Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Review of The Tale of Gwyn by Cynthia Voigt

Read for: Mount TBR & Series Challenge
Synopsis: "In a fantastical kingdom ravaged by famine and poverty, the prospect of hope lies with a mythical masked hero in this, the first book in the Tales of the Kingdom series from Newbery Medalist Cynthia Voigt.

In a distant time, a kingdom is starving. With winter upon them, there is little hope, except for the legend of Jackaroo: a masked outlaw who comes at night to aid the destitute and helpless. But Gwyn, the innkeeper’s daughter, is too practical for false hopes. She believes Jackaroo is nothing more than a fairy tale told to keep children hopeful till the next sunrise.

Then Gwyn is forced to seek refuge in an abandoned house, and while scavenging for supplies, she comes across...a mask? A sword? A cloak? Could these belong to the fabled Jackaroo? As Gwyn searches for answers, she discovers that the heart of a hero goes far beyond a mask.

Previously published as Jackaroo, this classic tale features a new look and a new title."

My Review: I had originally picked this book up on a whim because I really liked the cover and that it was a fantasy book (I must admit that the original cover and title it was published under would not have attracted my attention and I may have never read it). I am so glad I did pick it up. It was a little bit slow but it was well written and with smooth world building that you really didn't mind so much. I found the use of only a few actual names to be intriguing too, nearly everyone is referred to by their job or position and family (ie. Innkeeper's Daughter). This tale is also influenced a little by the story of Robin Hood but has so many differences that you don't feel like you are reading a retelling. There were definitely plenty of surprises and twists throughout the book that kept you reading and guessing. The last 50 to 75 pages were very good, it climaxed well and brought about an ending that was rather unexpected. I am really looking forward to starting the next book in this series!
My Rating: While this was a slower paced book, it didn't mean that it was slow to read.  It was easy to sit down and read through 100 pages without even noticing the time was moving.  The writing was much different in this book than most I have read recently but was a nice change.  I give this book a rating of Four Paws!


  1. Sounds like this one was a pleasant surprise. I love that cover too. I definitely would pick it up in the bookstore based on the cover.

    1. It was quite the surprise and a relief, after some of my other picks not being so great lately. There are three more books in this series so I am hoping they are as good!