on October 12, 2005
This is my absoloutly favorite book in the world!! And I have read a lot of books. I read about a book a day and over the summer I usually read around 2 hundred books, I'm not joking. And this is my favorite out of them all. In the story, Harry (who's real name is Angharad) moves out to Istan, the last Homelander settlement on the border of the Homeland and Daria, after the deaths of her parents. Her brother Richard (also called Dickie) is stationed at the military outpost (the General Leonard Ernest Mundy) in Istan. She finds friends in her cheerful hosts Sir Charles and Lady Amelia and the commander of the fort Colonel Jack Dedham. Harry has always had a longing for adventure and action and she soon gets her wish. A diplomatic party from the Damarians (called Hillfolk by Homelanders) arrive in Istan and when they leave they secretly kidnap Harry. All of the sudden Harry is thrust into the adventure she longs for and she discovers some suprising things about her past. Trying to find her way in an a world so very different from her own she finds friends in the Kings Riders, an elite group of warriors serving the Hillking Corlath. Harry soons finds herself the wieldier of the legendary sword Guntarun (once belonging to the Lady Aerin from "The Hero and The Crown") and possesser of the magical gift of Kelar. As the Damarians prepare for the coming war with the Northeners Harry is faced with a difficult descision. Should she ride to war with the People of the Hills, who have accepted her for who she is and made her one of their own? Or should she risk exile from her new home to warn the Homelanders of the coming attack? With the help of the wiseman Luthe, her teacher Mathin, her friends Terim and Senay, the foltsza Narnkon and her faithful Hill-horse Tsornin, Harry fights for her life and the things she believes in. Robin McKinnley is a master storyteller and "The Blue Sword" is an amazing gripping book. You can't put it down.
on March 28, 2004
The Blue Sword brings to life, the sense of wanting and desire. In this great tale of of insightful adventure, nothing is ever what it might seem. Harry Crewe lived a normal life in what could only be paradise. But all that changed when she found herself in the middle of nowhere with her brother Richard. After being abducted in the middle of the night by Corlath the last King of Damar, Harry must find a way to fit in her new suroundings. Harry, while training to be a Damar warrior or King's Rider, learns more about the Hillfolk's culture and discovers startling secrets about her own past. Caught between feuding armies in an age old battle that could determine the fate of whether humans or demons would rule the last habital paradise in Damar, Harry must bring together the Homelanders and the last of the free Hillfolk to stop the monsterous invasion. I felt a sense of yearning to place myself in this epic story. Even though the story started out slow, I was more than glad to finish what I was reading. Robin McKinley is a great author that describes in great detail what is going on so that you feel like a part of story. I recommend if you start to read this book that you continue on through to the end. You will not be disappointed in this book.
on March 5, 2004
Imagine first being a happy young girl, content with your quiet life in her home country along with your family; your mother, father, and your brother Richard. Then imagine reaching a certain age and having your only companion, your brother, abruptly taken away to military school. Following this, you're forced to take on a much more sheltered lifestyle. Before you know it, you become and orphan and are shipped out penniless to the continent of Daria, a mysterious place which your now distant brother is stationed on. With all of this, you could assume this wouldn't be a pleasant experience, but this is the intriguing tale of the young lady Harry in the book The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley, which left me with feelings of triumph and really made me cheer on the characters.
I felt intrigued and had feelings of triumph by the way the true attitude of harry slowly progresses in showing her true strength, but she never loses her original care for others. In the first few chapters, Harry seems timid and seem dependent on others. By the end of the book, Harry is withholding the flank of the King of the Damarians against thousands of Northlander savages. She puts an end to the relentless attack when she unlocks the power of her kelar, or magic power, to cause the surrounding mountains to crumble, crushing the Northlander forces. Despite her growing separation between her original people and country, she maintains her deep connections with her friends and family. This specific developments is shown all throughout the book, but a clear moment of this is between she and her brother, who both had grown apart over the long years. While desperately trying to outlast the invaders, Richard arrives on the field. As the Northeners close in, she and her brother have a moment of redsicovering the once close connection they had as children. With her recent abduction, Richard expresses his feelings, and has the courage to say what he couldn't before, this being that they are both of Damarian descent, when she first arrived in Daria. This shows that despite all that is happening around her at the current time, she never forgets those she loves. This is an example that shows how the author made Harry unique through the development of her character, but made it so that she never lost sight of her origins.
