The Blue Sword

McKinley, Robin. The Blue Sword (2000 ed.) 272 Pages. Puffin. $5.99

Harry Crewe knew from the beginning that when her parents died, she would be thrust upon the mercy of her brother Richard. (Not an entirely bad fate, as she knew her brother was a good, and dutiful man.) What Harry did not know was that when this fate eventually caught up with her, she would end up in Damar, a Homelander Colony.

When Corlath, king of the Free Hillfolk comes to warn the Homelanders of an impending war, he does not expect Harry. Despite being a girl from across the sea, something about her is unique, and it is clear that her fate lies in the Damarian Hills. Like Aerin before her, Harry has the outsider’s ability to save Damar.

First Lines:

She scowled at her glass of orange juice. To think that she had been delighted when she first arrived here– was it only three months ago?– with the prospect of fresh orange juice every day. But she had been eager to be delighted; this was to be her home, and she wanted badly to like it, to be grateful for it– to behave well, to make her brother proud of her and Sir Charles and Lady Amelia pleased with their generosity.


I think part of why I love Harry so much is because she has always reminded me of my best friend. A tall blonde, determined to be optimistic, and stubborn. As I read Harry’s story, I picture Novia, staring down desert men, wielding a sword, riding beautiful horses.

Harry’s story is an adventure of epic proportions, and she learns to love Damar with the reader. The customs are strange, the world unique, and we get to experience them through the eyes of an outsider, coming to terms with her connection to the country.

As I said when talking about The Hero and the Crown, I will not pretend to be reasonable about this book. It got me through some rough times, and was with me through some good times. It was beautiful and enthralling and no matter what mood I am in when I pick it up, I am transported to Damar, and it feels like everything will be alright.

This book gets a 5/5 and a very strong insistence that you read it.


Filed under Book Review, Fantasy, High Fantasy, Romance

2 responses to “The Blue Sword

  1. ela21

    While this was the first book by McKinley that I read (at school – it was in our library), it’s not one I now re-read often: I prefer Aerin’s story, which has much more conflict in it. Harry is an entertaining and sympathetic character, sure, and stubborn, but I don’t feel for her problems like I do for Aerin’s. The Blue Sword, though much better than a lot of ‘sword and sorcery’ books, for me is a fairly simple story made new by McKinley’s world-building – she makes Damar and the Homelander’s world very distinctive and different – but I feel Harry’s problems aren’t altogether as difficult as she makes them.

    That said, this and The Hero and the Crown were hugely influential on me when I was a teen.


    • I feel like Aerin has concrete problems, Maur and Agsded, the seige, and so on. Harry’s problems are a lot more intangible; she doesn’t know herself, or her family history, she’s conflicted by her love for both Damar and Homelanders, she’s confused, and a little lost, and her role as “bridge” is a difficult one she hasn’t come to terms with. Sure, there’s Thurra and his army, but the book isn’t as much about him as it is about Harry.

      I think that given a choice, Aerin is my favorite, but Harry is a solid character, too.


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