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The Blue Sword

The Blue Sword

Escrito por Robin McKinley

Narrado por Diane Warren


The Blue Sword

Escrito por Robin McKinley

Narrado por Diane Warren

avaliações:
4.5/5 (109 avaliações)
Comprimento:
12 horas
Lançado em:
Jan 1, 1992
ISBN:
9781470356415
Formato:
Audiolivro

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Descrição

Harry Crewe, the Homelander orphan girl, is pleased with her new home. Life in Istan is certainly easy, but a voice in her ear whispers that the home of her heart is among the Hillfolk, among the descendants of Lady aerin, who once wielded Gonturan, the Blue Sword.

Lançado em:
Jan 1, 1992
ISBN:
9781470356415
Formato:
Audiolivro

Também disponível como...

Também disponível como livroLivro


Sobre o autor

Robin McKinley has won various awards and citations for her writing, including the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown, a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature for Sunshine. Her other books include the New York Times bestseller Spindle’s End; two novel-length retellings of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and Rose Daughter; Deerskin, another novel-length fairy-tale retelling, of Charles Perrault’s Donkeyskin; and a retelling of the Robin Hood legend, The Outlaws of Sherwood. She lives with her husband, the English writer Peter Dickinson; three dogs (two hellhounds and one hell terror); an 1897 Steinway upright; and far too many rosebushes.

