I received this book via Netgalley, the publisher, Delacorte Press. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.No Good Deed by Kara Connolly
Published by Delacorte Press on 2017-07-18
Length: 352 pages
Reviewing eARC Rating:
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2017, 2017 New Release Challenge
Fans of Dorothy Must Die will love this reimagining of the legend of Robin Hood. Girl power rules supreme when a modern girl finds herself in the middle of a medieval mess with only her smart mouth and her Olympic-archer aim to get her home.
Ellie Hudson is the front-runner on the road to gold for the U.S. Olympic archery team. All she has to do is qualify at the trials in jolly old England. When Ellie makes some kind of crazy wrong turn in the caverns under Nottingham Castle—yes, that Nottingham—she ends up in medieval England.
Ellie doesn’t care how she got to the Middle Ages; she just wants to go home before she gets the plague. But people are suffering in Nottingham, and Ellie has the skills to make it better. What’s an ace archer to do while she’s stuck in Sherwood Forest but make like Robin Hood?
Pulled into a past life as an outlaw, Ellie feels her present fading away next to daring do-gooding and a devilishly handsome knight. Only, Ellie is on the brink of rewriting history, and when she picks up her bow and arrow, her next shot could save her past—or doom civilization’s future.
No Good Deeds by Kara Connolly is a fresh take on the Robin Hood legend involving a little time travel. For me, retellings are a recent love. I’ve not always been a fan, but I really enjoyed this one. And Robin Hood, well he’s one of my favorites. I love the myth and legend surrounding this outlaw who stole from the rich to give to the poor. It’s nice to think the man existed at some point in the Middle Ages, fighting the people who were drunk on power to save the little guy. Robin Hood is iconic, which is why I thought it brave for a debut author to tackle this myth. However Kara Connolly does a fantastic job with it.
The entire story is told from Ellie’s perspective. She’s a nineteen year old, Indiana girl who happens to be a good archer and at the opening of the story is participating in some tournament to qualify for the Olympic team (at least that’s what I gathered from her descriptions). I like and dislike Ellie. She’s immature for her age, makes rash decisions, and doesn’t seem to question the consequences of her actions until after the fact.
When by some twist of fate she finds herself in medieval Nottinghamshire, Ellie embarks on a journey that puts her at the center of the Robin Hood legend. Ellie gives herself two rules for the past: don’t die and don’t change history. I thought those were pretty basic and covered everything that could possibly happen to her. Yet she becomes the center of the sheriff’s attention when she arrives making herself an instant target. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out while reading that Ellie’s actions in the past are what create the Robin Hood legend, even when she is trying to stick to what she knows of the myth. I actually liked this twist! I liked Ellie being the iconic outlaw.
Aside from Ellie are the people she encounters in the past. I wound up liking the all! Much the Miller’s son, Little John, Will Scarlett, even Friar Tuck make appearances, though their names are not what Ellie know them as. She easily connects who the people are in the legend and I loved reading as they came to life on the pages. Will was my favorite (even if I did keep confusing him with the Will Scarlett from Once Upon a Time).
My only dislike was a bit of plot hole with the time travel. It is never really explained. How did Ellie get to the past? How will she get home? How do her actions change the future or will they change the future? It’s all very: “Oh look I’m in the past, I’ll just roll with it,” instead of the panicking I’d expect. There’s no explanation about this aspect of the book and I really wish there had been. It felt like a glaring hole.
Overall I enjoyed the story and Ellie grew on me as I read. The gender twist of the original Robin Hood made for an interesting read, and I was pleasantly surprised at the historical aspects that were included. If you enjoy alternate history or retellings, I highly recommend grabbing a copy of this book. It doesn’t disappoint.