Friday 4 July 2014

Shadow of the Wolf by Tim Hall Review

Title: Shadow of the Wolf
Author: Tim Hall
Published: 03rd July 2014
Publisher: David Flickling Books

Summary: Robin Loxley is seven years old when his parents disappear without 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 Sherwood Forest. What he encounters there will leave him transformed, and will alter for ever the legend of Robin Hood...

Review: This was a dark, fresh twist on a tale we thought we all knew! Forget Disney...actually don't, it might help to have that in your head, because this will take you somewhere completely different and you might want a sing song by the end of it.

I know it said it in the blurb, but it was still a shock to read that Robin was only eight at the start of the story. The was already a heaviness set upon him, and you could feel the darkness that would manifest as the book went on hanging like an omen. Then enter Marian and things change! Robin and Marian's childhood adventures had such a sweet innocence to them they were like all the adventures and summers I wanted to have as a child.

 Marian was the fire that gave the narrative spark, and her flame only got brighter as I kept reading. She was a fascinating character and I laughed with her, fought with her and wanted to constantly know more about her goings on. One of the things I most enjoyed within this was the communication between Robin and Marian, the way she took charge and the presence that she had, especially when they weren't together.

For we all know that in the classic tale there has always been Robin and Marian, but they weren't always together and it is their separation that set the downward spiral for Robins decent into darkness. Robin changed dramatically as the novel unfolded  none less helped by the spirits of the forest. This foray into fantasy was a subtle, natural extension of the story and played extremely well into my enjoyment of the book.  I feel like we only touched the tip of the iceberg with these characters, and I really want to learn more about them.

This was definitely and unexpected read. It started off in one place and took me to somewhere completely different, somewhere that I liked and that I'm glad will continue. The book set me up, got my emotions riled and I'm nervous for the battle to come for everyone involved. This was a darker twist on the tale, bloody at times, sad, but there was also a joy to it as well. If you start down this path, you will have to keep going until the end...the annoying thing is you'll have to wait until the next book for that.


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