Book Review: The Blue SwordAuthor: Robin McKinley
Series: Damar #1
Genre: YA fantasy
I picked up this book because it came highly recommended to me by a friend on Goodreads and by a local librarian. I really didn't know what to expect of The Blue Sword. I was a little skeptical because it was an "older" novel, first published in 1982, but oldies can be goodies too! The Setting paragraph comes from Goodreads which probably means it's courtesy of the publisher.
Harry Crewe is an orphan girl who comes to live in Damar, the desert country shared by the Homelanders and the secretive, magical Hillfolk. Her life is quiet and ordinary-until the night she is kidnapped by Corlath, the Hillfolk King, who takes her deep into the desert. She does not know the Hillfolk language; she does not know why she has been chosen. But Corlath does. Harry is to be trained in the arts of war until she is a match for any of his men. Does she have the courage to accept her true fate?
What I LIKED about this book
McKinley's writing was superb! Truly, she is a gifted storyteller! Her exploration of magic in the fantasy genre has laid a foundation for all authors publishing in this area.
I have to say however that my favorite part of this book was the main protagonist Harry. Her transformation from lowly orphan to praised war hero was entertaining and easily relate-able to any reader. Her most admirable quality was her ability to stay level-headed during a crisis and her ability to actually fight and defend herself. No Bella Swan's here! (I think I've been Bella bashing a lot lately. Sorry Bella. You're so well-known as a helpless protagonist!)
What I DISLIKED about this book
Honestly, McKinley's work is a true classic for it's genre and therefore it's hard for me to criticize. For YA however, this would be considered a slow-moving book. It was really good but definitely did not grab me from the first page. Also Harry and Corlath's feelings for each other really only came out in the last 10 pages of the book. (Corlath pretty much said "Oh hey Harry. I glad you're not dead, now will you marry me?). I would have liked more exploration in the romance department earlier on in the book.
Overall, The Blue Sword is a classic you can't afford to miss, especially if you're a fan of YA fantasy, 4 out of 5 stars. I know this is a series but I'm not sure if I'll pick any of those up, my to-read shelf on Goodreads is overflowing and The Blue Sword did not leave off with a cliffhanger or intro into the second book to peak my interest. The content in this book is appropriate for all ages of readers and this would be an excellent choice for a book club read. I hope you'll enjoy Harry as much as I did!