Marian by Ella Lyons

Marian

When Marian Banner moves to the glittering city of Nottingham with her father, Sir Erik the Fortunate, her entire life changes. She is no longer allowed to run about the countryside in trousers and braids, climbing fences and shooting turkeys, but is thrust into a life of dresses and jewels and dancing lessons, none of which Marian is particularly pleased about. Her dark m...

Title:Marian
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:1634774205
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:180 pages

Marian Reviews

  • Chiara (delicate eternity)
    Nov 13, 2016

    A copy of this novel was provided by the author for review.

    The beginning of

    completely sucked me in. I always love it when I know I’m going to enjoy a book from the first page, and with

    it was practically from the first word. This was mainly because the writing style was lovely, and incredibly easy to engage with.

    Although, I was somewhat surprised that over half of

    was about Marian and Robin as fourteen year olds. I don’t usually gravitate towards the lower end of YA, and th

    A copy of this novel was provided by the author for review.

    The beginning of

    completely sucked me in. I always love it when I know I’m going to enjoy a book from the first page, and with

    it was practically from the first word. This was mainly because the writing style was lovely, and incredibly easy to engage with.

    Although, I was somewhat surprised that over half of

    was about Marian and Robin as fourteen year olds. I don’t usually gravitate towards the lower end of YA, and the blurb for

    didn’t indicate that it centred around such a young protagonist, so it was pretty unexpected. I’m not entirely sure why Marian and Robin were so young when they met, except for the ‘we haven’t seen each other in years’ thing that came in the second part of the novel. I honestly would have preferred them to be older, because I feel like the intense connection and romantic feelings they had for each other would have probably been a bit more investment worthy (the kissing scene was kinda hella awkward because they were so young).

    I liked the fact that Robin wasn’t introduced from page one, because it allowed me as a reader to get to know Marian as a character without a love interest. Knowing that she was hardworking (and not afraid to get her hands dirty – literally), and loving (her relationship with her best friend was adorable, and I wanted more of it), and an incredible musician really fleshed out her character. That’s not to say that Marian lost all of her Marian-ness when she met Robin, but it can be great to get to know someone before they fall in love.

    As for falling in love … the ship was quite adorable. I was excited for Marian and Robin to grow up together, and the fact that this didn’t happen was quite disappointing. I suppose that would have been far too ‘happily ever after’, especially since this is the first book in a series! Even so, I hope the girls get to relearn each other in the next book. I think the angst will be high, and the falling in love (again) part will be swoon worthy and sweet.

    As this is a retelling, not everything is recognisable. But the little things that were made me so happy.

    has never been a super favourite of mine, but seeing the nods to the original tale in

    were fun, and I’m excited to see what other similarities come in the next book!

    Overall,

    was a quick, sweet, and lovely retelling with an f/f romance at its heart. I’m incredibly keen for the next book, because I want to see where the story goes and how it continues to incorporate the original tale, as well as seeing Marian and Robin grow as characters. And having a ship sail, of course.

    © 2016,

    . All rights reserved.

    loss of residence via fire, loss of life via fire, robbery, death of a parent (in battle), and sexual assault in this novel

  • Jaylee
    Oct 03, 2016

    Marian is either a prequel to the classic Robin Hood story we all know, or it's the first installment of a series. The book closes at the beginning of a story, not the end of one. I think that may frustrate some readers, and feel this book needs to marketed differently to avoid that, so I'm telling you that upfront. [EDIT: According to the author, this *is* the first book of a series.]

    The story, however, is very well-done. The writing is lovely, with sensory details that bring the world to life

    Marian is either a prequel to the classic Robin Hood story we all know, or it's the first installment of a series. The book closes at the beginning of a story, not the end of one. I think that may frustrate some readers, and feel this book needs to marketed differently to avoid that, so I'm telling you that upfront. [EDIT: According to the author, this *is* the first book of a series.]

    The story, however, is very well-done. The writing is lovely, with sensory details that bring the world to life and made me want to attend a Renaissance Faire (haha). The girls act very young for their age at the beginning of the book, when I *think* they're supposed to be sixteen, which frustrated me quite a bit since no sixteen-year-old acts the way they do. But in the scope of the book, you get to see Marian and Robin grow up from naive children to adults who understand the complexities of the world. I really liked that element of it, and that journey.

    The romance is so nice, too, with all the innocence and excitement and delight of first love and it's just... it fills you with warm fuzzy feelings. It's so

    . I got so much secondhand joy from this book it's ridiculous. There were a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments, though mostly it was high-pitched giggling and squealing into a pillow.

    The Robin Hood in this book is at the beginning of her story, and does nothing we associate with the classic Robin Hood. So... a queer retelling of Robin Hood this is absolutely not.

