|Robin Hood Vs the Plague Undead (Mash Ups) by James Black|
|Reviewer: Jill Bone|
|Summary: A zombie/Robin Hood 'mash up', worth reading for its novelty value and the gore-fest at the end.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 256||Date: February 2011|
In 1194 AD, strange reports reach Robin Hood and his men in Sherwood Forest. There's an outbreak of plague in Nottingham and its victims are refusing to stay dead...
Robin Hood vs. The Plague Undead is a 'mash up' of the Robin Hood myth with contemporary zombie tales. All the usual Robin Hood characters are there - Friar Tuck, Little John, the Sheriff of Nottingham - but with loads of zombies thrown in as well. It must be very difficult to bring the two strands together and I don't think the author has quite succeeded. The problem is that both mythologies endure for different reasons and it's hard to fuse them together without compromising the strengths of both – zombies may work better in an urban setting, and having Robin Hood fighting zombies rather than the rich tends to undermine his leftwing credentials.
It's Maid Marion who alerts Robin to the plague outbreak. She leads a separate band of (female) outlaws with their own secret base in the forest. The book doesn't tell us much about Robin's feelings for Marion apart from the fact that he's in love with her, and it seems to rely on the reader's prior knowledge of the Robin Hood story to fill in the gaps. This may be okay for a children's book but I would have liked there to have been more of Robin's thoughts and feelings, generally, as not understanding the motivations of the main character makes the plot feel a bit clunky.
It turns out that evil Prince John is secretly building an undead army to capture London and steal the crown from the honourable King Richard while he's away at the crusades. Robin has stayed loyal to King Richard and he and his merry men head south to battle the zombies. The zombie-gore-fest that ensues at the end helps redeem the book and makes up for some of its failings, although all the blood and guts is inconsistent with the beginning of the book, where Robin is far too squeamish about killing anybody. Here's a sample from the final battle: 'Robin saw (the sergeant's) eyeball disappear among the flailing limbs.'
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion: Bad Kids: the Worst-Behaved Children in History by Tony Robinson
You can read more book reviews or buy Robin Hood Vs the Plague Undead (Mash Ups) by James Black at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Robin Hood Vs the Plague Undead (Mash Ups) by James Black at Amazon.com.
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