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marianWhat: Marian by Ella Lyons

Who: Harmony Ink Press

When: November 3rd 2016

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

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 mood changes when she meets a tiny whip of a girl called Robin Hood. Robin is fierce and brave, and wants more than anything to become a knight, regardless of her gender. Together they explore the city, becoming fast friends along the way.

As time passes, their friendship into something bigger and scarier and far more wonderful. But then Marian’s father is killed in service to the king and she catches the king’s eye.

Can Robin save her once more? Or will Marian discover how to save herself?

3cats2The beginning of Marian completely sucked me in. I always love it when I know I’m going to enjoy a book from the first page, and with Marian 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 Marian was about Marian and Robin as fourteen year olds. I don’t usually gravitate towards the lower end of YA, and the blurb for Marian 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. Robin Hood has never been a super favourite of mine, but seeing the nods to the original tale in Marian were fun, and I’m excited to see what other similarities come in the next book!

Overall, Marian 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, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

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

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Posted on: November 4, 2016 • By: Chiara

11 Responses to Review: Marian by Ella Lyons

  1. Jackie B. says:

    A F/F Robin Hood retelling?! YES PLEASE. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. However, your note about how long the characters stayed 14 might just be a pacing issue. Do you know how long this series is expected to be? I hope pacing issues don’t continue throughout…

    That said, I will certainly be adding this book to my TBR. Great review, Chiara!

    • Chiara says:

      Right? It is such an awesome premise. I’m not sure how long it will be, I’ve only seen the author tweet about the next book. Hopefully the pacing will pick up later on!

      I’m so glad you added it to your TBR :D Thank you, Jackie!

  2. Ohmygoodnesssssss a F/F Robin Hood with girls being their first loves I can’t *insert crying here*. While I see you had some pacing issues, maybe for the next book it’ll be better? I have to check this out.

    • Chiara says:

      OMG MARIANNE YOU NEED THIS IN YOUR LIFE. It was incredibly cute, and shippable. I do hope the pacing issue is fixed up in the next book, but everything else was enjoyable enough for it not to matter TOO much, anyway.

  3. This one sounds so sweet! It’s definitely surprising that this is younger YA as well, but yeah it sounds a little bit awkward. The ship sounds really cute though and it’s great that it’s inspired by Robin Hood. Lovely review Chiara!

    • Chiara says:

      It was definitely sweet! And I think younger YA is okay, it probably wouldn’t have been a big deal for me if I had only known. The ship was really cute, and it was a super unique retelling, which is a plus. Thanks, dear!

  4. Um, HELL YES to an f/f Robin Hood retelling!! There are honestly not enough books with younger girls falling in love – I’m so glad that this is one, and I cannot wait to pick it up (despite the slight pacing issues, as I’m hopeful that it will improve within the next book!). Sounds infinitely beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing with us. <3

    • Chiara says:

      Right? I LOVE f/f retellings to be honest. And even though I felt a little weird about how young they were, it would be infinitely amazing for someone their age to pick it up and fall in love with the ship and the romance. There was talk from the author about a sequel, but nothing on Goodreads yet. I am still hoping. No problem, lovely <3

  5. It’s good that you were able to get to know Marian without the love interest, so their personalities weren’t ALL about that. I can see how it would have been nicer if they were older though. Younger people kissing in books is a bit weird and awkward. haha

    -Lauren

    • Chiara says:

      Yeah, it was definitely nice to know Marian without her love interest because sometimes I feel like we only get to know characters after they fall in love! The young kissing was a little bit weird I have to say, haha. I just kind of aged them up in my mind!

  6. Romi says:

    Awhhhhh, this sounds even more adorable and enjoyable than I had previously thought! I know I was a little sceptical of the characters starting as young teens, because that is just not something I anticipated, but it seems like quite a sweet thing to build up their characters and relationship! It seems quite adorable, and then them meeting again when they’re older? I am basically a puddle of potential swoon at the idea.

    I didn’t actually know, because what do I even pay attention to besides Kasta?, that this was part of a series, and I’m not sure how I feel about that because I’m loving standalones at the moment, and potential angst isn’t something I’m ever, really, a fan of, but I shall give this a try (hopefully soon!) and hold out for being completely invested and feeling like more books is necessary. When you love characters, it’s pretty awesome being able to follow them over a bunch of books and see them develop and grow, so I’m interested to see how I feel about these two.

    Fun (but probably not) fact: I always thought Marian was spelt Marion. I like the look of it so much more with the “o”. I have no idea why, but ever since seeing the title of this book I’m just like “BUT THAT ISN’T RIGHT.” Even though, apparently, it is.

    Lovely review, Chiara! I hope the sequel ends up being as enjoyable (if not more) than this! xx

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