Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Betsy Cornwell
Publisher: Clarion Books
After Sylvie’s cruel brother John becomes the sheriff of Woodshire, Sylvie escapes into the woods with her childhood friend Bird and their newfound friend Little Jane. But as time passes, Sylvie learns about the unjust treatment of the commoners, and soon robs from the rich to give to the poor. Her brother dubs her the Forest Queen as more and more people rally behind her cause. But when Sheriff John burns their forest hideout, the people following Sylvie crusade against the unjust nobles, bringing peace and equality to the land of Woodshire.
The novel brings all the fun of a Robin Hood retelling, and making many of the major characters women adds a feminist twist to the traditional story. The novel shows the strength and power of women in a society where women were used as pawns to further men’s plots and desires. This gender-swapped story can inspire readers to find their own inner strength and stand up for what is right in a world that tells them they shouldn’t. However, the novel does suffer from one-dimensional characters with very little growth for both Sylvie and Bird, the two main characters. Sheriff John is so evil without any reason, becoming almost comical in his portrayal. The book lacks a climax, leaving readers unsatisfied with the book’s resolution. But even with its drawbacks, The Forest Queen is still a fun retelling of a familiar story.
*Contains moderate language, moderate sexual content, and moderate violence.