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The Blue Sword (1982)

by Robin McKinley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Damar (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,7171291,471 (4.3)471
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. 100
    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. 41
    The Books of Great Alta (Sister Light, Sister Dark / 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. 63
    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. 11
    Jaran by Kate Elliott (PhoenixFalls)
  10. 01
    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.
  11. 13
    The Crown of Dalemark by Diana Wynne Jones (LiddyGally)

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» See also 471 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
Slow and boring at start, but rest of book very interesting and well-written. ( )
  MarkLacy | May 29, 2022 |
The only thing that would improve this book is the loss of the constant use of the word "and". Otherwise, still as good as I remember. ( )
  fuzzipueo | Apr 24, 2022 |
Kinda fizzled at the end, but a pretty decent read. ( )
  heytoomey | Jan 20, 2022 |
This is really well done, and I think I would've loved it wholeheartedly if I'd read it as a kid (a.k.a. a young adult). What bothers me a little about it now isn't that it borrows so heavily from so many familiar stories (a bit of Tolkien, a bit of Le Guin, even a bit of Dune)-- very little in fantasy is original, and as my friend who gave me this pointed out, George R.R. Martin's great books contain more than a few echoes of this one-- but just that the story unfolds in an awfully straight-ahead way. The hero goes to a strange place, falls in with new people, discovers her magic heritage and her destiny, gets good at things pretty easily, prepares for the big battle-- there's a moment of doubt and conflict right near the end, otherwise it's all kind of clockwork. But it's still vivid and involving; I was never in any doubt about where Harry was going but I was glad to go along with her. ( )
  elibishop173 | Oct 11, 2021 |
McKinley writes well, but I found the book quite slow at times, especially the beginning where she is setting the stage for Harry's kidnapping by Colrath, the king of the Hillpeople. Strangely, Colrath cannot figure out what has compelled him to perpetrate this heinous act. However, Harry seems to adapt well to her changed circumstances and eventually thrives following adoption by her new comrades. Not only does she join the battle against the non-human Northerners, but gathers a loyal group of allies from many different backgrounds to help create a second, pivotal battleground in the gruesome war. Happily, the book's pace does accelerate along with Harry's emergence as a gifted leader.

P.S. I was disappointed to learn that the Newberry Award winning second book is actually a prequel. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 129 (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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Average: (4.3)
1 15
1.5 2
2 32
2.5 13
3 165
3.5 51
4 446
4.5 65
5 744

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