frustratingly vague quest, Robyn is learning more about herself, learning how to trust in others, and learning about her potential as a future leader of those that want what's right. She is also having to learn to differentiate between what makes things right and wrong, and that sometimes doing what seems right might have unforeseen bad consequences. Robyn struggles with all of this as she tries to put the pieces of the puzzle of who she really is together.  

This first novel in the series is an exciting start to a different adventure, but it does leave a lot of questions unanswered. The author also does an excellent job in getting the reader to question things in their own lives about right versus wrong and how we trust in others. If you have a young reader that likes the stories that fall in the dystopian genre, but aren't ready for them to read the ones that tie-in a lot of violence, Shadows of Sherwood might be the perfect novel for them.

Review is of an Advance Readers Copy

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  None

Violence/Gore:  Mention of men carrying knives perfect for slicing throats; character finds smeared bloody handprints and a puddle of blood; brief account how 38 people were rounded up and taken as prisoners; character uses metaphor of fear being like a long, sharp knife that is capable of drawing blood; character grabbed and taken prisoner; secondhand account of a 'purge' that led to the murder, capture or disappearance of many people; news account of man being shot and character speculating on whether or not he's dead; character deliberately runs into 2 people knocking them over; prisoner asks to be killed and is told she is going to be made to suffer instead of dying; 3 page account of how a man was taken prisoner, assaulted with a knife, injured and then him writing a message in blood and then being described as being soaked in blood; woman dragged by her arms into a prison cell; character crashes vehicle into a prison cell; character crashes vehicle into a fence causing much wreckage; character knocks another person over; character tells another how somebody kills people that stand in his way; character rams into someone and knocks them off their feet.

Sex/Nudity:  Boy puts his arm around a girl.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Kidnapping, murder, stealing, disappearance of parents.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Adults smoke cigarettes.

Reviewed By Sally
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