Customer Reviews for

Hood (King Raven Trilogy Series #1)

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Great take on the Robin Hood saga

I have always been a fan of Robin Hood ever since I saw the Disney cartoon as a little child. And this book does not disappoint. It is an interesting take on the well-known aspects of the Hood legend with some great thought-provoking twists on what I always understood...
I have always been a fan of Robin Hood ever since I saw the Disney cartoon as a little child. And this book does not disappoint. It is an interesting take on the well-known aspects of the Hood legend with some great thought-provoking twists on what I always understood to be true. The only part that I struggled with was the language. It took at least the first chapter or more to get in the flow of the old english-ish style. But don't give up on the story... this one was a great start to his trilogy.

posted by oregon_sundevil on June 8, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Good, but could have been stronger

This story begins with King Brychan, Lord of Elfael, leading his warband to Lundein to swear fealty to King William the Red. A half day's journey away, they meet Norman Raiders. The king explains their mission, but the Norman's do not care. It is three hundred Normans a...
This story begins with King Brychan, Lord of Elfael, leading his warband to Lundein to swear fealty to King William the Red. A half day's journey away, they meet Norman Raiders. The king explains their mission, but the Norman's do not care. It is three hundred Normans against thirty Welsh, and King Brychan and his men are slaughtered.

One man escapes to bring news to the people of Elfael. When Prince Bran hears the news, his first thought is to flee to his kinsmen in the north, but he is persuaded to go to King William and plead for assistance. King William is not in Lundein, however, and the cardinal explains that Elfael was sold to a Norman man. Prince Bran may buy it back at three times the cost.

Outraged, Prince Bran returns home only to be hunted by the new Norman Lord of Elfael. Bran is left for dead in the Marsh, but an old woman mends his wound and heart. When Bran is well again, he is a changed man. No longer will he allow these Norman invaders to torment his people. He leads his men to take their land back. But in Elfael, all think Prince Bran is dead. There is only one way they can describe the creature that haunts the forest. Rhi Bran y Hud, which means: King Raven the Enchanter.

This book was very well written. Stephen Lawhead does an excellent job with his historical research and language. I was impressed about that. This story did have a really long and boring middle section where Bran was delirious during his healing process. The old woman told him long stories as he healed. I realize that these stories were part of what changed his character, but I just wanted to get back to the story already. If not for that middle section, I would have liked this book a lot more. Still, it's an interesting look at the legend of Robin Hood and worth a read.

posted by Novel_Teen_Book_Reviews on May 20, 2009

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  • Posted June 8, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great take on the Robin Hood saga

    I have always been a fan of Robin Hood ever since I saw the Disney cartoon as a little child. And this book does not disappoint. It is an interesting take on the well-known aspects of the Hood legend with some great thought-provoking twists on what I always understood to be true. The only part that I struggled with was the language. It took at least the first chapter or more to get in the flow of the old english-ish style. But don't give up on the story... this one was a great start to his trilogy.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 31, 2011

    An Engaging Read

    My curiosity was piqued when I discovered this was set in the Welsh borderlands and in an earlier time period than we are accustomed to, but Lawhead's notes make perfect sense of his choice. The people in the book are wonderfully characterized, particularly Robin/Bran, who starts out as a spoiled, spineless annoyance. The book moved along at a good pace most of the time, and I was not put off by the slower parts. I found the details surrounding who was in charge (William Rufus) and what was going on (the Franks in Wales) a little confusing, as though it was assumed that this was information everyone automatically knows. While the author's notes at the end clarified, I wish I'd read them first. Even so, I already bought 'Scarlet,' the second book in the series.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Awesome Book

    I loved this book because it provided a more realistic approach to the whole 'Robin Hood' story. I love how Lawhead switches from character to character to piece together the whole story but I must say my favorite person to 'hear from' was King Raven himself, Bran ap Brychan. When I heard/read that Scarlet would be told by a different character (mainly) I was disappointed to be robbed of the views of the most important character in the book (I don't know if there are small sections from him or not, but I think most likely).

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2009

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    Good, but could have been stronger

    This story begins with King Brychan, Lord of Elfael, leading his warband to Lundein to swear fealty to King William the Red. A half day's journey away, they meet Norman Raiders. The king explains their mission, but the Norman's do not care. It is three hundred Normans against thirty Welsh, and King Brychan and his men are slaughtered.

    One man escapes to bring news to the people of Elfael. When Prince Bran hears the news, his first thought is to flee to his kinsmen in the north, but he is persuaded to go to King William and plead for assistance. King William is not in Lundein, however, and the cardinal explains that Elfael was sold to a Norman man. Prince Bran may buy it back at three times the cost.

