Robin McKinley's mesmerizing history of Damar is the stuff that legends are made of. The Hero and the Crown is a dazzling "prequel" to The Blue Sword.
Aerin is the only child of the king of Damar, and should be his rightful heir. But she is also the daughter of a witchwoman of the North, who died when she was born, and the Damarians cannot trust her.
But Aerin's destiny is greater than her father's people know, for it leads her to battle with Maur, the Black Dragon, and into the wilder Damarian Hills, where she meets the wizard Luthe. It is he who at last tells her the truth about her mother, and he also gives over to her hand the Blue Sword, Gonturan. But such gifts as these bear a great price, a price Aerin only begins to realize when she faces the evil mage, Agsded, who has seized the Hero's Crown, greatest treasure and secret strength of Damar....Continua
I bought this a good while ago because I’ve read a few of McKinley’s other books and enjoyed them. But the cover put me off it. My version isn’t the same as you see on this blog. Mine has a fairly generic “fantasy” feel to it. So of course the version of Aerin is dressed in a short skirt, showing off her long legs. Whatever!
But once I started to read it I soon realised that this was in fact a reread. I’d read it ages and ages ago. Back when I was a childer I borrowed it from the library. And loved it. Not too surprising really. It has a girl hero. And a cool horse. That was pretty much all I needed back then ;)
And upon reread, more than 10 if not 15 years later, its held up really really well. Sure there are one or two plot jumps that made me go, errrm okay but overall I loved it. Aerin lets a lot of things happen to her, rather than being the active hero, but she still manages to show a lot of character and her passiveness is more her way of dealing with the situation she grew up in, rather than a character flaw. And once she begins to see that there is another option she gives up her passivity and takes on that role.
A lot of the book is told in flashbacks. Memories that show how Aerin got to where she was in the opening chapter; being refused permission to accompany her father and his army to the North, being called Dragon-Killer as though it were an insult. A good beginning. And a good book.
1 # this is not really a spoiler. Cause it is a YA fantasy novel. How do you really expect it to end?
2 # yes, I am aware that I should not judge a book by its cover...Continua