Friday, April 3, 2015

Review - Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle

Genre: Adventure/Classics
Published by Amazon Publishing (2012)
Source: Christmas Gift
Rating: 4/5 

You who so plod amid serious things that you feel it shame to give yourself up even for a few short moments to mirth and joyousness in the land of Fancy; you who think that life hath nought to do with innocent laughter that can harm no one; these pages are not for you. Clap to the leaves and go no farther than this, for I tell you plainly that if you go farther you will be scandalized by seeing good, sober folks of real history so frisk and caper in gay colors and motley that you would not know them but for the names tagged to them. Here is a stout, lusty fellow with a quick temper, yet none so ill for all that, who goes by the name of Henry II. Here is a fair, gentle lady before whom all the others bow and call her Queen Eleanor. Here is a fat rogue of a fellow, dressed up in rich robes of a clerical kind, that all the good folk call my Lord Bishop of Hereford. Here is a certain fellow with a sour temper and a grim look - the worshipful, the Sheriff of Nottingham.

This is a tale of mischief and plans gone awry if I've ever seen one. According to my research these are the original tales of Robin Hood and his merry band in lincoln green. I actually thought this was going to be a novel, but it turns out all the stories relate to one another much like The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. 

These stories are written in an Old English style. Consequently, this is one of the most difficult books I've ever read. There were several words and phrases I had to look up and even more I was too lazy to look up but didn't always completely understand. I couldn't grasp all the context on my own because I'm not a medieval history expert and Old English is tricky. This issue didn't stop me from really loving these stories though. Each of the stories about these trouble makers was funny and overall everything is so jovial you can't help but smile.

Like anything, these tales are quite different than any adaptation I've read or watched. Robin is good and the Sheriff is bad like always, but there are some characters I've never heard of which is a shame because some of them are awesome. The narrator breaks the fourth wall like its his job so there is a lot of entertainment in these little stories. There is a lot of drinking, sword play and mischief. If they had a ship they could easily be pirates. (Now I want that adaptation. Robin Hood on a ship)

You can get these stories for free online because they are public domain. I've had a lot of questions about the edition  I have though because it is rather lovely. There are also illustrations inside! This book comes in a box set with several other adventure books that is published though Amazon. This box set is fairly expensive, but I've seen them go on sale for $19.99 so if you keep your eyes pealed I'm sure you can get them on sale.  I can't wait to pick up the rest of them.

Happy Reading! 

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