Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Blue Sword - Robin McKinley

The Blue Sword
Robin McKinley
Ace Fantasy
Copyright: 1982
Ace edition 1987

According to the back of the book:

This is the story of Corlath, golden-eyed king of the Free Hillfolk, son of the sons of the Lady Aerin.

And this is the story of Harry Crewe, the Homelander orphan girl who became Harimad-sol, King's Rider, and heir to the Blue Sword, Gonturan, that no woman had wielded since the Lady Aerin herself bore it into battle.

And this is the song of the kelar of the Hillfolk, the magic of the blood, the weaver of destinies...

The Blue Sword
The one line description of The Blue Sword that I use a lot is "British India, set in the desert." There's a lot more to the story than that, but it describes the set-up pretty well. This is one of my favourite fantasy novels, and for the longest time I thought it was a regular fantasy novel. Now, though I know it's actually a teen novel, and one that was a Newberry Honor book in 1983. Not that that changes my opinion of the story in any way.

I've loved nearly every single one of Robin McKinley's books that I've read - but this one remains my favourite. The Blue Sword is a book which you can read, and then turn around and start to read again, right after finishing the last page of the book. I've done that at least twice now. I've also reviewed The Blue Sword one other time, a couple of years ago. That review is here, and it's still one of my favourites.

A perfect book for anyone who loves both fantasy novels and horse stories. I have to say that I wish I could see some of the Hill horses, though I don't think I'd do very well riding them. I need my stirrups and reins too much. Not only that, but it's been more than ten years since I really did any riding. Still, I love the descriptions so much. Sungold is an incredible horse.

I said it before, and I'll say it again this time: There's so much to the book - it's a bit like Tolkien in the sense that there's a lot of stories left untold and history that's barely referenced at all. And, the main character, Angarahad Crewe, or Harry, as she prefers to be called is very real feeling. I can't help but sympathize with her so much.

A favourite novel that I know I'm going to love over and over again. Perfect for everyone from teens on up into adults of all ages. As always with this book, if I were rating books with stars here, I'd give The Blue Sword a five star rating. Thanks again for a wonderful read, Robin.
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