Although I had read reviews suggesting Marian might be too much the helpless damsel, the book started off well. Within the confines allowed her by medieval society, Marian does an impressive job taking control of her fate. The writing was beautiful throughout and the elegant language felt like the right way for Maid Marian to tell her story. Things quickly fall apart, however, when Marian finds she lacks the courage to run away from her second marriage and is only saved by the timely intervention of Robin Hood.
From this point forward, Marian mostly stops being the character driving the plot. The decisions she does make are poorly thought out. Despite being the main character Maid Marian misses out on much of the action, only hearing about it from Robin Hood. This means that the reader also misses out on the action while Marian simpers at or worries about Robin constantly. For maybe the last fifth of the story, Marian begins making her own decisions again and we see a little of the court intrigue promised in the description. But of course, at the very end, Robin has to sweep in again to secure a happy ending.
Just to be clear, I’m not opposed to a strong male protagonist or women who sometimes need to be rescued. It’s even realistic for Marian to need to be rescued initially, before she’s learned to fight or survive as a commoner. What bothers me is that once she gains these skills, she’s still a complete idiot about Robin (making her un-relatable) while Robin is obnoxiously smug (making him un-relatable). So this left me annoyed at Marian, who constantly has to be rescued from her poor choices, and without a character I could empathize with.This review first published on Doing Dewey.