Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Blue Sword

Title: The Blue Sword
Author: Robin McKinley
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 1982

Harry’s life changes dramatically when her father dies. Her brother is stationed far from Home, in the Darian border town of Istan. He arranges for Harry to be taken in by the local Ambassador and his wife. There, in a place where her countrymen complain of the heat and are deemed “Outlanders”, Harry feels strangely at home. It’s also where she’s kidnapped. Enter Corlath, King of the Damarian hill-folk and Harry’s kidnapper. His magic told him Harry would be essential to his kingdom’s survival. But Corlath doesn’t know why. They must learn to work together to save the country they love.

Damar is a complex country with its own language. The world building is great, although it’s easy to tell that the Homelanders are based off of the English. This is the first book written about Damar, although Hero and the Crown takes place a few hundred years or so before the Blue Sword. Those familiar with the Hero and the Crown will be pleased to run into a familiar character along the way.

Harry is a very loveable character. She’s modest and quiet, but doesn’t back away from doing what she knows to be right. In fact, she doesn’t really have any faults. From learning a new language in a few days to swinging a sword with accuracy, Harry does it all.

Corlath is dark, mysterious and pensive and gifted with magic. Other than being obstinate, he has no flaws, either. His whole country loves him; people who didn’t answer for the king for centuries flock to his banner.

The only other characters the reader gets to learn about in any depth are Mathis and Jack Dedham, although a case could be made for Senay and Terim.

The Blue Sword is told from a third person limited perspective. The only characters whose thoughts the reader sees with any frequency are Harry and Corlath.

My Thoughts:
Again, this has been one of my favorite books for a long time. My first copy came from a library book sale, and I read it until the binding fell apart. (It’s in about seven pieces on my book shelf right now.) No matter how often I go back through it, I seem to find something that I didn’t catch before. Unfortunately, this book may be too idealistic. The characters can be a bit archetypical. It is still worth every second it takes to read, though.

Favorite Scene:
This is one of the best scenes I’ve ever read, and since I can’t do it justice, here it is: “Harry awoke in the dark…as she lay on her back in the blackness, the tears began to leak out of her eyes and roll down her cheeks and wet her hair, and she was too tired to resist them. They came ever faster, till she turned over and buried her face in the scratchy cushions to hide the sobs she could not stop. Corlath was a light sleeper. On the other side of the tent he opened his eyes and rolled up on one elbow and looked blindly towards the dark corner where his Outlander lay. Long after Harry had cried herself to sleep again, the Hill-king lay awake, facing the grief he had caused and could not comfort.”

Who this book is best for:
Women and other people obsessed with horses. My boyfriend (code name Jefferson) read it and said it was alright. I think it’s really a girl’s adventure.

Other books about Damar: The Hero and the Crown

Violence: 2 of 5 for battle scenes

Stars: 5 out of 5

No comments: