Shadow of the Wolf by Tim Hall
The forest is full of legend and ancient stories, elemental creatures, demi-gods and monsters. Robin is more complex, damaged, possessed and bent on vengeance, consumed by shadows and vicious magic. Marian is no damsel awaiting a happy ending. She is the Destroying Angel. She becomes a demented survivor, ready to fight tooth and nail, pike shaft, blade and poison for what she wants.* The Sheriff is no mere melodramatic villain. Fable and rumour surround him too; a Winterborn like Robin Loxley. His dungeons descend deep into a perfidious darkness; he is a wolf drawn to fear like a moth to a flame.
In all honesty I was intimidated by this book - dense, small type, a familiar hero, not my first era of choice. However, once I had begun it was hard to put down, and once Robin begins his transmutation the author's ambition becomes clear. Robin can sense the forest around him like a spider on its web, he can hide in plain sight, his mastery of the bow and arrow is all but CGI by Medieval Light & Magic...
This is a brilliantly written novel, brutal, violent, thrilling, with characters that are all shaken and changed by the events. This is the first book of a trilogy, with more blood and teeth to be found on the Darkening Path through the entangled roots of the Wyrdwood.
For a confident 13 year old, with tenacity and stamina.
Consider the following for a reworking of our distant legends and historical half truth:
The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, Mythago Wood, Here Lies Arthur, Temeraire, The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel.
Consider Shadowmagic for something easier, younger & funnier.
* Revenge & Mr Loxley