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Avaliações de leitores

  • (4/5)
    I bought this as a second hand book from the library MANY years ago, and really liked it. Must find the rest of the series to see how the story progresses...
  • (4/5)
    I’m glad I read Hero and the Crown first, though it seems to me you can read this duology in either order. For me, understanding the history of Damar, Aerin and the sword, helped me understand Harry’s world. Magic has changed since Aerin’s day, becoming rarer and seemingly only gifting those who wield it with destructive powers.Harry is likable, though I wasn’t as invested in this story as I was Hero. Maybe because I read Hero first? But there’s a lot of depth and feeling here, like in Hero (which just made me want to re-read Hero) and I was happy to see Harry had a feline friend and a smart horse, much like Aerin.McKinley has such a way with words. Yet again, we get a YA book with the ‘chosen one’ trope, but I loved it! Harry is sensible and calm, dealing with her struggles to find a place that feels like home in a way that made me feel for her. She’s tough and powerful, yes, but she has to learn to develop her powers properly, ride a horse, wield a sword. We get to see her become badass and self-aware, rather than just be told she is.If, like me, you struggle with finding enjoyable YA fantasy, I highly recommend this duology!
  • (5/5)
    When Harry's father dies, she is sent from her home (an England-like country) to a colonial army outpost on the outskirts of Daria where her brother is stationed. She actually kind of loves the desert and the hills beyond, but they make her feel restless, as well. When the king of the free hillfolk appears at the fort one day, little does Harry know that her entire life is about to change...I've loved this book since I was a teenager, though not as much as I love the prequel, The Hero and the Crown. Harry's journey is written with such a deft hand, and the setting is so beautifully realized, that reading it makes me feel as if I've been there, and I'm always reluctant to leave. If you haven't read these two books, they can be read in any order, and I highly recommend both.
  • (5/5)
    {First of 2: Damar series. Children's, fantasy, adventure}(Re-read)This Newbery Honour children's book, although published in 1983, is set in a parallel universe in what could be Queen Victoria's empire in our world. The writing is a little formal and gives it the feel of having been written in colonial times, although it is still extremely readable.I was always predisposed to like this book because (although crippled by inordinate shyness) I always wanted to ride a horse and wield a sword and have adventures and Harry gets to do all these. And then when I first read it, it was so well written that it's been on my favourites list ever since.Harry (Angharad) Crewe has had to move from Home (England) to Istan/ Ihistan (Afghanistan?) which is at the northern boundary of Daria (India). (McKinley based the landscape of the Damar books on Kipling's British India.) She doesn't fit in although she tries to and it's not because McKinley takes the modern/ easy route of other people being mean to her; everyone is welcoming and the two most popular girls are the admitted beauties of the station; the entire 4th Cavalry, stationed at the General Mundy, were in love with them. But they were also cheerful and open-hearted, and she was fond of them. It's just that she is out of her element; she's always been a little bit more adventurous at home than is quite acceptable by society and now she has to be on her best behaviour and she has the added handicap of being too tall for most men to dance with. Though the local natives are friendly and adapt to the conquering Homelanders, the Hill-folk who live in the mountains just to the north of Istan have a certain mystique and it may be there that Harry finds her place.I like the way McKinley outlines people's emotions and also gives the animals personalities without using anthropomorphism. For example, Tsornin (translated to Sungold in Homelander speech), her warhorse took her lessons afoot very badly, and would lace back his years and stamp, and circle her and Mathin till they had to yell at him to go away.Or (Narknon is the large hunting-cat that has adopted Harry) There was a friendship between the horse and the hunting-cat now, and they would chase one another around the obstacles of the practice field, Narknon's tail lashing and Sungold with his ears back in mock fury. Once the big cat had hidden behind one of the grassy banks, where Harry and Sungold could not see her; and as they rode by she leaped out at them, sailing clean over Sungold and Harry on his back. Harry ducked and Sungold swerved; and Narknon circled and came back to them with her ears back and her whiskers trembling in what was obviously a cat laugh.I love the little touches in the last chapter, the way it wraps up all the loose ends into a happy ending, especially Lady Amelia and Sir Charles. she was astonished when little Lady Amelia climbed or fell off her horse just in front of her, said, ‘Harry, my dear why did you never send us any word?’ burst into tears, and threw her arms around her former houseguest Describing a small girl visiting the City for the first time:- including Rilly, who was beside herself with excitement, and her mother, who was beside herself with Rilly - Although I identified with Harry when I first read The Blue Sword however many decades ago, I now think she's awkward rather than shy and a lot more resilient than me. Of course, this is a children's book and she has youth on her side. Other reviews remind me that some events may move a bit faster than they would for you or me but given the richness of the writing, the magic of Damar and that this book is less than 300 pages long, I am more than inclined to overlook a minor niggle.Still, and always, a five star book.5*****
  • (4/5)
    I probably would have given this young woman with something extra saves everyone she cares about from vast evils a higher rating if I had read it when it first came out. It does stand out from the background still, and avoids some of the worst excesses of that sub-genre of fantasy, but hill people are not usually horse people as well while inhuman enemies aren't my favorite fantasy opposition.
  • (4/5)
    This is an excellent, short fantasy novel. The world it is set in parallels ours very closely, but it is not quite the same as ours. A young lady from 'Home' (England) ends up on a far away island on the edge of a hilly desert region after her parents pass away. She is fostered by a lord and lady there and reunited with her brother. It isn't long before she meets the native inhabitants that live nearby and the story goes on from there. This book is essentially a young-adult fantasy tale, not an epic and is missing all of the judgments of Colonialism, racism or other -isms, it is just a fantasy story about a young girl that becomes a hero. It is well written and enjoyable, though quite predictable. For its intended audience, which would be younger people not quite so jaded by decades of reading fantasy, this could be a lifetime favorite.
  • (4/5)
    Four stars for what it is meant to be, and three stars for my particular situation. For what it is, it is a beautifully written story about fate and friendship. The horses are beautiful, and it has magic, mystery, battles, and splintered societies. For me, I think I am too old for this book. If I had read it when it was gifted to me (15 years ago or more - it's been sitting on my shelf for a while), I would have loved it more. Otherwise, all the focus on horses took me out of the story and reminded me of being a horse-loving tween. Reading this book right after reading Left Hand of Darkness dulled the story's culture clash. I enjoyed the story, and read it quickly, but I am not as sympathetic to the tomboy-ish heroine - even a twist on that motif - as I once was. A saving grace, though, is that she wasn't very tomboyish, just unsettled by something deep inside called fate.
  • (4/5)
