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The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
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The Blue Sword (1982)

by Robin McKinley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Damar (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,8911141,362 (4.33)429
  1. 80
    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 (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. 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 429 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 114 (next | show all)
Four stars for what it is meant to be, and three stars for my particular situation. For what it is, it is a beautifully written story about fate and friendship. The horses are beautiful, and it has magic, mystery, battles, and splintered societies. For me, I think I am too old for this book. If I had read it when it was gifted to me (15 years ago or more - it's been sitting on my shelf for a while), I would have loved it more. Otherwise, all the focus on horses took me out of the story and reminded me of being a horse-loving tween. Reading this book right after reading Left Hand of Darkness dulled the story's culture clash. I enjoyed the story, and read it quickly, but I am not as sympathetic to the tomboy-ish heroine - even a twist on that motif - as I once was. A saving grace, though, is that she wasn't very tomboyish, just unsettled by something deep inside called fate. ( )
  CassandraT | Sep 23, 2018 |
This is an excellent, short fantasy novel. The world it is set in parallels ours very closely, but it is not quite the same as ours. A young lady from 'Home' (England) ends up on a far away island on the edge of a hilly desert region after her parents pass away. She is fostered by a lord and lady there and reunited with her brother. It isn't long before she meets the native inhabitants that live nearby and the story goes on from there. This book is essentially a young-adult fantasy tale, not an epic and is missing all of the judgments of Colonialism, racism or other -isms, it is just a fantasy story about a young girl that becomes a hero. It is well written and enjoyable, though quite predictable. For its intended audience, which would be younger people not quite so jaded by decades of reading fantasy, this could be a lifetime favorite. ( )
  Karlstar | Jul 10, 2018 |
I know I read this and liked it, and I probably re-read it at least once since Robin McKinley is one of my favorite authors. But that time was in my mid-20's and life has shaped me a bit possibly with this book's help to see myself as different and finding my place. It went out into the wild via Bookcrossing.com and I look forward to others having the chance to read it. ( )
  threadnsong | Jul 8, 2018 |
This is one of those books I wish teenage me would have read as I know I would have absolutely loved it back then. The story features a strong female protagonist who survives a kidnapping and turns her circumstances around when she learns she's the chosen one and proceeds to save the world. She gets a special horse, a magic sword, has a jaguar-type cat as a companion and in general kicks ass. Yeah, teenage me would have been in heaven. 30-something me was charmed and sees the foundation of what will become many modern YA fantasy tropes. 80s fantasy can have that feel sometimes.

This book is beautifully written. You do have to watch out though as the story sometimes switches POV mid-chapter without any warning. I wasn't expecting it the first time and had to reread the section. It is easy to get used to though. I enjoyed the descriptive passages quite a lot and the world building gave just enough detail without being overwhelming. I greatly enjoyed the action scenes, especially Harry's training.

While technically The Blue Sword is the first in the Damar duology it works just fine as a standalone book. The adventure is fully resolved by the end and all loose ends are wrapped up. This was a fun read. ( )
1 vote Narilka | Jun 6, 2018 |
It has been decades since I read this book. I wanted it to be as magical as I remembered it being and it was! Harry is such a strong character and finds she is stronger and more capable than she suspected.

Damar is also a complex and interesting world with a deeper history that is hinted at. I loved exploring that world with Harry. The book kept drawing me in.

Anyone who likes fantasy would most likely enjoy this book. As for me, onward to The Hero and the Crown! ( )
1 vote Jean_Sexton | Nov 9, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 114 (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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Epigraph
Dedication
To Danny and Peachey, who first lead me to Damar
First words
She scowled at her glass of orange juice.
Quotations
[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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