Title: No Good Deed
Author: Kara Connolly
Genre: Retelling, young adult
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Re-tellings. The latest fad.
While they can be successfully pulled off, so long as the world is drastically different (ie: Lunar Chronicles), it's awfully hard to do well. This re-telling of Robin Hood has some great little anecdotes and moments; but for the most part it feels like recycled scenes, characters and concepts. Right down to the time travelling aspect.
While there is action, intrigue, teeny bit of romance and all the things that generally make up a good story; I just couldn't help but feel like I'd read this book before or at the very least seen the movie.
Now I know the scene of Robin Hood having a battle with staffs over the river is a classic moment in lots of Robin Hood lore and/or stories. However, the reality is that all I could imagine during this scenes description was the scene from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Now maybe it's not fair as I've seen that movie almost 100 times in my life (it was my Mom's favourite movie when I was a kid; and while we couldn't watch Simpsons or other shows on TV apparently violent movies were okay...). I suppose I'm bound to imagine similar moments in any Robin Hood story to scenes from the movie... even still it would have been nice for something interesting and different to have been thrown in the mix.
As with any retellings Kara Connolly choses to focus on a couple of things and drop out other things. There is no Maid Marion (but is a Templar knight that our main gal is blown away by every time he dons his armour) or damsels in distress (unless our lead gal counts). Given that our gal is Robin Hood I suppose it was too much to hope for a lesbian romance. But we do get Little John, Will Scarlett, Alan Dale and (sort of) Friar Tuck. The characters themselves are not well fleshed out, but most of us don't need them to be as we know the players. The most disappointing character of all for me was the Sheriff of Nottingham. I adore this character usually but here it felt like he was far less important that others in Nottingham. It's almost like Connolly's story was too vanilla for the sheriff's black and morbid personality.
The basic plot
Like any good time travel story, girl is plunged into medieval times (luckily she's an amazing archer), screws a bunch of stuff up, concerns herself with trying to survive and get home; whilst not changing history... there's really not a lot else to say here except that I am really tired of reading time travel books where the character has to "fulfill" some task or event in order for the door to open back home. Let's not kid ourselves, this is a cheap, easy way for the author to write their way into a perfect ending at the perfect moment. I'd rather it be elaborate, magical or scientific. Pretty much anything but convenient would have been better.
So are you wondering why I gave this three stars yet, given that I seem to have rolled my eyes at a lot of it and didn't really enjoy it? (lol)
The ending. In any 'fairy tale' I'm a sucker for a good ending (not necessarily happy I'd like to point out). No Good Deed ends in a way I was not really expecting. Connolly takes what could have been a super mushy, annoying and overly romantic ending and makes it just... well perfect. It's plausible, cute and lovely all at once.
So, is the ending worth the read?
Not really. If you love Robin Hood then maybe. Perhaps a tween or pre-teen would love this but it's not even really a teen book (even though it's classified as young adult). In my opinion, you could read this to an 8 year old and honestly it would be less violent and offensive than most saturday morning cartoons.
Overall you're not missing anything if you skip this one. I'm sure there will be dozens more re-tellings just like it tomorrow.
Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.