    This is one of those books I wish teenage me would have read as I know I would have absolutely loved it back then. The story features a strong female protagonist who survives a kidnapping and turns her circumstances around when she learns she's the chosen one and proceeds to save the world. She gets a special horse, a magic sword, has a jaguar-type cat as a companion and in general kicks ass. Yeah, teenage me would have been in heaven. 30-something me was charmed and sees the foundation of what will become many modern YA fantasy tropes. 80s fantasy can have that feel sometimes.This book is beautifully written. You do have to watch out though as the story sometimes switches POV mid-chapter without any warning. I wasn't expecting it the first time and had to reread the section. It is easy to get used to though. I enjoyed the descriptive passages quite a lot and the world building gave just enough detail without being overwhelming. I greatly enjoyed the action scenes, especially Harry's training. While technically The Blue Sword is the first in the Damar duology it works just fine as a standalone book. The adventure is fully resolved by the end and all loose ends are wrapped up. This was a fun read.
  • (5/5)
    It was wonderful.
  • (3/5)
    McKinley describes a world based on old british colonialism. The characters are likable and the story interesting, but even though I loved the later part of the story I still didn't really feel engaged in the main character's fate until I had read more than half the book. It was a fairly quick read, and I wouldn't mind reading more books in the series, but I'm not going to seek them out.
  • (2/5)
    Clunky. Starts out as Kipling-lite, with a young woman travelling to the far flung outpost of a mighty empire, where she ends up dancing with young officers on station. Then she goes native, almost without noticing. Throughout the second half characters speak at great length, and pompously (occasionally jocularly), about nothing. Even in the direst situations, they never seem to have any urge to get down to business.What this book does offer is lifestyle porn. First, our heroine lives the Kipling life, then she lives a thrilling nomadic existence in tents and the occasional castle, waited on by many servants. She also learns to ride an excellent horse without a bridle and only the most rudimentary saddle and get to take performance-enhancing drugs before an athletic competition.
  • (4/5)
    In my reviews of Robin McKinley's other books, I have described her writing as gentle, pleasant, charming, graceful, cozy. In this, her third publication, she abandons the fairytale roots and lush woodland settings of Beauty and The Door in the Hedge for windswept deserts and invading demon armies, yet somehow she manages to retain that sense of coziness and domesticity, so that it is not surprising to hear people refer to The Blue Sword as a comfort read.Our heroine, Angharad or—as she prefers to be called—Harry Crewe, is an orphan who has left the Homeland to live with Sir Charles and Lady Amelia at an outpost in Daria, a colony of the Homelander empire where her brother Richard is stationed with the army. Unlike most of her countrymen, Harry is drawn to this barren and strange land. But all is not well there. The Hillfolk, last remnants of the ancient kingdom of Damar, come to warn the Homelanders of a great army of Northerners marching on their border. The well-meaning Homelanders cannot help, and most (like Sir Charles) are skeptical of this so-called threat, but the meeting has another fated but unexpected outcome. For when the golden-eyed king of the Hillfolk, Corlath, sees Harry, his kelar—the magic in his Hill blood—directs him to steal her away. So Harry finds herself swept off and burdened with a destiny she never expected.One doesn't really read Robin McKinley for fast-moving plots, and it took about half the book before I really became involved, even though I'd read it before, as a preteen. Those who dislike lengthy descriptions would best look elsewhere as well. Where she excels is in her creation of imaginary cultures, her soothing narrative voice, and the little touches that make her worlds come to life. There is not a person, a landscape, a building, an animal in this book that I could not see as clearly as if I were there myself.Harry is, refreshingly, not conventionally beautiful or "sexy," nor does she have the trademark clumsiness that has become such a hallmark of YA heroines. (I'm looking at you, Bella Swan.) Instead, she is oversized, lanky, sensible, and dreamy. She is far more unique and memorable than all the women of Spindle's End put together, which is the last McKinley book I read. Corlath is fascinating too, both as a person and as a ruler, but their romance is so subtle as to be almost nonexistent—and certainly not racy, which I remembered it being for some reason. Ha. Luthe plays a much smaller part than I recalled as well, to the point where one questions why he's in the book in the first place. He dispenses a little wisdom but doesn't advance the plot really. My favorite characters weren't actually human: Aerin's faithful Hill horse Tsornin, or Sungold, and the hunting cat Narknon. McKinley's animals are always winning.The clash of cultures is what really makes the book live and breathe, mostly because they parallel our own history. The expanding Homelander empire is clearly modeled after Imperialist Great Britain, while Damar distinctly resembles North Africa. It's fun to have a world where guns and Edwardian manners meet ancient traditions and magic.The book really begins to heat up as Harry disobeys orders and goes her own way, and the Northerners approach. The final face-off is thrilling, but Thurra, the sorcerer-king of the North, is built up as so powerful (while remaining veiled in mystery) that it's hard to accept he'd be so easily defeated. And when I turned the last page, I felt strangely empty. The book takes us to a fascinating new world, but very little happens; it could easily be half its length and still retain all the major plot points and character development. When I first read it, years ago, I had just finished its Newbery Medal-winning prequel, The Hero and the Crown, and I found it disappointing in comparison. Though I did enjoy The Blue Sword, I now see why. Luckily I read the books in publication order this time, and thus still have Hero to look forward to.
  • (5/5)
    It has been decades since I read this book. I wanted it to be as magical as I remembered it being and it was! Harry is such a strong character and finds she is stronger and more capable than she suspected. Damar is also a complex and interesting world with a deeper history that is hinted at. I loved exploring that world with Harry. The book kept drawing me in.Anyone who likes fantasy would most likely enjoy this book. As for me, onward to The Hero and the Crown!
  • (2/5)
    The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley is set in the same world as The Hero and the Crown, which I enjoyed when I read it a couple of years ago. It's been on my wishlist for a really long time, and I decided to give in and buy myself a copy. Unfortunately, I didn't end up enjoying it as much.The Blue Sword features Angharad "Harry" Crewe, a quasi-British ("Homelander") impoverished noblewoman who finds herself living in a fort town on the edge of the Homelander empire after the death of her parents. Although her life is pretty boring, she realises she has come to love the harsh lands of her new home. She's interested in the native (Damarian/Hillfolk) culture and language, but everyone around her considers it irrelevant as they are considered barbarians, so she doesn't learn much about them.Then, she catches the eye of the king of the Damarians, and he is compelled by his magic to kidnap her. She turns out to be the key to saving both Damar and her own people from the real barbarians - the Northerners, that are descended from demons.I can't review this book without spoilers, so my apologies.