As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

November 9, 2012

THE BLUE SWORD by Robin McKinley, 1982

When Harry Crewe's father dies, she leaves her Homeland to travel east, to Istan, the last outpost of the Homelander empire, where her elder brother is stationed. When the king of the Free Hillfolk comes to Istan to ask that the Homelanders and the Hillfolk set their enmity aside to fight a common foe, the Homelanders are reluctant to trust his word, and even more reluctant to believe his tales of the Northerners: that they are demonkind, not human. Harry's destiny lies in the far mountains that she once wished to climb, and she will ride to the battle with the North in the Hill-king's army, bearing the Blue Sword, Gonturan, the chiefest treasure of the Hill-king's house and the subject of many legends of magic and mystery. (Amazon)

Review by Emily, who is basically a bibliophile

This is one of those books. You know, the ones that you read, get into it, and when it's over, you feel like you've lost something irreplaceable. Except that you haven't, not really, because the story is still with you. And once in a while, you go back and read it again, just to make sure that it's kept its magic.
If it's a book like The Blue Sword, it has probably kept its magic, and maybe had some added over the years.
It begins in the way of all of the best fairy tales - Harry Crewe is an orphan, and she's going to live with her brother who's in the army, in a faraway land called Daria. Instead of hating the sand and the heat and the prickly plants that grow in the desert, Harry finds herself loving it all, even the glare of the hot red sun over the sand dunes. Then she's spirited away by the King of the Hillfolk, Corlath, who is driven by the kelar, a power that even he does not fully understand, but follows nonetheless.
She finds herself surrounded by things that are strangely familiar to her  - the language comes easily, skill with a sword even more so, and Harry finds herself caught up in a destiny that she never wanted, but which rides her much as the kelar rides the King, Corlath.
The Blue Sword is a book that can be read to children, and enjoyed by adults. The language is beautifully crafted, and the images striking and strong. Harry's story will delight anyone wishing for a modern fairy tale with a strong, intelligent heroine and fascinating secondary characters (who are really just as important to the story as Harry herself).

Market: Young Adult
Language: None
Sensuality: Mild
Violence: Moderate
Mature Themes: Destiny, abduction

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