Book Review: Of Arrows & Anarchy

Genre: Adult Fantasy Retelling Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

When I realized that Of Arrows and Anarchy by Morgan Perryman was a Robin Hood retelling, I was stoked! I don’t normally read a lot of adult books, but this one was fantastic!

The story goes back and forth between Lady Robyn of Loxley, a captain in the royal army, and Lady Marian, the Royal Healer. For the most part, the two don’t see eye-to-eye, but when the King announces that a tournament will be held, they end up having to work together on the preparations for the tournament.

Quite honestly, this book was one of the best retellings I’ve ever read! Not only did Perryman expand upon the original story, and add a compelling twist, she also incorporated important elements in her novel, such as feminism and the importance of class. Obviously, economic background is relevant in the original story of Robin Hood, but Perryman elaborated on the issue, and made it a central part of the storyline.

It was really interesting to see how Lady Marian never viewed class as relevant when treating her patients, and Lady Robyn helped her recognize the problems that were plaguing the people living in poverty. In a way, Marian’s naiveté added a lot to the story because she was so genuine and pure-hearted, but I also appreciated that she grew throughout the novel, and later on was better able to see the injustices in her world for what they truly were.

Furthermore, feminism was such a huge part of the novel, which is always a plus in my book! Ultimately, Of Arrows and Anarchy is a sapphic book, but not all sapphic books address sexism like this book does. The characters’ lives are basically dictated by men, who usually see them as objects, and both Marian and Robyn fight back against the sexism that invades their lives in multiple ways.

In the end, this book could have addressed these issues without including the relationship between the two main characters, but I think that would have taken away from the power that Marian and Robyn reclaim. Yes, their relationship is about attraction and sexuality, but it is also a means to fight back against the restraints and obstacles in their lives. Their love for one another is bigger than the problems they face.

On top of that, I thought the progression of Marian and Robyn’s love story was adorable! They were both so likeable, and complemented each other’s personalities so well. I appreciated the fact that their relationship was a significant part of the story, but that it did not overtake the entire plot. Not to mention the fact that this is the first book I’ve read that actually pulls of the “Touch her and I’ll Kill You,” trope without being overbearing, or feeling too much like the girl has to be saved. I did not realize I could enjoy that trope until I read this book!

Overall, I was so pleasantly surprised with Of Arrows and Anarchy by Morgan Perryman! If you enjoy retellings, or fantasy in general, I certainly think you will love this wonderful book!

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