*** WARNING: EXTENSIVE SPOILERS FROM HERE ONWARDS ***I had a pretty hard time with this book for a few different reasons.THE PROTAGONISTGenerally I love quiet-but-awesome characters, but I was never really able to connect with Harry. She just seemed mostly passive, but stubborn whenever the plot needed her to be. For example, when she's kidnapped, she is a bit scared in the beginning, but doesn't actually react to it that much, even though she has no idea what the Damarians want, and she can't speak their language. She doesn't even have a single thought of escape - it's almost like she's an observer in her own life. But then she gets utterly convinced that she needs to fight for Damar and is incredibly passionate about that. It just doesn't seem like the same person - unless she feels utterly useless at home and is just glad that someone wants her, and is willing to do whatever she needs to do to hold on to that. But that's not a very pleasant or heroic characterisation. In any case, even if Harry is a perfectly likeable person, it didn't show through in the book for me.THE MARY SUEIn The Inheritance: And Other Stories, Robin Hobb says that in the worst of [fantasy] stories, the magic and the mantle of being a hero is bestowed without effort by or cost to the protagonist. I tend to agree with her, and this is a large part of why I didn't like the story of The Blue Sword. Harry is unremarkable (she's a bit withdrawn and cold) when she's kidnapped, but then reveals herself to have incredibly strong magic, learns the Damarian language to fluency in a couple of weeks, masters the native fighting skills and beats every single warrior in the trials with six weeks of practice, wields a mythical sword that is the most treasured relic of the Damarians, single handedly defeats the enemy by dropping a mountain on them, discovers the long lost healing uses of her magic, marries the king, and commences diplomatic relations between the Homelanders and the Damarians. All in about 200 pages. What does she give up to achieve this? Nothing.THE CULTURAL DYNAMICSAt first glance, this book seems to be about subverting the colonial idea that the Damarian "natives" were barbaric and uncivilised, by having a protagonist that has "gone native" by fighting for Damar and choosing to settle there and adopt their culture. But the Damarian civilisation regards another one (the Northerners) as similarly barbaric and uncivilised, and that is never questioned, by Harry or anyone else. Instead, everyone agrees that they are utter evil and must be vanquished - we don't even meet a single Northerner in the book, except in battle. This really annoyed me, and I'm even totally ignoring the "native civilisation needs a white coloniser girl to come save them" issue.I understand that this is a young adult book and isn't as complex as general fantasy, but this is still no excuse.
  • (5/5)
    Angharad is left an orphan and goes to live in a desert country where she discovers her destiny. Not your ordinary coming of age story.
  • (5/5)
    Loved this book. Great characters. Terrific world building. One of the best books I've read recently. Really something bewyond just a swords and sorcery book. I'm going to read some of her other books.
  • (4/5)
    This has been a favorite book for years. I purchased it when it was first published and enjoyed it tremendously. A fun fantasy that kept me reading because I wanted to know MORE!
  • (5/5)
    The Blue Sword is a Newbery Honor Book (1983) but the fact that this book didn't win the full award is a crime (worse, it lost out to Dicey's Song--ugh!). Still, I'm not sure why Newbery honored this one before its predecessor, The Hero and the Crown. Maybe the two were originally published backwards? Yet it's hard to find the original publication dates because they've both been reprinted so many times.Whatever the case may be, this book is no washout of a sequel!Here's the story:"When Harry Crewe's father dies, she leaves her Homeland to travel east, to Istan, the last outpost of the Homelander empire, where her elder brother is stationed.Harry is drawn to the bleak landscape of the northeast frontier, so unlike the green hills of her Homeland. The desert she stares across was once a part of the great kingdom of Damar, before the Homelanders came from over the seas. Harry wishes she might cross the sands and climb the dark mountains where no Homelander has ever set foot, where the last of the old Damarians, the Free Hillfolk, still live. She hears stories that the Free Hillfolk possess strange powers -- that they work magic -- that it is because of this that they remain free of the Homelander sway.When the king of the Free Hillfolk comes to Istan to ask that the Homelanders and the Hillfolk set their enmity aside to fight a common foe, the Homelanders are reluctant to trust his word, and even more reluctant to believe his tales of the Northerners: that they are demonkind, not human.Harry's destiny lies in the far mountains that she once wished to climb, and she will ride to the battle with the North in the Hill-king's army, bearing the Blue Sword, Gonturan, the chiefest treasure of the Hill-king's house and the subject of many legends of magic and mystery"Now forget the fact that her name is Harry (because you'll be SO enthralled by the book that you will), and let's focus on the fact that this a medieval book SET IN THE DESERT.YEA!IT'S FANTASTIC!Now I don't know anyone who doesn't love a good story about capture, but regardless of your preference, READ THIS. It's not necessary to read the prequel first, but it'll certainly put a smile on your face (like it did mine) when you read a snippet about Aerin in The Blue Sword; it'll make you feel like McKinley is referencing a piece of your own culture.Harry is just as strong as Aerin, but special in her own way. The customs that she's introduced to through the "enemy" king, Corlath, are really cool. Because you, the reader, know nothing about it, you go through captivity and discovery with Harry; talk about throwing you into a story!The horses (who everyone grows to love) are all descendants of Aerin's darling horse, so they're pretty awesome in this book, too.I have not only reread this story several times, but I plan on doing so several times more, as well. It is timeless.It is unique.It is fantastic.And writing this had made me want to read it AGAIN (for the like, billionth time). Seriously. Let me go pull my perfect copy down from its sacred, always-dust-free, and prominent perch...This review is an entry on my blog.
  • (3/5)
    McKinley was among the first to write fantasy novels with female heroes (they are not heroines because all their heroic deeds are in the male-mode).However, this is basically a RoMance (tm), no an epic fantasy.The setting is a very thinly veiled version of the British Raj in 19th century India (which is at least a change from the endless Medieval worlds).Angharad insists on being called Harry (for n apparent reason); she doesn't appear to have any intrinsic talents or skills except horse-riding, which wasn't all that uncommon for women in the Real World; she is a "rebel" in her native milieu (but not as interesting as Jane Austen's); her powers are suddenly revealed and not earned*; she doesn't really learn to control them, although she uses them; and (my pet peeve, having fenced some in college) she becomes a superior swordsman in only 6 weeks with no prior experience at all, and no obvious connection to her powers.WHY IT IS A ROMANCE: the native king falls in love with Harry immediately; tolerates her Outlander notions without irritation; treats her in privileged ways no real tribal chief would, even in the Damarian egalitarian society (itself grossly unrealistic); and acts twitter-pated. In other words, he is a character on her Holodeck.NOTE: this story occurs chronologically after those of books published later.REFLECTION: the subgenre of hidden-hero-suddenly-saves-the-world is not unique to female protagonists. To me, it looks like the obverse of a victimhood-story, in that the source of the hero's power & skill always comes from outside them, and is not under their control -- just like the source of the victim's troubles.Yes, the hero-candidate usually exhibits some determination, sense of duty, and (sometimes) personal growth, but the role is still imposed rather than earned.*Harry is pretty durn obtuse to not even wonder why she has Damarian occult powers; brother Dickie doesn't reveal until the end of the book that great-great-grandma was a native.
  • (5/5)