While I did feel triumph for Harry in all her exploist, another event that is a good example is her training to become one of the King's Riders. During this six week long period she starts out as a woman knowing nothing of war, and she goes through a great many hardships to achieve her goal. I felt triumph especially in this chapter when she was sparring with Mathin, her trainer in war. During this she succeeds in knocking Mathin down, a long time experienced warrior. This is a crucial point when she first begins to tap into her kelar powers. I couldn't help but feel great for Harry when she took her first leap at finding her true niche in life.
In conclusion, I would normally declare a book worthwile when I feel emotion from the events of the story, and the achievements of Harry did exactly that by making me feel triumph for them. I also particularly liked this book because of Harry's unique development throughout the story, and never forgot the ones she loved.
on October 8, 2003
The Blue Sword is about this girl named Harry; Harry's dad dies in the war. She moves out east of Darmar. In three months she came back and everything was different; her friends and people she knew looked older. When she got had got there she saw her best friends, Beth and Carrie. She asked them what been going on around Darmar, and they said it had been different. When she left, it was quiet and they didn't know where she was. She said she had to get away when her father had died; it was too painful. She had told them that she had trained for the war, and she trained hard so she would be strong like a man. So they walked around the town; when they were walking around, they heard these rumors that there was a magic sword that contained powers.
Harry had asked where this sword was located, and they said it was supposed to be located in the desert. Harry said how about we go and check it out; the rest of the rest of them said ok. The next day they started their trip. On their journey, they ran into this evil guy that also was looking to find the sword, but he wanted to use the sword for bad things. Harry and her friends tried to stop him, but his army was waiting; Harry had to use all her skills to take this guy's army and to take him out before he reached the magical sword.
on July 17, 2003
Hey, this is a FANSASTIC book, I just need to clear something up before hand. Unlike many people think, The Blue Sword isn't the sequel to the Hero and the Crown, it was actually written before hand and the Hero and the Crown is its prequel.
But I must say, this book is THE book for any fantasy reader of a higher than average intelligence, and who loves horses. Personally, it is my all time favorite! This book first belonged to my mother, who had never read it and was about to give it away. I saw it, read the inside flaps (mine is hardcover) and rescued it in time. But, it sat in my closet for several months. Running across it again, I decided to read. The beginning didn't look promising, talking about orange juice! But as I kept on, after a few pages I couldn't put it down! I regretted leaving it unread for so long! Corlath just seemed sooo interesting and I could really relate to our heroine Harry's awkwardness and her childhood of never quite fitting in. I would get a caged-lion feeling at the General Mundy too. The adventures across the desert and Harry's strange not-quite-her-own visions and talents led me on for more. The hints of a developing romance (there are hints, you just have to look for them) and the agony of unsuredness gave just the right spice to all other events. The ending will NOT let you down!
McKinley has such a vivid imagination and a way with her words. She is always hinting. She takes you almost in to the supernatural and with a twist can bring you back to a wondering reality. Harry and Corlath are human, they struggle, they have their faults and failings too and can feel lost just as easily as anyone. They aren't some far off perfect characters with dazzling powers that make you jealous, they have a real pinch of that certain something that we all know in ourselves.
Again, I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend The Blue Sword! This shouldn't be listed in a kids catagory though, I was in high school when I first read it. I think most kids younger than maybe 13 or 14 won't be able to grasp all the important concepts. But you MUST read this book! You'll enjoy it for a lifetime!
on June 1, 2003
I was searching along, search, search, search, in the library, when I stumbled upon a fantasy book called the Blue Sword. Fantasy happened to be my favorite genre at the time, so I picked it up and checked it out. It was the first book that I read by Robin McKinley, and I found out that I loved it. It was suspenseful, aciton packed, a nice love story, and just a great story line. It is about some girl (I'm so stupid that I've forgotten her name again) who gets caught up with a group of people believed to have magical powers of some sort, and she is found to be a hero, or so they believe. Is she a real hero? Will she return to her homeland after her adventures? Will she fall in love with the leader of the band, a king? This book was great, and if you find out that you love this book as much as I did, read the prequel, or The Hero and the Crown, which is about the hero that bequeathed the actual blue sword (haha, sort of) to Aerin or whatever her name is. I think Aerin is from the Hero and the Crown. Time to read The Blue Sword over again...YAY!!!
on May 11, 2003
The story felt like the following but in a fantasy world:
--A British lady finds herself stationed with her foster parents and brother out in a far off African desert post. The lady finds herself swept away with the desert tribes by a brave, handsome, powerful desert king. She finds that legends and magic of old are calling to her as she rises to more than simply a hostage within the desert king's court. She finds herself a leader in a war against the invading horde of Northern armies that threaten not only the desert people but that of the British as well.--
Kind of a female, fantasy version of Lawrence of Arabia.
