Lionclaw: A Tale of Rowan Hood Hardcover – Oct 1 2002
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7-The main character in this sequel to Rowan Hood: Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest (Philomel, 2001) is Lionel, the timid son of Lord Roderick Lionclaw. He is a harp-playing bard who refuses to fight or act more "manly" despite his large size. When his father disowns him and puts a bounty on his head, Lionel hides out with Rowan in the forest. Rowan's band comes under attack, but won't leave the forest despite Robin Hood's urgings. When Rowan is caught by the bounty hunters, Lionel is ready to give his own life to save her. In the end, Lord Lionclaw does not accept his son, but he doesn't kill him either, and Lionel is proud of himself for overcoming his fears. The plot is slight, and readers are sometimes dropped into action scenes without being quite sure what is going on. Familiarity with the first book is necessary in order to have any understanding of this one. Lionel's development is predictable, and he is so annoyingly quivery and wimpy for most of the novel that he isn't a likable or sympathetic character. Other members of Rowan's band are intriguing, though, and their stories could produce interesting sequels if they are thoroughly developed.
Cheri Estes, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 5-8. This sequel to Rowan Hood: Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest (2001) focuses on Rowan's good friend, Lionel, Lord Lionclaw's cowardly, seven-foot son, who has been banished from home because he prefers playing his lute to being trained as a warrior. In this book, Lionel tries to make peace with his father after Dad is captured by Robin Hood--only to have his vicious, tyrannical parent declare a bounty on his head. At first Lionel tries to hide, but when hunters capture Rowan, Lionel sets off to rescue her, without regard for the consequences to himself. Springer excels at keeping the action and adventure in high gear, and she creates strong characters with clear motivations. Although Lionel rises to the occasion when fighting is called for, his essential gentle nature does not change, and he comes to accept his father for the person he is, even as he realizes that his father will never accept him. This volume fits in beautifully with the series, but it can also stand alone. Either way, it is sure to be popular with adventure enthusiasts. Kay Weisman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The son of a very disappointed father, Lionel is as tall as a giant and with "feet the size of pony heads." However, despite his size, he has a timid, courtly disposition and would much rather spent his time playing his harp. His gifts as a musician have been known to draw the aelfe from the forests, but such a talent hardly impresses his sadistic father Sir Rogerick Lionclaw.
Lionel's cowardice in combat stems from his fear that he'll injure his fingers (and therefore be unable to play his harp), but when his father comes to Sherwood with a bounty on his son's head, Lionel feels that he's putting his companions at risk. He flees, only to find that they are all in danger from the thuggish Guy of Gisborn, a bounty hunter who wears a horse-head visor and has a score to settle with the young outlaws.
This is a very slender book, and voracious readers could finish it in one sitting. As such characterization is still rather slim in regards to the other members of the gang, though I'm sure that following books Outlaw Princess of Sherwood and Wild Boy will give them some much-deserved attention. Lionel himself fluctuates between annoying and endearing, Robin and his outlaws are periphery characters, and there's still no sign of Marian.
The descriptions of Sherwood Forest are atmospheric and mysterious, with plenty of attention paid to the terrain, flora and fauna of the place, but I'm a little confused about the time period: Springer mentions a king, but deliberately withholds a name (perhaps to prevent the book from being dated). However, one of the ballads that Lionel sings is "Greensleeves", a song that did not exist until the reign of King Henry the Eighth. Likewise, everyone swears "by the Lady" though I'm not sure who that refers to: the Virgin Mary or a pagan goddess?
I guess the problem is that although it's a quick, entertaining read, there's no real meat to the story in regards to background, character and plot (for the second time in as many books, someone is captured by the bad guys). Younger readers will get the most out of the "Rowan Hood" series, especially those interested in the Robin Hood mythos.
Yes, it is a very short read and very, very descriptive about the woods in which it takes place. I think the shortness is a boon in this case because of the sometimes overly descriptive nature of the story. However, this is a story that needs heavy description because it's largely a young man's journey to find his courage. He's spent several years running literally and figuratively from his abusive father, who would like nothing more than to kill him for refusing to learn a warrior's way. For himself, Lionel would simply keep on running, but for his friend, he will learn to stand as a man.
What really bugged me most of all, though, was this author's love of using the word 'scud'. She constantly talked about the scudding clouds. And it wasn't just the clouds scudding, either...on one page she also wrote both 'the moon scudding amid clouds' and 'scudding moonlit sky'. Now, my dictionary defines 'scud' as "to move along fast and smoothly". Personally, I've never seen either the moon or the moonlit sky moving along fast and smoothly, have you? Perhaps this writer needs to learn what words mean before she uses them so frequently!
This is a passable book, but nothing special. The young-uns'll probably like it, if they're not too demanding. I suppose if you've already read the first in the series and enjoyed it, you might want to keep going, to see how the story pans out. But I doubt this episode of the saga will rock your world.
This is a very strong tale, and well told, with plenty of adventure in spite of its brevity (122 pages). The writing is worth 4 stars, but if you are offended by certain types of magic you may not like Lionel's attitude toward the elfin "spirits" of the forest. His words to them are like the words one would use when praying, thus implying that he thinks of them as substitutes for God. People of this time period believed in the power of both good and bad spirits, and respected or feared them.
The characters and plot are sufficiently complex and unexpected to keep the reader engaged. The writing style is fresh and vivid.
From a parent's point of view: There are moderately graphic descriptions of fighting and peril. There is a rather hateful, abusive father figure in the story that some may find overly disturbing. But the abiding message is of tolerance, loyalty, and self-respect. I would consider this a fine book for my own son.
I have not read any of Nancy Springer's other works, so I cannot comment on the quality of this book relative to others. But I certainly intend to sample more of her wares and I'll get back to you...