    Outraged, Prince Bran returns home only to be hunted by the new Norman Lord of Elfael. Bran is left for dead in the Marsh, but an old woman mends his wound and heart. When Bran is well again, he is a changed man. No longer will he allow these Norman invaders to torment his people. He leads his men to take their land back. But in Elfael, all think Prince Bran is dead. There is only one way they can describe the creature that haunts the forest. Rhi Bran y Hud, which means: King Raven the Enchanter.

    This book was very well written. Stephen Lawhead does an excellent job with his historical research and language. I was impressed about that. This story did have a really long and boring middle section where Bran was delirious during his healing process. The old woman told him long stories as he healed. I realize that these stories were part of what changed his character, but I just wanted to get back to the story already. If not for that middle section, I would have liked this book a lot more. Still, it's an interesting look at the legend of Robin Hood and worth a read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 20, 2008

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    Lawhead does an interesting retelling of the Robin Hood tale.

    Set in Wales during the French occupation, 'Hood' begins with the spoiled prince who suddenly finds himself fatherless and in the middle of a political battle for his lands. Lawhead introduces the reader to Little John and Friar Tuck, but not by those names. The twist is in the translation. An exciting read, 'Hood' is for anyone who ever found the tales of Robin Hood to be thrilling but always felt there was more to the story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2010

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    Hood misses the mark

    Since I was little I have always been interested in Robin Hood and King Arthur. So I thought, okay, a more historically based Robin Hood. I'll check it out. Okay, I got over the use them and leave them womanizer Robin Hood. Got over t he different names for characters and how they met. After grabbing my interest in the beginning, it slowed way down, and took forever to get him becoming Hood. Spends a lot of time jumping from this character to that. Way, too long. This is the first in a trilogy, and I won't read the other books. Could have really been something. In my opinion it fell short.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 3, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    What will you do with your life now that you have it back?  Book

    What will you do with your life now that you have it back? 
    Book One of the King Raven Trilogy, this book marks a distinctive retelling of the Robin Hood legend in a way I didn’t expect but certainly appreciate. Fans of Batman Begins will eat this up. This version is darker, scarier, more realistic and different enough that it comes off as completely fresh and original. I doubt anyone can read this and not read the other two. I hadn’t read a book by Lawhead before but if this is a good indication of the quality of work he churns out, then I consider myself a fan. Well done.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2012

    Brings fairytales ro life

    Good read.Believable and entertaining. The author sets the legend in Wales based on research he has done into the Robib Hood legends.

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  • Posted February 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Ok but Slow

    I picked up this book and I was excited. Ooo this book looks interesting.
    I was three fourths through the book and he was just giving to the poor. I didn't know the legend of Robin Hood and I had to ask on of my friends. The beginning was good, but there were too many slow parts such as the middle.

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  • Posted January 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended - A Breath of Fresh Air

    Every time I read a Stephen Lawhead book I¿m amazed at how much I like his books. You¿d think, by now, I¿d come to expect that I¿d like his books. Oh well, this says more about me than it does about him but it¿s kind of nice to be able to be surprised at how much you like something so I think I¿ll just keep with it. This reimagining of the Robin Hood mythology is a breath of fresh air. Going through the book it¿s fun to realize which of the characters you remember from the story you¿re meeting. The names are changed to match what would be more accurate names for the time period. I enjoyed every bit of this one and it would have appeal to many different types of readers. If you¿re thinking about reading this one, I say go for it! 4/5

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  • Posted December 13, 2011

    Good but slow at parts

    I probably wouldn't have made it through if I wasn't reading it on audio. There were some extremely slow parts where I wanted the action to get going again.

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  • Posted February 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Definite Must Read

    I love all of the books I have read by Lawhead such as his Merlin series and the Iron Lance, but I must say I have enjoyed his Robin Hood Series most of all. Its a whole new take on the story that is a much more believable rendition of the tale then a lot of the fantasy versions out there. Read Hood, Scarlet and Tuck and you wont be disappointed.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Read

    I absolutely love reading stories about Robin Hood and had decided to read the King Raven series. The whole series is a great read, a really fresh new take on the tale of Robin Hood. Now I think about it, I think this might be the best representation of Robin Hood by far!!!!

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  • Posted December 28, 2010

    A GREAT, non-cheesy remake!

    When you read stories that are retellings of other stories, you never know what you're going to get. I took the plunge and read it, and I have to say that it exceeded my expectations. It was so realistic! The plot, characters, and scenes were so believable and it didn't take me long to really get in the story. I recommend it.

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  • Posted October 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A refreshing take on Robin Hood

    Stephen Lawhead gives a convincing argument for placing Robin Hood in Welsh country, as opposed to the much more familiar Sherwood Forest. I've been drawn to Welsh history ever since I watched Sir Derek Jacobi play a medieval monk in the Cadfael mystery series, so Robin Hood's relocation to that time and place was a lot of fun for me.

