Friday, July 19, 2013

Flashback Friday: The Blue Sword

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?   Quoted from Goodreads


I have a love/hate relationship with Robin McKinley's writing.  There are books of hers that I absolutely adore.  Her Beauty is absolutely one of my top ten books. Basically, if she wrote it in the '70s or '80s,  I love it.  Her newer stuff? Not so much.  Maybe I should give the few books of hers I haven't read a try because I did love those first books so much, but . . . well . . . we'll see.  I don't know if I can take any more disappointment. Still, The Blue Sword, published first in '87 is one that you absolutely need to check out.

Quick warning, this is Flashback Friday, which means I haven't read this book in years. I'm probably due to read it again soon.  Yes, it's that good.  Still, while I remember the essence of the book, I know there are things I've forgotten.

This book is a classic coming of age/adventure.  It's about Harry finding her place in the world and becoming who she was meant to be.  The poor girl goes through so much: kidnapping, culture shock, becoming a warrior, etc. and in the end, risks so much, you can't help loving her for what she does and who she becomes. She's also the perfect blend of her two worlds, which helps you see the driving conflict better.

Really, this book is a wonderful mix of adventure and beautiful writing.  It has excellent characters and great world building. The magic is practically a character in itself.  Then there's the romance.  It's a lot more subtle than a lot of books out there right now, but Harry and Corlath are perfect for each other and I love their relationship.

Basically, you need to read this book.  It's fabulously done, a fantastic adventure, full of memorable characters and an excellent setting.  I know I've been a bit vague and short on the review, but it's been at least seven years since I last read this (which is a tragedy in itself).  This is the kind of book  that deserves gushing and heaps of praise.  So sorry if the details are a bit fuzzy, but this really is a book everyone should check out and one I need to read again.  It's a solid 4 stars for me, and who knows, maybe it will go up when I read it again. It probably deserves it.

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