    But as a sweet, fun historical fiction(?) / medieval coming of age f/f story acting as a prequel to the classic Robin Hood tale - this is an A+ book that I definitely recommend.

  • Julia Ember
    May 10, 2016

    Overall, this was a cute, short read with some hilarious moments -- like Robin explaining the joust to Marian and later teaching her how to knee a man in the balls. I liked Marian as a character and the budding chemistry between her and the female Robin Hood.

    I do agree with a lot of other reviewers that this should have been marketed more clearly as a series. This first instalment ends at the beginning of a larger story. It's also a retelling in a very loose sense of the term. Not a bad thing a

    Overall, this was a cute, short read with some hilarious moments -- like Robin explaining the joust to Marian and later teaching her how to knee a man in the balls. I liked Marian as a character and the budding chemistry between her and the female Robin Hood.

    I do agree with a lot of other reviewers that this should have been marketed more clearly as a series. This first instalment ends at the beginning of a larger story. It's also a retelling in a very loose sense of the term. Not a bad thing as this "prequel" is very original.

    My biggest issue with the book was that I found the historiography and the dialogue inconsistent. The world is ostensibly Medieval England, but a lot of the "facts" we're given don't fit at all with 12th century England.

    But I was jarred by things like misexplained jousting rules, descriptions of town layouts, the way knights operated in society etc. The dialogue also seemed to switch a lot from very modern to very archaic.

    I think that these types of mistakes actually undermine some of the work the author did in making the story more inclusive. I think if you start with a baseline of accuracy, then the things that you change for a reason become more noticeable and more powerful.

    Still, I appreciated what the author was doing and I liked the story. I'm a former academic who studied Medieval Lit from this period and it makes me a pedant. Most readers probably won't notice as much.

  • Nicole Field
    May 10, 2016

    From the very first pages, I loved this book and I especially loved the character of Robin.

    Ella Lyons makes the story of Robin Hood her own with a story from Marian's perspective and a female Robin Hood.

    Marian Banner is the only child of King John's banner man. As such, this bestows upon her a certain amount of stature. However, for most of the year she lives with a farmer and his family in Abyglen. When she is moved to Nottingham, nothing about her life is as she wanted it to be. She feels pull

    From the very first pages, I loved this book and I especially loved the character of Robin.

    Ella Lyons makes the story of Robin Hood her own with a story from Marian's perspective and a female Robin Hood.

    Marian Banner is the only child of King John's banner man. As such, this bestows upon her a certain amount of stature. However, for most of the year she lives with a farmer and his family in Abyglen. When she is moved to Nottingham, nothing about her life is as she wanted it to be. She feels pulled away from all of the people she knows and loves, doesn't get to see her father anywhere near enough, and hates the sudden commitments of being a proper young lady.

    If the friendship between Marian and Robin seemed to come on too quickly, I found that to be easily and readily explained by the fact that Robin is familiar as a farmer's daughter in a time when everything familiar has just been taken away from her. I kind of liked that Robin was an abrasive tomboy.

    I also liked the way she softened at various times of the novel. She is not a character I would like to get on the bad side of; a character with flaws. I loved her.

    But this also isn't the typical story of Robin Hood Robbing the Rich to Feed the Poor. If anything, she does that off screen. Robin takes kind of a background to Marian's stealing of medicines and money from where she ends up living in quarters of her own inside the King's castle. I kind of wish we'd seen more of the story being twisted for this new version's ends.

    The ending came way too fast. I thought that the whole way through, getting closer and closer to the end of the book and wondering how everything was going to get wrapped up. The ending, when it came, felt as though the story had been stopped mid-scene. I could have followed these characters for a story that was twice as long. The pacing of the whole story was absolutely perfect, though, up till that end point.

  • M. Hollis
    May 23, 2016

    This book is a rewriting of Robin Hood where we see the story from Marian's POV and where Robin is a redhead fiery girl. I love retellings as a whole already, but g

    This book is a rewriting of Robin Hood where we see the story from Marian's POV and where Robin is a redhead fiery girl. I love retellings as a whole already, but gay retellings with two girls falling in love? Just sign me up.

    Marian is a sweet and nice character who goes through some really harsh stuff without losing her compassion for people. On the other side, we have the fierce Robin who is always throwing sarcastic words around and ready for a fight. From their first interactions I could feel their love story was going to be awesome and I'm glad to say I was right. There are some very nice kissing scenes in this book.

    There were also some plot twists and the story went to different ways that I wasn't expecting and surprised me in a good way. It's good to see fleshed out characters who aren't just the protagonists.

