“A Daring Sacrifice” by Jody Hedlund
Publishing house: Zondervan
Release date: March 1st, 2016
Quality of writing: 4 out of 5 stars.
How much I liked it: 2 1/2-3 out of 5 stars.
“In a reverse twist on the Robin Hood story, a young medieval maiden stands up for the rights of the mistreated, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. All the while, she fights against her cruel uncle who has taken over the land that is rightfully hers. Forced to live in the woods and hide with the poor people she’s grown to love, she works to save and protect them, but she never anticipates falling in love with the wealthy knight who represents all she’s come to despise.“
Thank you, Zondervan, for sending me a review ARC of “A Daring Sacrifice” by Jody Hedlund. In no way has this influenced my review.
The beginning of “A Daring Sacrifice” started off with a quicker pacing than Jody Hedlund’s first book, “An Uncertain Choice,” and I liked that because it helped me to be a little more interested in this book. I think that Jody Hedlund is a good writer for her genre and younger readers, but I’m personally not the hugest fan of this author’s stories. “An Uncertain Choice” and “A Daring Sacrifice” were both very small books, more like short stories, and I think that combined with me not caring for the characters kind of doomed me to the fate of disliking both of Jody’s books; I feel terrible for not enjoying her books, but sadly, they were just not the kind of stories that I like or connect with.
One of the things that I did not particularly care for in this book was its formatting, and how the perspectives shifted from the main female character’s to the male character’s with no real definition; the publisher used a slightly different font, but that was it. Granted, I love fonts and tend to notice them, but with the two protagonists in “A Daring Sacrifice,” I found their voices to be quite similar, despite being different genders, and that was a bit frustrating to me. When I wasn’t deliberately think about the font type, I kind of just floated through the chapters, not fully paying attention to the plot or the characters, and then I would realize that I didn’t know whose perspective I was reading from. There were obviously key words and characters that hinted at whose head I was in, but it still bothered me a little bit at times that I felt like I was adrift while reading “A Daring Sacrifice.” I did not get the chance to really find out who the characters were or understand their motivations in this book because of how short it was, and Julianna’s and Collin’s slightly disengaging perspectives kept me from being gripped by and pulled into the story that Jody had written.
In all fairness, I did like Juliana, the heroine of this story, more than Jody Hedlund’s previous female protagonist, whose name I no longer remember. (oops!) I appreciated the fact that Juliana was a more go-out-and-get-them kind of person, and I found her’s to be an easier perspective to read from, despite not being particularly attached to her. Although Juliana was a more pleasant female, she did not feel super distinct compared to some of the other fairy tale retelling characters. A lot of authors have been remaking the “Robin Hood” legend to star a female character, which is great, but it also does not make for the most diverse or unique protagonists in young adult fiction. A. C. Gaughen wrote a book about a female Will Scarlet who was a part of Robin Hood’s crew, and Melanie Dickerson combined the legend of “Robin Hood” with the “Swan Lake” fairy tale that starred a heroine who stole and poached to save the poor… Retellings are great and some of them have even become my favorite books, but at times it is hard to distinguish between them when the concepts are so widely used and the characters do not possess distinct pasts or traits that set them apart from each other. Juliana was an okay heroine, I just felt like she fell into the pile of many heroines in this genre who are fairly similar.
I don’t have a lot of words for Sir Collin, the “hero” in “A Daring Sacrifice,” because I was not at all a fan of him in it. Collin was supposed to be a charming, handsome lord with a heart of gold, but instead, he came off as an irritating male who was unattractively self-assured. The “banter” between him and Juliana was in no way charming or endearing, and I had a distaste for this character that started during the second chapter from his perspective and it lasted through the rest of this book. I can acknowledge the fact that he supposedly experienced some character growth over the course of “A Daring Sacrifice,” but this book was just so short that it felt like I never got the chance to actually see any development or progress in this character. The insta-love romance between Juliana and Collin also didn’t help with the fact that I did not like this book.
*sighs* Maybe the time period this book took place in can justify how quickly Juliana and Collin “fell” for each other, but I just did not buy it. This book was only 221 pages, which meant that the romance had to occur at a very rapid pace, and I think that Collin said in his head those three little words by page 100 or 120. All I can tell you is that it felt like it happened WAY too soon.
I feel really bad about not liking “A Daring Sacrifice” and for my not-so-pleasant review, but sadly, it’s how I feel. I know that Jody Hedlund has won a couple of awards for her books, so don’t let my review steer you away from reading her books if their summaries sound interesting to you. “A Daring Sacrifice” was a fairly well-written book and would be great for younger readers because of how easy it was to read, but it just did not end up being for me.