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The Blue Sword (Newbery Honor Roll) by Robin…

The Blue Sword (Newbery Honor Roll) (original 1982; edition 2000)

by Robin McKinley

Series: Damar (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,246951,168 (4.35)390
Title:The Blue Sword (Newbery Honor Roll)
Authors:Robin McKinley
Info:Puffin (2000), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library, 2006 or earlier, 2008, 2011
Tags:genre: speculative fiction, format: y/a fiction (teen), format: y/a fiction (preteen), box: fantasy

Work details

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley (1982)

Recently added byLT_Ammar, milliebeverly, Sarahthe1001, private library, timefort, Almo224, kidsread, glovedhands
  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
    The Darkangel by Meredith Ann Pierce (Jenson_AKA_DL)
  4. 51
    Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith (shoujo85)
  5. 30
    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. 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.
  8. 42
    Sunshine by Robin McKinley (lavender81)
    lavender81: A young adult meets a vampire ... a magical tale!
  9. 11
    Jaran by Kate Elliott (PhoenixFalls)
  10. 13
    The Crown of Dalemark by Diana Wynne Jones (LiddyGally)

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» See also 390 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
"The Blue Sword" is light, fun, and adventuresome escapist young-adult fantasy. It presents a simple coming-of-age story with all the old elements: black and white good and evil, a battle against the odds, destiny, an orphan in an unfamiliar country, a magic sword, a brooding tall dark and handsome male lead, and faceless sub-human monsters.

In this story the good guys are almost unswervingly good, and the villains are unquestionably evil. There are no great surprises or shocking plot twists, but the world of the story is presented quickly and competently. ( )
  wishanem | Jan 27, 2015 |
No huge love plot, no rape, racism, interesting world building.

I love the characters in this book. They have motivations and limitations, they have thoughts and agendas and plots. The one thing that I'd have appreciated is a bit more detail on the fancy swordfighting the main character so effortlessly learns, I didn't quite buy that anyone would get so effortlessly good at something as intricate, but this is only a minor gripe.

What I loved especially is the complete absence of sexual violence and the fact that this fantasy book manages to get by without graphic sexual violence, you so rarely see that, and mostly without a love plot, though the main character is female.

What I'm no a big fan of is the colonialism and racism. I'm not sure why we need a saviour with a white background from the coloniser's country. ( )
  Mothwing | Jan 4, 2015 |
[Re-read 2013]

Things I discovered re-reading this beloved favorite of my childhood:

I really love Harry and she is a much more distinctive and specific character than I remembered (my recollection had been of her being more of a cipher/everywoman but that must have been just part of the way I read this as a kid)

She lives in a world where they celebrate Christmas (there is a reference to Richard's letters sent Home at Christmas). And she compares something to a "mark of Cain" at one point. I had completely missed this, or forgotten it.

There is not a lot that actually *happens* (externally) in this book (compared to The Hero and the Crown, for example) yet I was still absorbed by Harry's internal struggles as she finds her place between two worlds, all the details of Damarian life, and just spending time with the characters. ( )
  devafagan | Jan 2, 2015 |
I wish I loved this, but I don't. I love Robin Mickinley's stuff don't get me wrong, but this was not enough on the right side of good that I could enjoy.

So Harry, who seems cool, interesting spunky character gets kidnapped and thrown in to the world of Hill-folk & its master Corlath. (Corlath seems hunky when he flashes his golden eyes..)
She takes this a bit too easily. No struggles, just 'OK, yeah cool, I've been kidnapped, must stay stoic...oh I love this place...yeah Im great at dealing with this stuff...wow...'yeah..
There is not realistic growth, she just seems to swim perfectly into the mold that is expected of her from a prophecy via kelar and float until suddenly whoom she fells some mountains and beats a giant army easy peasy (after all that bloodshed..) Totally fine with that -_-

The whole story was so solemn, though I loved the descriptions and customs and reading about her experiences in the new world, I couldn't really connect with anything. McKinley seems like she was delving deep into the world of Hill-folk and showing how much Harry absorbed but it felt like we were just skimming the surface.

I enjoyed the characters until she got kidnapped then somehow everyone was behind this glass wall I couldn't touch, acting on their best behaviour, even their outbursts too solemn to be taken seriously.

That romance, where the HECK was that romance? It was like the elephant in the room, no scrap that, the elephant that ran away leaving a hole in the wall T_T
I almost flew through the chapters trying to get a glimpse of more than the overly subtle barely there hints that they MIGHT have feelings for each other. And then wham bam they declare their SOLEMN feelings for each other in front of everybody. Ugh the proposal...was..SOOO...solemn.
I'm overusing that word -_-

I liked Jack. Yep Jack was a cool guy. Btw the brother was pretty non existent. But when he did appear he suddenly did a 180 turn no hard feelings. Everyone was totes on her side, no questions asked.

I think there are great aspects to this books, it had potential to be written better.
Overall didn't leave me satisfied.
3.5/5 for me.
( )
  JazMinderr | Jul 31, 2014 |
This is a little different than Robin McKinley's typical fairy tale rewrites, but in my opinion much more captivating and enjoyable. McKinley easily creates a world that you want to join. The first couple of chapters can be a bit slow, but if you hang in there, I promise you won't regret it. There is plenty of action, wonderful characters, and a love story that isn't overdone or cliche. ( )
  Tigerlily12 | Jul 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robin McKinleyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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)

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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.

(summary from another edition)

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