    The only thing that confused me at first was how fast everything happened at the end... but the author reassured me when I asked about it. It may have involved me screaming about how I need more gay scenes.

    I think lots of people will enjoy reading this story as much as I did.

  • Mel
    Sep 17, 2016

    One of the aspects I love most about this lesbian retelling of Robin Hood is its refreshing view on women and gender roles. From such minor things as the mention of a female blacksmith to the two female main characters Marian and Robin, who are both independent and strong-headed girls, this book was an utter delight to read.

    When she is

    One of the aspects I love most about this lesbian retelling of Robin Hood is its refreshing view on women and gender roles. From such minor things as the mention of a female blacksmith to the two female main characters Marian and Robin, who are both independent and strong-headed girls, this book was an utter delight to read.

    When she is fourteen years old, Marian, having grown up in a small village, is forced to move to Nottingham where her father is one of King John’s knights. Thrown into a completely different world where she is expected to become a lady, she meets Robin. Robin with such beautiful curly red hair like fire and green eyes like the forest. Right from the start Marian is completely smitten with this farmer’s daughter who longs to be a knight herself one day. They become friends and spent a lot of time together.

    This book is divided into two parts; the first showing how Marian moves to Nottingham, befriends Robin and falls in love with her, the second taking place three years later because, unfortunately, fate strikes again and they are separated.

    I liked the first part more because there is so much time spent on developing the characters and the setting. There is a palpable sense of time and place and I just sat there and marvelled at everything that was shown to me. The innocent and lovely friendship between the two girls and then their shy, blooming love is wonderful to read about.

    The second part not only changes with regard to the pacing and feels a bit rushed – especially towards the end – but Marian is a lot less confident than the girl she was before. It’s not that her character development doesn’t make sense. She is trapped in the castle with the king and there has to live up to a lot of social expectations – but what was such a joy to me before is dulled here. That’s not to say the second half of the book is bad (although I do wish the ending was fleshed out more) it just doesn’t quite live up to the standard set by the first.

    I want to add a warning here because the storyline features attempted rape and sexual assault. Both scenes are short and don’t go very far but if you are sensitive to the subject or triggered by such content, please take care of yourself. To be honest, I am a bit peeved myself about this because I’ve been reading a lot of books lately where this kind of content was just sprung on me and I really wish we could lose this narrative and trope once and for all. Being as this is a retelling of Robin Hood these scenes do fit into the book but I’d rather they weren’t there.

    Still,

    is a fantastic read and one I heartily recommend. Not only are the characters well-crafted and the historical setting lovely, the romance between the girls is sweet and made me happy. I might check out more books by the author.

    ______________________________

    Genre: historical romance, YA

    Tags: lesbian, homage to Robin Hood

    Content Warnings: attempted rape, sexual assault

    Rating: B, 4 stars

    Blog: Review for

    Disclosure: ARC in exchange for review

  • Danika at The Lesbrary
    May 30, 2016

    So... Is this a prequel? When I heard "lesbian Robin Hood", this wasn't what I expected. There aren't really any of the elements that I associate with Robin Hood. If there wasn't a character called Robin Hood, I wouldn't have guessed it was a Robin Hood retelling.

    This is also more of a novella: only 135 pages. It feels like the first half of a novel.

    I liked the characters, and it's a good story, but it just didn't meet the "lesbian Robin Hood" description for me.

  • Rebecca
    Dec 22, 2016

    Robin Hood: you've never seen it like this before

    This time around, Robin is a girl. Why wear bows when you can fire them instead?

    And Marian, our leading lady: far from a maid, adventure forbade; longing for more, finding life a bore

    Oh, the constraints of society!

    I'm not very familiar with this classic, but I rather enjoyed this diverse retelling as roles are reversed. This time, Robin is a girl and a lesbian romance blossoms between her and Marian. I must admit, I'm not a big fan of younger YA a

    Robin Hood: you've never seen it like this before

    This time around, Robin is a girl. Why wear bows when you can fire them instead?

    And Marian, our leading lady: far from a maid, adventure forbade; longing for more, finding life a bore

    Oh, the constraints of society!

    I'm not very familiar with this classic, but I rather enjoyed this diverse retelling as roles are reversed. This time, Robin is a girl and a lesbian romance blossoms between her and Marian. I must admit, I'm not a big fan of younger YA and didn't expect the girls to be as young as they were. For that reason, I liked part two better as the girls are older, but not the fact that they'd lost touch. While different, both girls are headstrong, a quality I love in characters. I wish I'd felt more captivated by the story, but it ended too soon for me and read more like a novella, especially with how it ended abruptly. A pleasant introduction to this world, but I hope there's more to follow for fans.


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