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The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

The Blue Sword (1982)

by Robin McKinley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Damar (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,5691071,049 (4.34)409
  1. 70
    Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce (lquilter)
    lquilter: Readers of The Blue Sword by McKinley should also enjoy Tamora Pierce's various Tortall adventures, among which, "Alanna: The First Adventure" (the first volume of the "Lioness Quartet"), is the first and best-known, but all of them are worthwhile.
  2. 71
    Graceling by Kristin Cashore (foggidawn, Aerrin99)
    Aerrin99: For stories that feature interesting and strong woman matched with equally interesting and strong men, with a dash of danger, adventure, and magic tossed in, try either of these books!
  3. 51
    Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith (shoujo85)
  4. 51
    The Darkangel by Meredith Ann Pierce (Jenson_AKA_DL)
  5. 40
    Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce (TomWaitsTables)
  6. 52
    Sunshine by Robin McKinley (lavender81)
    lavender81: A young adult meets a vampire ... a magical tale!
  7. 31
    The Books of Great Alta: 'Sister Light, Sister Dark' and 'White Jenna' by Jane Yolen (lquilter)
    lquilter: Both McKinley's "The Blue Sword" and Yolen's "Sister Light, Sister Dark" / "White Jenna" feature young adult women, who have warrior attributes.
  8. 31
    Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan (flemmily)
    flemmily: Warprize is simpler than The Blue Sword, and the world is not quite as interesting as the unique and compelling Damar. But both books tell the story of a girl carried away by a barbarian culture.
  9. 11
    Jaran by Kate Elliott (PhoenixFalls)
  10. 13
    The Crown of Dalemark by Diana Wynne Jones (LiddyGally)

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» See also 409 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
It's funny, this book followed so many classic formulas that I knew what was going to happen long before it did, and yet I enjoyed reading it. The setting is vivid and unexpected and I look forward to reading The Hero and the Crown to find out more about it. The Hill People are not given the usual "noble savage" treatment, thank goodness, and the heroine is neither a damsel in distress or a brash, bold tomboy. The addition of big cats as companions was a big plus for me. A bit more explanation about the enemy, what they are, and how they came to be, would have been nice. Because there was overall so little detail about the Northerners, the epic battle didn't feel very epic to me.
So, while it's not perfect, this is definitely one I'll be getting my daughter to read when she's old enough. ( )
  aurelas | Dec 23, 2016 |
Clunky. Starts out as Kipling-lite, with a young woman travelling to the far flung outpost of a mighty empire, where she ends up dancing with young officers on station. Then she goes native, almost without noticing. Throughout the second half characters speak at great length, and pompously (occasionally jocularly), about nothing. Even in the direst situations, they never seem to have any urge to get down to business.

What this book does offer is lifestyle porn. First, our heroine lives the Kipling life, then she lives a thrilling nomadic existence in tents and the occasional castle, waited on by many servants. She also learns to ride an excellent horse without a bridle and only the most rudimentary saddle and get to take performance-enhancing drugs before an athletic competition. ( )
  themulhern | Sep 23, 2016 |
This is an old friend. I've worn out a couple paperback copies. ( )
  MuranoBlue | Sep 11, 2016 |
Review to come... ( )
  JSilverwood | Aug 27, 2016 |
This was a fun blast from the 1980s fantasy genre: full of long sentences and paragraphs, dense and wordy, with points of view all over the map. Even so, I admired the story and especially the characters, who shine with McKinley’s knack for vivid imagery and wry metaphor. And who doesn’t treasure an author who loves semi-colons as much as I do? Writing styles have changed; I have not read any of McKinley’s current works, but appreciate this flashback to the style that I grew up with. It certainly influenced the writing of many authors (and me, too). It proves the maxim: a good story soars above minor nitpicks. This is a good story, and it soars. ( )
  jennorthcoast | Aug 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
In my reviews of Robin McKinley's other books, I have described her writing as gentle, pleasant, charming, graceful, cozy. In this, her third publication, she abandons the fairytale roots and lush woodland settings of Beauty and The Door in the Hedge for windswept deserts and invading demon armies, yet somehow she manages to retain that sense of coziness and domesticity, so that it is not surprising to hear people refer to The Blue Sword as a comfort read.

Our heroine, Angharad or—as she prefers to be called—Harry Crewe, is an orphan who has left the Homeland to live with Sir Charles and Lady Amelia at an outpost in Daria, a colony of the Homelander empire where her brother Richard is stationed with the army. Unlike most of her countrymen, Harry is drawn to this barren and strange land. But all is not well there. The Hillfolk, last remnants of the ancient kingdom of Damar, come to warn the Homelanders of a great army of Northerners marching on their border. The well-meaning Homelanders cannot help, and most (like Sir Charles) are skeptical of this so-called threat, but the meeting has another fated but unexpected outcome. For when the golden-eyed king of the Hillfolk, Corlath, sees Harry, his kelar—the magic in his Hill blood—directs him to steal her away. So Harry finds herself swept off and burdened with a destiny she never expected.

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robin McKinleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Craig, DanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reinert, KirkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorn, LoriCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warren, DianeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Danny and Peachey, who first lead me to Damar
First words
She scowled at her glass of orange juice.
[Harry] had always suffered from a vague restlessness, a longing for adventure that she told herself severely was the result of reading too many novels when she was a small child.
The man's eyes were yellow as gold, the hot liquid gold in a smelter's furnace. Harry found it suddenly difficult to breathe, and understood the expression on Dedham's face; she almost staggered. Her hand tightened on the bridle, and the pony dropped its head and mouthed the bit uncomfortably. The heat was incredible. It was as though a thousand desert suns beat down on her. Magic? she thought from inside the thunder. Is this what magic is? I come from a cold country, where the witches live in cool green forests. What am I doing here? (p. 32)
"You have already begun to see the hardness of the choices that you will soon be forced to make; and the choosing will not be any easier for your not knowing why you must choose. Take strength from your own purpose, for you will know what you must do, if you let yourself; trust your horse and the cat that follows you, for there are none better than they, and they love you.. And trust the Lady Aerin, who visits you for your reassurance, whether you believe it at present or not; and trust your friendships. Friends you will have need of, for in you two worlds meet. There is no one on both sides with you, so you must learn to take your own counsel; and not to fear what is strange, if you know it also to be true. It is not an enviable position, being a bridge, especially a bridge with visions." [Luthe speaks, p. 164]
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0441068804, Mass Market Paperback)

Harry Crewe is an orphan girl who comes to live in Damar, the desert country shared by the Homelanders and the secretive, magical Hillfolk. Her life is quiet and ordinary-until the night she is kidnapped by Corlath, the Hillfolk King, who takes her deep into the desert. She does not know the Hillfolk language; she does not know why she has been chosen. But Corlath does. Harry is to be trained in the arts of war until she is a match for any of his men. Does she have the courage to accept her true fate?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:13 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Harry, bored with her sheltered life in the remote orange-growing colony of Daria, discovers magic in herself when she is kidnapped by a native king with mysterious powers.

» see all 2 descriptions

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