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The Blue Sword (1982)

by Robin McKinley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Damar (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,3981241,413 (4.31)464
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.
  1. 90
    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. 81
    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. 61
    Crown Duel (Crown Duel / Court 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. 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.
  7. 53
    Sunshine by Robin McKinley (lavender81)
    lavender81: A young adult meets a vampire ... a magical tale!
  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. 00
    The Rose Legacy by Jessica Day George (humouress)
    humouress: An orphaned girl is sent to family far away and has fantastic adventures with animals, although 'Rose Legacy' is aimed at a younger audience.
  10. 11
    Jaran by Kate Elliott (PhoenixFalls)
  11. 13
    The Crown of Dalemark by Diana Wynne Jones (LiddyGally)

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» See also 464 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 124 (next | show all)
I read this book before getting to "The Hero and the Crown" and though I liked it very much, it wasn't until reading the later book that I really started to understand what was happening in Damar. I have a love-hate relationship with Robin McKinley's writing -- some of her books I think are very very good, and some of them I feel are jaunts off the path of what she is really really good at. This is not her strongest work, but it was good enough to catch my attention and get me to read her other books. ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
I enjoyed this book. It's a self insert book in which you get to magically be better than everyone around you who's been doing this a lot longer than you have. I think there's a lot of fun in that and as long as you recognize it for it's Batman effect, you're good. It's definitely a fun 80's fantasy, with the fantastical war horse that bonds with you, impressive language skills, rapid onset ability to wield music and fight with a sword, etc. Fun tropes if you're ready to enjoy yourself and not hold this to some high standard. The said, it also exhibits the problematic trope of the colonizer being 1/16th of some magical/spiritual civilization and therefore being the chosen one of the nation they've never had any role in before. There's some deux de machina, and some we-are-opposite-gender-main-characters-and-are-therefore-obvious-love-interests, but that's what makes it a good encapsulation of 80's fantasy books. I've got the second book on my TBR pile and I'll get to it but I don't think this one's a reread. Still glad I finally got around to this classic. ( )
  lclclauren | Sep 12, 2020 |
An absorbing story of a young woman who finds herself in a foreign land and among a dissimilar culture, trying to adapt to her changing circumstances. Thoroughly enjoyable. ( )
  fuzzi | Jul 4, 2020 |
This is on my books to re-read list, and I just re-read it again. I threw out my old yellowed crumbling paperback and bought it again on Kindle. ( )
  dmturner | Jun 29, 2020 |
A classic of the genre, so it is said. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, so it was a slight surprise to have it start as a 19th C. British Boys' adventure novel (although starring a girl). On the whole, good read. ( )
  Jon_Hansen | Jun 16, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 124 (next | show all)

» 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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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.

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