Mundie Moms

Thursday, August 9, 2018

THE FOREST QUEEN by Betsy Cornwell / Book Review #TheForestQueen

By: Betsy Cornwell
Published by: Clarion Books
Released on: August 8th, 2018
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
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A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

When sixteen-year-old Sylvie’s brother takes over management of their family’s vast estates, Sylvie feels powerless to stop his abuse of the local commoners. Her dearest friend asks her to run away to the woods with him, and soon a host of other villagers join them. Together, they form their own community and fight to right the wrongs perpetrated by the king and his noblemen.

I am a huge fan of Robin Hood stories. There's something about the lore and legend of that story that is intriguing to me. When I found out this was not only a Robin Hood retelling, but one that includes a gender swapped Robin Hood, I had to read it. Plus, this cover begs to be picked up and read. It pains me to say this, but unfortunately this book fell pray to underdevelopment, and a blended YA / MG tone that left me wanting so much more than what I got from this story. 

This is a book I picked up excepting to absolutely love. While there are some great elements to this story, there more that either felt underdeveloped or missing from the story all together. While the story starts off strong, shortly after it ended up feeling more of a mix of wanting to be a solid YA book, and an upper middle grade one. While there is older reader content, ie: rape, attempted suicide, violence etc, the tone of the story is very much a younger reader one. 

Story wise, there was a lot missing with the story itself that felt like it was either under developed or lacked on being expanded on. From character development, to the romance, and the over all story. Betsy is a great writer, but with this story, I felt like it was underdeveloped. There are so many elements that could have been stronger in the story that felt like they were almost nonexistent. The story idea is a fun one, but there was so much lacking to make this a great story I was excepting it to be.

With Sylvie for example, I felt like we skipped from this sheltered girl who longed for something more, into someone who is all of a sudden taking a stand against her royal family linage. Yet in between the two there wasn't much shown in the story to make her this great Robin Hood type character I expected her to be. That is frustrating, because there is so much to her and her story I wanted to read about and see. 

The characters for the most part were good. Some I liked more than others like Bird, Jane, and Mae. These characters were developed more than Sylvie's.  Sylvie was by far the hardest one for me to connect with. With the romance, that too was sadly lacking from the story, and could have been far more believable than it was. I liked that Bird and Sylvie grew up together, and I got their connection, but I wanted to see it come to life. Jane and Sylvie had more of a connection than anyone else. Same could be said with the villain in the story. He wasn't this fearsome character that he should have been.

While I liked understanding how they were able to survive in the forest, too much of the story focused on that, and not enough on the character developments and the story itself. Don't get me wrong. I loved the story setting. The setting is a beautiful one, and so detailed that it's easy to picture Sherwood Forest and the surrounding areas. It shouldn't have felt the middle part of this story was all about their forest survival, like it did. 

I'm so torn on this book. I liked the idea for this story, but it needed to be expanded on a lot more. Tone wise, if it didn't feel like it was confused on whether the voice was for YA or MG, and had it been one or the other, it would have been better. Just not the mix of both. The story idea is a fun one, but in the end left me wanting much more than I got from this story. I wanted to see things expanded on in greater detail and depth. I will say, if you're looking for a quick, not in depth read, than this is your book.