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    The Blue Sword is one of my ultimate comfort reads, the rare sort of novel that you first encounter in your teens that only gets better every time you revisit it. Of Robin McKinley's fine body of work, this novel is arguably one of the best, and proves her place as one of the best fantasy authors writing today. A young woman named Harry — short for her hated name, Angharad — has come to the border town of Istan in Damar, a possession of the Homeland crown, as a charity case. Her brother is a subaltern in Her Majesty's army, and when their father died he was left with an entailed estate and an unmarried sister on his hands. Harry is extremely tall and awkward, lacking the beauty that might have made her position easier. Though Lady Amelia and Sir Charles are kindness itself to Harry, her real comfort in her new life is derived from a secret joy in the harsh, beautiful desert. Little does she know that she is about to involuntarily make its acquaintance on much closer terms — and join a desperate attempt to save Damar from the onrush of the demonic Northern army.What a brilliant idea, to model a fantasy world from life during historical British imperialist rule. "Homeland" is very similar to England, and its characters are properly British in their ideas and manners. Damar's desert culture provides a lovely backdrop for the action of the story, and becomes more than that over the course of the story. It is almost a character in its own right, and forms a large part of the characters' motivations. This is definitely a fantasy novel to read for its world-building.The characters are wonderful. Harry is fascinating because she is very observant and stubborn, though she tries to meet the expectations of those around her. Her wry sense of humor makes the events of the story feel believable, and she is a good judge of character. But we also get to see her insecurities and fears, which make her accessible and well rounded. I love the snippets of magic and history that we get, that are later explained in The Hero and the Crown. Corlath is also well written, and of course Tsornin and Mathin and the others all have distinct personalities conveyed well in a few words. McKinley's economy of language is so precise and tight. Every word adds something meaningful to the story, lets us in a little closer to what is happening both externally and within the characters. This isn't always the case with her work — the denouéments of several of her novels are so wildly descriptive and powerful that they are sometimes unclear as to what is actually taking place — but this doesn't happen here. The end of the story is as satisfying as the language in which it is told. And as I was rereading this time, I couldn't help but wish for a really faithful film adaptation of this story. It would be amazing onscreen if it were done well, if the actors could convey all the unspoken undercurrents in the relationships. With its tight plot, compelling characters, authentic cultures, and deft writing, The Blue Sword is a wonderful example of top-notch fantasy writing. It's one of my all-time favorite books, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

