Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Retro read: 'The blue sword' by Robin McKinley.

The blue sword by Robin McKinley
I’ll be honest with you – I adore this book (and pretty much anything written by Robin McKinley - that includes her blog, and following her on facebook!). This is one of the first sword-and-sorcery books to feature a sword-wielding heroine in centre-stage. None of that wilting damsel-in-distress stuff. Yes, this book was trail-blazing, and it stands the test of time. Harry (full name Angharad) Crewe comes to Istan, the only real town of note in the Homelander possessions in Daria. As Harry comes to learn, it is an uncomfortable position – with the locals accepting their new rulers, but the occupied land and governance only goes so far. In the hills there are the Free Folk, whose allegiance is to Corlath, king of Damar (the real name of the land). There are rumours of magic, and coming war with the North. Harry’s life changes when she is abducted by Corlath. But not for any obvious reason. Corlath is strong in kelar – the gift, or magic – and he is driven by it to take this Outlander. Harry is bewildered by this, and why she seems to also have strong kelar. So strong that Corlath has her trained for war. Harry is one of my favourite heroines ever, and Corlath isn’t half-bad as a leading man, either. There’s also a good supporting cast, who have distinct personalities. I will always have a soft spot for Jack. Oh, and if the meetings with Aerin intrigue you, check out her story in The hero and the crown. If you’re a fan of Tamora Pierce, The Hunger Games, and other fantasy titles with strong female leads – then take a chance to try out one of the originals.
- Annie, library staff


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