A feminist retelling of Robin Hood, you say?
Count me in!
Today is the release day of Betsy Cornwell’s new book The Forest Queen… And honestly it’s one of the best fantasy books I’ve read in ages; I loved the story-line, the characters, the narrative – I loved e v e r y t h i n g & I’ve already committed myself to buy every cover edition that this book ever has released.
I received this book from Clarion Reads in return for an honest review.
This book contains animal hunting, discussions of rape, domestic abuse & violent scenes.
I went into this book knowing that I’d enjoy it – not because I love the series that this has been created for or for Betsy’s writing because I’ve never read either; but because I fell in love with the idea behind this story & I had faith that Betsy would execute it well (spoiler: she did).
The Forest Queen is a story about Sylvie – a young lady that runs away from her violent & cruel brother, the local Sheriff & man of the manor, to live in the woods with her childhood best friend & a pregnant woman she’s only just met… little does Sylvie know that soon there will be more than just three of them fighting to survive in the wilderness, or that stealing from the rich to give to the poor will make her go down in history.
Although this is a retelling of a long-told story, it didn’t feel like it; Sylvie’s narrative was fresh & developed so well throughout the book that she was totally her own character – the people that surrounded her may also have been based on other characters but their own personalities shone through throughout so that only their names reminded you of their basis. Betsy threw in some of her own characters as well though, & these brand new personalities helped make this story it’s own to tell, & didn’t leave me feeling like I was rereading a tale we all know.
The Forest Queen really got under my skin & I got super attached to the characters without realising… there is a lot of emotion tied into this story because of why the characters all come together, but it’s threaded so delicately that you don’t realise how far you’ve fallen until the rug is pulled out from under you toward the end. Each of the main characters really did have their own story to tell & you could really tell how each of these people affected our protagonist & narrator Sylvie.
A lot of the emotion in this book also comes from the evil that is rooted within Sylvie’s brother John though, & that emotion twists your stomach until you feel beyond repulsed… the fact that Betsy managed to write such fundamentally good characters alongside one whom is the total opposite is an achievement in itself. Be that as it may, John’s evil doesn’t immediately jump out of the page at you – you know he’s cruel & arrogant from the start, but it’s not until the end that you realise how awful he truly is.
I genuinely adored this book & it’s one of those ARCs that I feel truly blessed to have received – I want to recommend this book to everyone I come across so please, please, please order yourself a copy! If you use an Amazon or Book Depository link to make a purchase I will receive a small fee at no cost to you so please consider doing so.
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