NO GOOD DEED, by Kara Connolly, Delacorte Press, July 18, 2017, Hardcover, $17.99 (young adult)
Who doesn’t like a good Robin Hood story? No Good Deed, by Kara Connolly, is an exciting adventure a la A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.
No Good Deed opens with Ellie Hudson — an archery phenom and Olympic front-runner — mid-competition. All Ellie needs to do is qualify at the trials, which happen to be held in England. Everything is going fine until a strange man in a monk’s robe starts across the field of play. Ellie’s the only one to see him, and people start to worry the stress is getting to her.
The next day, Ellie visits Nottingham with her mother, and gets turned around. When Ellie finally makes it through some crazy caverns, she finds herself smack in the middle of medieval England.
Confused and a little bit scared, Ellie immediately gets off on the wrong foot with the locals, including the sheriff. Thanks to her athletic prowess and some quick thinking, Ellie escapes into the arms of a handsome knight.
Ellie quickly discovers that life in the Middle Ages isn’t pleasant, especially when you aren’t part of the aristocracy. After seeing so many people suffering, Ellie can’t help but wonder if she shouldn’t put her skills as an archer to use. After all, Sherwood Forest could use a Robin Hood.
As Ellie immerses herself in a new life as an outlaw, she must travel a fine line between what may and may not alter history. After all, she could change the future with just the tip of an arrow.
No Good Deed starts a little slowly. It takes a few chapters before I settled into Kara Connolly’s story. This is in part because the book starts with a setup before getting into the meat. Once Ellie lands in the past, however, the pacing picks up substantially.
In order for No Good Deed to work, there needed to be a reason for Ellie to be good with a bow and arrow. I’m just not sure I really believed her backstory. There are some elements with her brother that just felt a little too convenient, which was unfortunate because though he plays a role in Ellie’s story, it’s a small one.
The positive side of Ellie being a super star archer is that she gets to become a super star outlaw. This is where, you as a reader need to think of this No Good Deed as a popcorn movie and ignore the historical inaccuracies. This is, after all, an imaginative piece of time traveling and legends and not historical fiction. I enjoyed the scenes where Ellie gets the best of her foes. She has just the right amount of present-day snark to add a delightful contrast to ye olden time guys.
When all is said and done, I would read No Good Deed again. I’d even recommend it as a light, quick-paced escape. Just don’t think too hard when reading it.
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