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  • (4/5)
    This was a fun blast from the 1980s fantasy genre: full of long sentences and paragraphs, dense and wordy, with points of view all over the map. Even so, I admired the story and especially the characters, who shine with McKinley’s knack for vivid imagery and wry metaphor. And who doesn’t treasure an author who loves semi-colons as much as I do? Writing styles have changed; I have not read any of McKinley’s current works, but appreciate this flashback to the style that I grew up with. It certainly influenced the writing of many authors (and me, too). It proves the maxim: a good story soars above minor nitpicks. This is a good story, and it soars.
  • (5/5)

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    I fell in love with The Blue Sword and Beauty as a young child, and they were both favorites of mine while growing up and have read them more times than I can count. To this day they are both still my all-time favorites.

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  • (3/5)
    Harry's father dies and she is sent to Daria. Once in Daria she begins to love the country although she does find herself a bit bored. Then she is abducted by the local king and grows to become a strong commander and legend in her own right.

    I finished this book last night and it was completely amazing. This is another book that I wasn't sure what to think about because I had heard that a lot of people weren't happy when it was awarded the Newberry and I think I understand why but I really wish people would give it a second chance. This book is very much high fantasy with a very complicated created world that does McKinley credit. If you aren't a fantasy fan, this could also be a huge turn off.





  • (3/5)
    "The Blue Sword" is light, fun, and adventuresome escapist young-adult fantasy. It presents a simple coming-of-age story with all the old elements: black and white good and evil, a battle against the odds, destiny, an orphan in an unfamiliar country, a magic sword, a brooding tall dark and handsome male lead, and faceless sub-human monsters.

    In this story the good guys are almost unswervingly good, and the villains are unquestionably evil. There are no great surprises or shocking plot twists, but the world of the story is presented quickly and competently.
  • (4/5)
    No huge love plot, no rape, racism, interesting world building.

    I love the characters in this book. They have motivations and limitations, they have thoughts and agendas and plots. The one thing that I'd have appreciated is a bit more detail on the fancy swordfighting the main character so effortlessly learns, I didn't quite buy that anyone would get so effortlessly good at something as intricate, but this is only a minor gripe.

    What I loved especially is the complete absence of sexual violence and the fact that this fantasy book manages to get by without graphic sexual violence, you so rarely see that, and mostly without a love plot, though the main character is female.

