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The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

The Hero and the Crown (1984)

by Robin McKinley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Damar (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,1801061,284 (4.24)345
  1. 131
    Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Aerrin99)
    Aerrin99: Aerin and Katsa are both gifted women who struggle to find the line between respect and fear. Also, they kick butt.
  2. 40
    Chalice by Robin McKinley (Aerrin99)
    Aerrin99: Outside of the author, both books also share a similar feel and feature an interesting and strongly-written female character struggling to deal with her given role.
  3. 41
    The Oathbound by Mercedes Lackey (Nikkles)
  4. 20
    When the King Comes Home by Caroline Stevermer (atimco)
    atimco: Both stories are well written and feature an unconventional heroine who works hard in her chosen field of study and is instrumental in saving a kingdom.
  5. 01
    Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey (SunnySD)

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» See also 345 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 105 (next | show all)
(see copy 1) ( )
  librisissimo | Mar 18, 2019 |
This is one of my childhood AND grown-up favorites. Rereading it, a lot of the subtleties become a lot more evident and it grows on you. (And I liked it to start with, but when you read it with the other Damar book, it really gains resonance). ( )
  jeninmotion | Sep 24, 2018 |
Technically speaking, The Hero and the Crown is the second book published in the Damar series though events are sent many years prior to The Blue Sword. The hero of legend, Aerin Firehair, wasn't always a hero. Once she was the shy, awkward only child of the King of Damar. This is her story about her coming of age and how her legend was made.

The story is a classic hero's quest though it has some unusual elements in the second half. I absolutely loved Aerin's character, how real she feels and how hard she works to earn her place. Arein is an unsatisfactory princess - she isn't beautiful, her mother was a "witch" and she yearns to become a dragon slayer, which in this world an unglamorous job since dragons are seen as vermin and their slaying as no more than a chore. The more effort she goes to in order to prove herself to her father's court, the more she's underappreciated, never mind that all her accomplishments are quite valued by the common people she helps. She even uses methodical persistence to work out a scientific problem, with much success and was pretty cool because it's not something you see often in this kind of story. Seeing as this is a hero journey, Aerin continues her struggles until she's ultimately successful, proving herself beyond all doubt by saving the day in the end.

And now for the unusual stuff. Spoilers ahead. There is a fight that requires Aerin to travel back and forth in time. It was very confusing to read. I'm really glad one of the other characters explains it afterwards because it felt more like a dream sequence than an actual battle. Also interesting is how the author made depression a plot point. Discussing mental illness was virtually unheard of in any of the 80's fiction I read, especially not in a YA adventure story. It's handled quite well, both caused and cured by magic, yet shows the hero's resilience as she doggedly continues on her quest regardless. Highly unusual is that our hero ends up with two love interests, has relationships with both and yet this isn't a love triangle. Aerin understands that after she's become immortal, she can marry and live with her mortal lover and then join her immortal one later. Yet there is never any romantic angst. She makes her decisions level headed and when she feels like she's ready.

This story resonated with me due to all the hardships Aerin endures and over comes. I can see myself rereading this one in the future. I also greatly enjoy McKinley's prose. I need to check out some of her adult books in the future. ( )
  Narilka | Aug 23, 2018 |
A second book in this world McKinley created that I liked and re-read, but released it into the wild via bookcrossing.com ( )
  threadnsong | Jul 8, 2018 |
Truly a YA tale. I read it too old as I find it a nit too childish for my taste. Still OK though. The way it's written is weird though. ( )
  kinwolf | Jun 30, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 105 (next | show all)
Miss McKinley, the author of ''The Blue Sword,'' a 1983 Newbery honor selection, has in this suspenseful prequel, which is the 1985 Newbery Award winner, created an utterly engrossing fantasy, replete with a fairly mature romantic subplot as well as adventure. She transports the reader into a beguiling realm of pseudomedieval pageantry and ritual where the supernatural is never far below the surface of the ordinary. For those who like fantasy fiction, as I do, ''The Hero and the Crown'' succeeds.

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robin McKinleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Craft, KinukoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Craig, DanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnston, David McCallCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorn, LoriCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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She could not remember a time when she had not known the story; she had grown up knowing it.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Robin McKinley's mesmerizing history of Damar is the stuff that legends are made of. The Hero and the Crown is a dazzling "prequel" to The Blue Sword.

Aerin is the only child of the king of Damar, and should be his rightful heir. But she is also the daughter of a witchwoman of the North, who died when she was born, and the Damarians cannot trust her.

But Aerin's destiny is greater than her father's people know, for it leads her to battle with Maur, the Black Dragon, and into the wilder Damarian Hills, where she meets the wizard Luthe. It is he who at last tells her the truth about her mother, and he also gives over to her hand the Blue Sword, Gonturan. But such gifts as these bear a great price, a price Aerin only begins to realize when she faces the evil mage, Agsded, who has seized the Hero's Crown, greatest treasure and secret strength of Damar
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0441328091, Mass Market Paperback)

For over a decade, Robin McKinley's richly woven saga has gripped the imagination of readers and caused critics to hail her as a master of fantasy. It is the story of Aerin, haunted since childhood by the legend of her mother-a "witchwoman" who enspelled the king and then died of disappointment after giving birth to a daughter, rather than the heroic son the kingdom needed. But little did the young princess know the long-dormant powers of her mother would wield their own destiny. For though she was a woman, Aerin was destined to be the true hero who would one day wield the power of the Blue Sword....

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:23 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Aerin, with the guidance of the wizard Luthe and the help of the blue sword, wins the birthright due her as the daughter of the Damarian king and a witchwoman of the mysterious, demon-haunted North.

» see all 3 descriptions

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