The story had a wonderful magical feel to it.
The story progressed very well, leaving no part feeling short-handed nor the writing long-winded.
Enjoyable characters with a sense of honor and loyalty
Wonderful setting with just the right touch of details and description.
My only complaint is similar to Hero & the Crown (story which takes place before this one in the world of Damar) in that the "love" story is forced and not built up throughout the book. Kind of like the author threw it in at the end just so the publisher could market the book as having action, adventure AND romance.
OVERALL: I felt this book flowed better and was better written than the Hero & the Crown. If you can't read both books, it is totally worth reading this as a standalone novel. You won't be disappointed.
on April 4, 2003
A Review by Tara
The book follows the adventures and awakening of Harry Crewe, a girl with past even stranger than her name. Taken from her boring life in a desert manor by the wild Hillfolk, she awakens to her past and a strange ï¿½giftï¿½ only found in native Hillfolk. Upon visions of a great battle, she is taken into the desert for training for an epic battle to comeï¿½
This was an excellent book. Iï¿½ve no complaints, save that it got a bit slow in the middle as the party was journeying towards the battle. The male characters were definitely well developed. For example, the writer delves into a bit of Corlathï¿½s (a supporting character) history and his struggles with his ï¿½giftï¿½. The way that it was written virtually painted a whole new world in front of the readerï¿½s eyes, yet leaving just enough familiarity as to not leave one feeling alienated. For example, they live on a completely different world, but still have trains, radios, and etcetera. The writer did a very good job with this.
I recommend this book to a slightly older audience because of large words and perhaps concepts the younger readers might not understand. I think generally around the high school level would be a age range. People who like epics, such as Lord of the rings or Dune would most likely enjoy this book as well as those simply looking for an involved adventure. Having both male and female main characters makes this book desirable to both genders. Over all a great book. Read it.
on March 11, 2003
An intoxicating world is summoned by Robin McKinley's evocative writing. The Blue Sword concludes the historical fantasy of Damar. This story takes place a few centuries after Aerin and her adventures in The Hero and the Crown, but the same spirit haunts its sequel. Our heroine extraordinaire is Harry, an ordinary, bored orphan living Daria with a military officer and his family. A political meeting with the rogue king of the Hills leads to Harry's reluctant kidnapping.
King Corlath, whose sixth sense, called kelar, tells him his people need Harry. So he trains her as a warrior as the Damarians/Darians prepare for war. Harry's loyalties are tested as she grows and flourishes in her new role as Harimad-sol and find she cannot follow Corlath. Her choice carries massive repercussions for both her people and Corlath's people, who she has come to honor.
This is an amazing story that layers itself into a breath-taking trip of empowerment and adventure. One of my all-time favorite fantasies, I return to this book for it's comforting, entertaining qualities. Its prequel is much more intense and heavy with realism. Critically, The Hero and the Crown is the superior, but the feel-good and fairy tale aura of The Blue Sword is much more accessible than the rich, but mature world of Aerin.
on November 22, 2002
At first Harry Crewe is not so different than a number of heroines you've probably met in your reading adventures. She's an orphan who must make a new life in a new place. This is difficult for a girl who has never really seemed to fit in anywhere. She longs constantly for something she can't quite name. All that sounds typical, right?
Well, it's what happens next that will make this a book you won't soon forget...and it's nothing even close to typical.
Almost by accident, Harry catches the eye of Corlath, King of the Hillfolk, who cannot seem to forget the woman. He returns for her and carries her off across the desert. Harry finds the culture strangely second nature and herself connecting with the King as no one else appears able to. Harry is surprised when the King begins having her trained as a warrior, and downright shocked when she becomes one of the best warriors in her new country's history. As war looms on the horizon and Harry finds herself falling in love with her King, she risks his wrath and her life on a daring mission she was forbidden to undertake. And all that is only a scratch on the surface of a truly engaging fantasy novel that kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.