    What I'm no a big fan of is the colonialism and racism. I'm not sure why we need a saviour with a white background from the coloniser's country.
  • (5/5)
    [Re-read 2013]

    Things I discovered re-reading this beloved favorite of my childhood:

    I really love Harry and she is a much more distinctive and specific character than I remembered (my recollection had been of her being more of a cipher/everywoman but that must have been just part of the way I read this as a kid)

    She lives in a world where they celebrate Christmas (there is a reference to Richard's letters sent Home at Christmas). And she compares something to a "mark of Cain" at one point. I had completely missed this, or forgotten it.

    There is not a lot that actually *happens* (externally) in this book (compared to The Hero and the Crown, for example) yet I was still absorbed by Harry's internal struggles as she finds her place between two worlds, all the details of Damarian life, and just spending time with the characters.
  • (5/5)
    The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley is a story of epic proportions, it tells the story of Harry Crewe and how she was spirited away from her home by the mysterious Corlath, King of Damar, and went on to become that country’s beloved saviour armed with the legendary sword Gonduran, aided by the ancient magic that she finds within herself and accompanied by her horse Sungold and a hunter-cat called Narknon.The Blue Sword was originally published in 1983 and it was interesting to compare this fantasy to the ones being written today. While Harry was understated and cool, modern heroines are more forthcoming and openly passionate. In fact, the whole book was understated in ways that left a lot to the imagination of the reader and I for one, enjoyed having the freedom to interpret the author’s words and paint my own pictures. This Newberry Award winner was a wonderful read and one that I will long remember. The romance is understated but woven throughout the story and although the ending is no surprise to the reader, it was everything I had hoped for. With her quiet strength and honesty, Harry Crewe was a heroine that I loved rooting for and her journey from the restless, unsettled girl living in a frontier town to the Damalur-Sol (lady hero) of a remote hill country was truly magical.
  • (3/5)
    I wish I loved this, but I don't. I love Robin Mickinley's stuff don't get me wrong, but this was not enough on the right side of good that I could enjoy.

    So Harry, who seems cool, interesting spunky character gets kidnapped and thrown in to the world of Hill-folk & its master Corlath. (Corlath seems hunky when he flashes his golden eyes..)
    She takes this a bit too easily. No struggles, just 'OK, yeah cool, I've been kidnapped, must stay stoic...oh I love this place...yeah Im great at dealing with this stuff...wow...'yeah..
    There is not realistic growth, she just seems to swim perfectly into the mold that is expected of her from a prophecy via kelar and float until suddenly whoom she fells some mountains and beats a giant army easy peasy (after all that bloodshed..) Totally fine with that -_-

    The whole story was so solemn, though I loved the descriptions and customs and reading about her experiences in the new world, I couldn't really connect with anything. McKinley seems like she was delving deep into the world of Hill-folk and showing how much Harry absorbed but it felt like we were just skimming the surface.

    I enjoyed the characters until she got kidnapped then somehow everyone was behind this glass wall I couldn't touch, acting on their best behaviour, even their outbursts too solemn to be taken seriously.

    That romance, where the HECK was that romance? It was like the elephant in the room, no scrap that, the elephant that ran away leaving a hole in the wall T_T
    I almost flew through the chapters trying to get a glimpse of more than the overly subtle barely there hints that they MIGHT have feelings for each other. And then wham bam they declare their SOLEMN feelings for each other in front of everybody. Ugh the proposal...was..SOOO...solemn.
    I'm overusing that word -_-

    I liked Jack. Yep Jack was a cool guy. Btw the brother was pretty non existent. But when he did appear he suddenly did a 180 turn no hard feelings. Everyone was totes on her side, no questions asked.

    I think there are great aspects to this books, it had potential to be written better.
    Overall didn't leave me satisfied.
    3.5/5 for me.
  • (5/5)
    This is a little different than Robin McKinley's typical fairy tale rewrites, but in my opinion much more captivating and enjoyable. McKinley easily creates a world that you want to join. The first couple of chapters can be a bit slow, but if you hang in there, I promise you won't regret it. There is plenty of action, wonderful characters, and a love story that isn't overdone or cliche.
  • (5/5)
    Listed as YA but not really in my opinion. Well written, with lots of non-stop action and surprises. Character development was nicely done, and the world building and descriptions were gripping.I could barely put the book down, I was so eager to see what was happening next.