Longbow Girlby Linda Davies Published 23 Feb 2016
|Publisher||The Chicken House|
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A stunningly exciting and dramatic story set in the wilds of the Welsh mountains, where the brave and beautiful Merry Owen, the Longbow Girl, travels back in time to the autocratic kingdom of King Henry VIII to save her ancestors.
Steeped in history, ancient lore and crackling with tension between the central characters Merry and James, Longbow Girl explores the themes of who we are and who we can become when fighting for those we love and for our very lives. Are we prisoners of our history or can we break free? Can we become all that we need to be to meet the ultimate challenge of life and death in the King’s Tournament and in the dungeons of the Black Castle?
"Longbow Girl" Reviews
Despite a little clunky exposition early on, Longbow Girl has everything you need for a classic YA adventure: action, mystery, and a protagonist with a unique and interesting skill set. In this case, the protagonist is Merry Owen, a modern-day Welsh 15-year-old whose family land depends on a centuries-old commitment to be longbow archers for the British Crown.
Merry's bow skills, sharp eye, and a tendency to be in the right place at the right time leads her back to the 16th century and a challenge before Henry VIII, which should strain credibility but flows naturally from the events as they happen. The plot takes some nice twists along the way, the characters are engaging, and there's plenty of lore about bows and Welsh ponies. This is the kind of adventure story that thrilled me as a kid, and I enjoyed it even more when my daughter waved it under my nose and ordered me to read it.
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Merry Owen is an archer, because her family was granted their land hundreds of years ago provided that they always would defend the king with a longbow. She lost an eye in an incident when her bow broke, but still does a very good job. She has been home schooled since her accident, but still has a friend in neighbor James, even though their families have been at odds for years. When Merry finds a very old book buried in the earth, it turns out to be very old and valuable, and may be the key to saving her family's farm from debt. Unfortunately, she also feels that the book is a danger, and that she is somehow missing a relict connected to the book. She decides, after hearing part of the book translated, that she needs to search underwater in a secluded pond, and when she goes deep enough under water, she travels back in time. Luckily, she goes to the exact period when her ancestors were in danger of losing their land to Henry VIII, and she is able to step in and use her archery skills to defend her family.
774175Strengths: This one had several elements that will work for fantasy readers: archery, time travel, a strong female protagonist who uses her skills for good, a constructive depiction of a disability, and an evil villain who meets his doom back in time. I won't have a ton of readers for this, but think I have to buy a copy for my fans of Pierce's Alanna: The First Adventure. Loved that the family was intact and supportive, and James soccer career with Manchester United was very fun!
Weaknesses:The start was very slow, and there could have been a little more romance between Merry and James. And yes, there's probably enough fantasy books set in Wales.
What I really think: I kept thinking of Bond's A String in the Harp, which I got rid of years ago because no one read the PermaBound copy and it smelled really bad. I also thought originally that this was set in Africa-- not once I started reading it, but just looking at the colors on the cover, and thinking it was by Nicola Davies, who wrote The Lion Who Stole My Arm. For Wales, I'd pick more of a blue based color scheme, I think!
A great stand alone story. The world Linda Davies builds really drew me in and Merry was a great character, it was easy to stand with her and get behind her on her adventure. (little bit of a spoiler here) I do like a good romance story but most books with a female protagonist really tend to over-do the whole star-crossed lovers thing and this book handled the romance subtly and as a sub-plot which really appealed, their friendship, their heritage and the story came first!
I'll definitely be re-reading this, it already feels like an old favourite!
I really really enjoyed reading this book for many reasons, the main being that Merry is amazing, but another is that it took place in Wales! The author did an amazing job describing the scenery and introducing you to the folk lore and history.
Merry was a great character, she was badass, fearless but willing to admit when she was scared. She took chances but properly prepared for them before just jumping in. She learned from her mistakes and cared for her family and friends. Also she is a BAMF with the longbow!!
Also thank god for a normal romance that didn't at all take over the narrative, yay for being friends first!
My 6th grade son and i listened to the audio because it is a Lone Star book. Even though the title has "Girl" in it, I think it appeals to both genders because the girl is far from a princess. She has a supporting character male friend. The book involves mystery, time travel, archery and more to keep everyone interested.
2.5 stars. This felt more like a middle grade novel, so it's probably more fun if you know in advance that both the plot and writing style are targeted at a much younger audience.
Merry Owens is a homeschooled teen living in modern Wales. She's super good at archery and even lost an eye because of it. The family of her best friend James lives in a castle next door and hates the Owens (a lot of the characters and conflicts felt like a children's tv show). One day Merry finds what might be a missing book of the Mabinogion in her yard, but that quickly turns into a mess with people trying to claim or steal it. Her family is struggling financially, so the offers to sell it are tempting... but then Merry goes back in time and is able to use her archery skills to save the day. The amount of time she spent in the past was pretty brief and didn't happen until over halfway through, though.
The story is super predictable and much... less than what it could be. I was decently into it for the first few chapters because of all of the elements I'd normally love (Wales, archery, castles, soccer, etc). But the storytelling is kind of bland and the characters weren't terribly complex, so I lost interest pretty quickly.
But it's still a fun idea and seems like something middle schoolers who are into archery & medieval settings might enjoy!