    In this story, Robin Hood actually goes by the name Bran. He's reckless and self-serving son of an angry Welsh King, whose lands are about to be invaded by murderous, yet extremely religious Norman conquerors. With his father soon dead, Bran, Iwan (Little John), and many of their people flee to the forest for safety. As more Welsh kingdoms fall to the Normans, Bran struggles to find his destiny, especially as his own plans don't always coincide with the well-being of his people.

    Did I find the story suspenseful? Let me answer that with another question: Was I blissfully exhausted after realizing I'd stayed up till 4am to finish the novel last night? The answer is a resounding "yes!" After really getting to know each of the major characters I was happily drawn into the drama.

    The plot moved along a little slowly for part of the novel, but what was sacrificed to plot was made up in character development. I was happy with it. And besides, there was plenty of action throughout to keep the overall story riveting. I also truly love Lawhead's descriptions in this story, especially of the landscape, the lifestyle, and the action scenes. At some points his writing seemed exquisite to me. Love love love!

    I loved "Hood" and I highly recommend it. Definitely worth 5 out of 5 stars. And I can't wait to read book two in the series: "Scarlet."

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  • Posted September 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I loved the book!

    Stephen Lawhead makes Robin Hood (King Raven) so very real. It makes the book very hard to lay down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2010

    Unconditional, undisappointing, & vintage Lawhead storytelling

    I finished this series in a little over a week. Somehow, Lawhead's able to pull you into the story world thru excellent setting detail, rich, convicting characters, & gripping plotlines. My 1st encounter with Lawhead's writing was when he came out with the 'Song of Albion' series; I've been hooked since. One of the signatures of his writing style is how he weaves spiritual touches & 'joie de vivre' thruought his work; which typically leaves me with a brighter & more hopeful outlook of the world & our existence within it.

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  • Posted July 13, 2010

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    Relive the Legend!

    Bran ap Brychan is the heir to the throne of Elfael, a small kingdom in Wales. Unfortunately, it's a time in history when the Ffreincs are expanding their territories, defeating and dividing new lands among barons who have proclaimed fealty to the king, Red William. The king and his best men travel to Lundein to offer their fealty when they are attacked on the road by a Ffreinc battalion. Fortunately for Bran and the people of Elfael, he had been delayed from departing with the king and therefore the heir to the throne survives the massacre. Bran is forced into hiding after Falkes de Braose, the leader of the invasion, discovers that he is the heir. While in hiding, Bran gains a mentor in the storyteller Angharad, who helps develop him into the leader that his defeated people need. The land and people of Elfael, under Ffreinc rule, are being brutally mistreated, left to starve and work as slave labor for the Ffreincs. Bran finds a small band of people who had retreated to the woods for protection from the Ffreincs, and together they begin planning the liberation of Elfael. Hood is the first part in a trilogy based on the legends of Robin Hood. Personally, I enjoyed the different perspective on the story. Lawhead pulls you out of Sherwood Forest and Nottingham, and places you in what is likely the more accurate origin of the tale. At first the change in scenery seems unusual and almost offensive (who is Robin Hood without the Sheriff of Nottingham??), however he is kind enough to give his reasoning for the change in time and location at the end of the book. When one reads the evidence he provides, it is clear that his version may in fact be more historically accurate. This story will take you deep within the forests of the Marches of Wales, and introduce you to various characters, some new and some old (Guy of Gysburne, Friar Tuck, and Little John). The characters were interesting and well developed. I look forward to learning more about them and seeing how they develop in the next two books. I think Lawhead takes an interesting perspective on Bran, who unlike Robin Hood, is not immediately keen on the idea of leading a small rebellion against the oppressive government. It is only after a great deal of persuasion that he decides he needs to help free his people. One thing I really enjoyed about this book was the use of multiple points of view. You gain the perspectives of almost every character, including Marion, de Braose, Tuck, Angharad, and more! The various accounts of events allow the reader to experience many events that are occurring simultaneously such as Bran's time in hiding and de Broase's enslavement of the people of Elfael. It helps to kept the story rolling at points where it would otherwise drag on for a bit. That being said, the writing is rather lengthy, and at times almost too detailed. You spend many chapters simply sitting in a cave with an injured Bran, being nursed back to health by Angharad. Granted, Angharad spends that time telling stories and trying to convince Bran to save his people, but it still starts to drag on after a bit. There were a few points where I had trouble staying engaged with the story because it became overly focused on details, but all in all I still feel that it was a good book. I enjoyed reading the classic tale of Robin Hood from a different perspective, and will definitely finish the trilogy.

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  • Posted January 2, 2010

    The Raven King....a must read

    Don't let the title fool you. Sure you have heard the story of Robin Hood and his merry men. Everything about this book is great, it is told from a fresh perspective that will have you turning the pages faster and faster.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2008

    Another excellent read from Lawhead

    As with most of his works this is an excellent read and story. Recreating the Robin Hood story in this unique story is interesting and fun. After reading the first two in the series I went back and reread the whole Penragon cycle. A fun summer of reading!

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