"Travelers Along the Way" by Aminah Mae Safi is adventure storytelling at its finest
I read Travelers Along the Way: A Robin Hood Remix last December and let me tell you, the ride this book took me on! It was everything I've ever wanted in an adventurous remix of the classic Robin Hood tale. From the chaotic good of main character/Robin Hood stand-in Rahma Al-Hud to the queer rep to the intricately woven historical details, it was purely delightful, beginning to end.
Part of Macmillan's "Remixed Classics"series, which I've obsessed over previously (see A Clash of Steel and So Many Beginnings), this new novel by Aminah Mae Safi is a 12th Century, Third Crusade-set take on Robin Hood. There are so many delightful nods to the original work scattered throughout the novel, but Aminah made this story wholly her own as well.
The thing I loved the most about this book were the characters. While each member of Rahma's merry band of misfits and troublemakers definitely served a narrative purpose (and had an original work foil), they were all so well-crafted, so thoroughly and lovingly fleshed out, that they stand on their own very well. My favorite has to be Rahma, because she's just a total delight, a hot mess of a tenderhearted disaster, and I am here for that. Like, in reality I'm probably more of a Zeena (minus the badassery) but in my heart I want to be Rahma. The endless struggle of my life...
Okay but back to the book :D
The story Aminah Mae Safi weaves in this book is really masterful. Every narrative choice feels so intentional, like she really sat down and thought it all through and put her pieces on the board and moved them around expertly where they needed to go. I was in awe of her mastery of storytelling. Like I said in my review, someday I hope to write a book as tightly-plotted and woven together as this one.
The only thing, the only thing, that I would change about this book is that I would add like 700 pages of adventure to it. I want to read a 15-book series following these characters! I want to sit in on their every meal, every adventure (cause knowing Rahma, they are bound to have more), every argument and just clap my hands in glee and grin because it's all! So! Good!
All in all, big fan of this book. Aminah Mae Safi set out to write a remix of Robin Hood and crafted something that, in my humble opinion, is just as worthy of praise and fandom as the original. It's got excellent diversity of character background, religion, sexuality, and ethnicity, and the book just comes alive as you read it. Highly recommend!