The Blue Sword

Monday, April 8, 2019

The Blue Sword
Robin McKinley, 1982

Premise: Angharad “Harry” Crewe lives with relatives on the edge of the kingdom after her father’s death. She is drawn to the rugged frontier land, but doesn’t think much of the tribes who live outside her civilization until she is chosen by their leader’s second sight.

It’s so funny to read this book for this first time now. I know this (and the prequel, The Hero and the Crown) were seminal fantasy reads for so many people I know. YA before YA was a genre, these books feature brave female protagonists who stand against great evil.

This one also features an abduction that turns into a romance. It’s about as well-handled as the trope can be - the guy is drawn to her because of his innate magic and she is the destined recipient of a magical artifact (the blue sword of the title). Plus they gain each other’s respect as warriors before they admit any romantic attraction. Still, it bugged me a bit.

It skews toward the fairy tale end of the fantasy spectrum with the magic, visions, and unexplained destinies, but there’s a good amount of description of practical weapons training, riding, and camping that I would have loved as a teenager.

I still liked this book, there’s nothing really wrong with it, but the experience of reading it was just good, not great. I think I missed the window.

3 Stars - A Good Book

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