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"Everyone deserves a chance, don't you think? You've given Stephen his. It's up to him now what he does with it," Maid Marian. —The Stolen Crown
The Stolen Crown
League of Archers #2
by Eva Howard
AR Test, Strong Female Character
When Ellie and the League of Archers save Maid Marian from execution, the group hides in Sherwood Forest. They dream of helping the poor by building a farm in the middle of the forest, where the baron cannot reach them. In order to make their dream come true, Ellie and the League plan on stealing from the rich.
Ellie and her friends keep Robin Hood’s legacy alive, by stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. However, everything changes when Ellie witnesses King John’s murder. As Ellie flees the castle, a boy helps her escape and pleas to be allowed to join the League of Archers. When Ellie leads him to the heart of Sherwood Forest, he causes conflict among the members.
Then rumors reach Sherwood Forest—the baron plans to kidnap the crown prince. Will the League be able to unite in order to stop the baron’s plan?
The second installment of the League of Archers has less action than the first. The majority of the plot focuses on the power struggle between Ellie and the new member of the group, Stephen. The infighting of the group and the group’s thuggish behavior make the story less enjoyable.
Like the first book in the series, The Stolen Crown’s plot is difficult to believe because Ellie has the responsibilities of an adult but does not show the maturity and insight of an adult. Even though Friar Tuck and Maid Marian are both invested in building a farm for the poor, Ellie is left to make decisions better left to the adult. The two main adults in the story are not well developed and have little interaction with Ellie, which makes the story seem shallow.
The ending of the story is predictable and unsatisfying because the baron is not severely punished for his crimes. The one positive aspect of The Stolen Crown is the message that everyone deserves a second chance. Unfortunately, the League of Archers series will be easily forgotten once it is read.
- The king is murdered. When the king was poisoned, “one brawny hand was propped on the table, the other was clutched around his neck. . . He groaned again, fingers clawing at his throat, then slumped over the table, eyes and mouth stretched grotesquely wide.”
- Ellie is caught trying to steal and a soldier tries to capture her, but she “parried the blade away with her poker, sending it flying toward a knot of shocked nobles.” After a chase, Ellie is able to escape unharmed.
- Ellie and the League of Archers attempt to stop a coach and steal valuables. A group of men tries to stop the kids. When a man tries to grab one of the League of Archers, he “loosed an arrow into the unprotected spot under his arm. . .” The fighting takes place over four pages, but no one is seriously injured.
- When a nun tries to lock the League of Archers in the convent and hand them over to the baron, another nun, “pushed Mary Ursula so hard she fell backwards onto a pile of flour sacks.
- Ellie and the League of Archers break into a man’s house in order to steal from him. When an elderly man sees them, one of the league hits the man on the head. “There was a hard, sickening thump. The old man’s eyes went empty and he slumped to the ground.” One of the league points an arrow at the man and threatens to kill him if he doesn’t hand over the valuables. The man complies.
- When Ellie and a group of her friends attempt to steal a valuable crown, there is a brief battle with soldiers. Ellie hits one soldier with an arrow.
- Ellie and Stephen sword fight. In order to win the fight, Ellie fires a shot, and “her arrow shot clean through the flesh part of Stephen’s sword hand, between thumb and index finger. A fine spray of blood fizzed up.” As Ellie begins to walk away, Stephen shoots an arrow, but it hits another girl instead of Ellie. The girl is injured, but not seriously.
- When the baron sees Ellie, he tells her, “But I won’t show you the mercy I gave to your mother—no quick drop and a broken neck for Elinor Dray. You’ll hang on a short rope, so I can watch you die slow.” The baron then throws a dagger at Ellie. When the dagger misses, the baron uses a sword, and “the sword ran through the cloak this time, pinning Ellie to the wall.” The fight goes on for four pages, and Ellie is able to escape.
- When Ellie and the League of Archers try to free a prisoner from the baron’s castle, the guards try to stop them. A guard tries to choke a girl, and “Ellie stopped him with an arrow just below his throat, serious enough to scare him, but not deadly.” The group is able to escape the castle without anyone dying.
Drugs and Alcohol
- When a noblewoman talks badly about the king, her companion warns her to stop. The noblewoman replies, “Oh, he’s too drunk to hear us.”
- Several of the characters live in a convent and the life of a nun is described including going to prayer.
- One of the nuns blesses the baron. She says, “May the Lord guide you on the road to Nottingham! May he make our path straight, though it be winding, and may the king be as honored by your illustrious presence as we are.”