Brightfall by Jaime Lee Moyer #Brightfall

Posted On 5 September 2019

Filed under Book Reviews
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Today I’m joining the blog tour for Jaime Lee Moyer’s Brightfall.  This is a story that picks up a few years after Robin and his Merry Men and Maid Marian had their ‘happily ever after’.

Take a look at the other bloggers taking part on the banner below and try and pay them a visit too.

Brightfall

Brightfall returns us to the land of Sherwood Forest, to Marian, the Merry Men and Robin Hood.  But this is a Sherwood and a Marian that is different than the one we are familiar with.  Sherwood is home to the fae, Marian has magic of her own and Robin is not the man we once knew.

Brightfall is a story about Marian and the life she leads after all the events and goings on of Robin and his Merry Men.  Robin has left Marian and his family – for reasons that will unfold as the story progresses and Marian lives a quiet life in the shelter of Sherwood with her two children.  Unfortunately Marian’s tentative happiness is about to be broken when she receives a visit from Friar Tuck.  It seems that the Merry Men are dying, one by one, in unusual circumstances and the latest victim is a cruel blow for Marian.  Tuck suspects some sort of curse, the victims are all linked with Robin potentially the key.  Marian is asked to use her magic to try and uncover the start of the curse and so embarks on a journey of self discovery with Robin as her reluctant companion.

This is an unusual story and was different than what I originally expected.  I knew that this would be a mystery but I hadn’t quite expected to find an enchanted land of the fae.  I don’t make any secret of the fact that I love stories of the fae and so I was downright pleased when they made an appearance here.  That being said I do have slightly mixed feelings and it’s taken me a while to compose my thoughts.

On the one hand I love the story telling.  Jaime Lee Moyer has a lovely style of writing that I just found so easy to absorb.  Her descriptions are magical and she simply has a way of spinning a tale that is quite captivating.  I really enjoyed Marian, reading about her magic and her life since Robin left.  She’s found happiness unexpectedly and she is fiercely protective of her children.  When it comes to Robin – well, he’s a puzzle.  He abandoned Marian and the children a number of years ago taking refuge in a monastery to atone for his sins.  I think Robin is one of a couple of areas of this story that I struggled a little with at first and that kept me from becoming fully engaged.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not his change in character – which has become sullen and almost sulky – but I think I would have liked a bit more background about what led to the change.  There is an explanation but it felt a little glossed over and was too quickly discovered and then tucked away.  The other thing that I had a slight issue with was the meandering feel that the story has.  Marian goes from place to place, usually following a trail of breadcrumbs between victims until setting out on a different path.  I loved the journey but at the same time it started to feel a little like going round in circles, always one step behind.

Okay, so slight criticisms out of the way and, as mentioned above, having had time to ruminate I think the journey here was more one of self discovery.  For both Marian and Robin.  A coming to terms with past events and past mistakes.  Of course there’s the riddle of the murders to be solved and alongside that a feeling of not all being well in the fae court which explains their involvement in trying to solve the mystery but for me this felt like a book of exploration and discovery and the circuitous journey in between was an essential part of that.

This is a story that picks up after the ‘and they all lived happily ever after’ and it’s a really interesting idea – because don’t you ever wonder if they truly did live happily ever after?  Here we get to see that sometimes things don’t always go to plan and people change along the way, not always in the best ways.  That sounds quite serious in some ways doesn’t it and yet at the same time I think the author manages to turn Marian’s story into much more of a fairytale than I ever expected even with this sober slice of reality.

Overall this was an incredibly easy book to read, made so by the beautiful writing.  I had a couple of issues as mentioned above but they didn’t spoil the read for me at all in fact they gave me a few things to think about after I put the book down.  Even now, I’m not totally sure about the inclusion of the fae – and yet at the same time I loved their presence, I just wanted to see more of their slippery self-centred trickiness.  But, all things being equal this is primarily Marian’s story and in that respect this story is a great success.  Marian is the lovely character that I expected, she’s compassionate and warm, loving and at the same time tough and able.  I loved that she had magic and I loved the slight back stories to some of the other characters such as Little John.  This is a story that looks at the lore of the past, when people were much more superstitious and when the ‘others’ were something to be avoided at all costs and I love the way that those old tales are woven into this old favourite filling it with new possibility.

This isn’t really a tale of the Merry Men, it’s not all fun and japes, but it does take the legend into a new direction that was unexpectedly good to read.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

Blog blast _ 5th September

16 Responses to “Brightfall by Jaime Lee Moyer #Brightfall”

  1. Scarlett Readz and Runz

    That’s a great review! Admittedly, I never knew if there was a sequel out there or not. It sounds intriguing:)

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s an interesting idea – it really does turn Sherwood into a fairytale. It’s not a particularly favourable look at Robin so if that’s something that would not be to your liking then bear that in mind. I didn’t mind to be honest, people move on and change and so has Robin.
      Lynn 😀

  2. sjhigbee

    An excellent review, Lynn. Yes… this is one I’ve been thinking about a lot since I read it. I’m assuming that there will be a sequel where perhaps Robin’s story will be more thoroughly explored, otherwise I would have felt a lot less happy about the way it was left.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I hadn’t thought about that – a sequel would be very interesting wouldn’t it.
      Lynn 😀

  3. imyril

    I enjoyed this one too – I wasn’t expecting magic and Fae, and they made it quite the fairytale! (Also in the sense that it often felt quite straightforward – follow the clue, get into trouble, magic away the trouble, follow the next clue) but as you say it was really a personal journey, which I liked even more.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Once I came to terms with the journey being more about Marian I enjoyed it a lot more because at first it did seem to be following a theme.
      Lynn 😀

  4. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Of the many Robin Hood retellings one could find, this promises to be a very interesting one because of its focus on Marian – it sounds like a welcome change of pace…
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      Definitely very different from any Hood tale I’ve ever read – i really did like the focus on Marian.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Greg

    I am super curious about this! Especially with the fae inclusion- you’re right people were so much more superstitious back then so it kinda makes sense to have some of that factor into the story, if done well. Sounds like it was here.

    • @lynnsbooks

      This was a lovely written retelling, very easy to get along with, I liked that it’s very much Marian’s tale and thought it was a great idea to make this story involve the fae – almost like turning the tales into fairytales.
      Lynn 😀

  6. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I just learned of this book the other day! I quite like the idea of turning Robin Hood and Sherwood into fairy tale, now I wonder if this book is released in the US yet because I think I have to check it out.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I enjoyed it – it was a very easy read, I think my only slight quibble would have been that the fae could have been a little darker but I liked the way this focuses on Marian and creates a fairytale around the original story.
      Lynn 😀

  7. waytoofantasy

    Honestly, I’m even more intrigued after reading your review, Lynn! I love that the writing is great, I am curious about Robin’s character and the mystery elements of the plot. I love that it takes place after the spots where stories usually end. I’m looking forward to getting to this one eventually! Fantastic review. 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thanks. This was a good little read, very quick and I enjoyed the writing. I wonder whether Robin’s change in pace might give some people pause for thought but I wasn’t too concerned, people do change after all and this was Marian’s story.
      Lynn 😀

      • waytoofantasy

        All good to know! At least I’ll have my expectations set when I go in. 🙂

  8. Best of the Best list : 2019 | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] Brightfall by Jamie Lee Moyer […]

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