Friday, August 19, 2016
"A Daring Sacrifice" by Jody Hedlund
Following her father's death, Julianna disguises herself as a young man, living in the woods and helping the poor and starving people. Her harsh uncle rules the land that should be hers and orders that she be captured. Collin has been summoned to Wessex by the lord to protect the nobles from a group of vigilantes who have been attacking traveling parties with bows and arrows, stealing their valuable possessions. But when he comes across the leader of this group, he feels a familiarity to a girl that he knew as a youth. Soon he and Juliana are fighting for what each believes is right, while also fighting the feelings that have begun to develop between them both.
There is plenty of adventure in the story, with equal opportunities for Juliana and Collin to rescue each other and prove (not so definitively) who's best with the bow. I really liked Collin, who is incredibly good-natured, with confidence born of genuine skill, not arrogance. Maybe he's too good to be true, but he's too likeable for that to get in the way. Juliana is a pretty stereotypical young adult heroine--the well-born girl rejecting her noble birth to stand with the peasants, full of spunk and fire, apt to jump to conclusions, and determined to do things her own way.
I personally appreciated the attempts at historical accuracy, including (perhaps especially) the torture--it's something that happened, and in a situation like this, with an unscrupulous ruler and no human rights activists, it was probably pretty common. And, to be honest, the author's descriptions are way less graphic than, say, the visuals in an Avengers movie. It's all very well to read about medieval torture devices, but what actually are thumb-screws, anyway?
Though it isn't really the girl version of Robin Hood, there are many similarities, including some definite nods to the Kevin Costner version of Robin Hood, which I found enjoyable. I had hoped for a little more surprise or sparkle to the story, but nothing really made it stand out from other similar books I've read. It was entertaining, just not particularly memorable.
0.5. "The Vow"
1. An Uncertain Choice
2. A Daring Sacrifice
3. For Love and Honor (Spring 2017)