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The Hero and the Crown (1984)

by Robin McKinley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Damar (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,7281141,362 (4.24)371
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.
  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. 00
    Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana (bibliovermis)
    bibliovermis: Very similar themes unite the stories and the romances in these books. Also read The Blue Sword.
  6. 00
    Uprooted by Naomi Novik (beyondthefourthwall)
  7. 01
    Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey (SunnySD)
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» See also 371 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 113 (next | show all)
I had read this book years ago but decided to re-read it to see if it stood the test of time. It absolutely does, the story is fast paced and intriguing and the characters are well rounded and engaging. An absolute must read. ( )
  KateKat11 | Sep 24, 2021 |
Winner of a Newbury medal, this is the prequel to McKinley's Blue Sword, telling the story of princess, Aerin. The only child of the King, from a second marriage to a Northern commoner, Aerin is not popular. Her only companions are the lamed horse of the King, a servant, and the heir apparent, who teaches her sword play. She becomes obsessed with ridding the kingdom of dragons, developing a fireproof salve, only to discover she has taken on a greater challenge than anticipated. Badly injured, she heads off to find a mysterious savior, who helps her regain her physical and mental health, by answering questions about her mother, who died in childbirth, and sends her off to determine her (and her kingdom's) destiny. The warhorse, Talat, stole the lead role. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
Beautifully written, The Hero and The Crown paints a vivid and emotional story about a woman who's bloodline allows her to have the life of a princess yet the scorn of a witch. Aerin is fire, both in her stubbornness and in the color of her hair, and she brings to readers a heroine that defies the constraints of men and seeks to find her own place in the world.

Things I Loved About This Book:
- McKinley's beautiful writing and ability to capture my attention
- Aerin's character development (as well as the trials she must face both internally and externally)
- how smoothly the plot was woven throughout the story to connect different pieces and answer questions ( )
  sraazad | Jul 1, 2021 |
first class fantasy.
dragons, magic swords, immortals, and petty royalty.
also an excellent female lead which is rare in a book as old as I am. ( )
  mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
Robin McKinley is one of those Fantasy authors who I've never heard anything negative about her writing. When I found out that she wrote several fairy tale retellings, I began trying to find all of them. While this isn't a retelling, it's still Fantasy, so I bought it along with the second book, The Blue Sword.

I would have finished The Hero and the Crown in a single day if I had started it earlier. I tried to finish it before I went to bed, but by 4 am, I couldn't keep my eyes focused on the page anymore. So, I finished it the next day. The only part of the story I didn't care for was the romance. I know the two characters involved had spent a lot of time together by the time they fell in love, but it didn't feel that way. Perhaps that's because I read the book so quickly, or maybe it's because that part of the story didn't take up a lot of pages. Regardless, I would have preferred them to just be close friends. That's how I feel about a lot of fictional relationships, though, especially if the romance isn't necessary to the plot. Why is it that every time there happens to be both a male and female character in a book they have to fall in love with each other?

Putting the romance issue aside, I absolutely loved this book. There is a significant part involving the main character, Aerin, and her relationship with her horse that I thought would bore me because I've never had any real interest in horse stories. Surprisingly, that was one of the most engrossing parts of the story. In other words, Robin McKinley succeeded in making me care about a horse, when up to this point in my life, the only horses I've liked are My Little Ponies. So, if you happen to love horses, Robin McKinley, quest narratives, or High Fantasy, take a lazy day during the weekend (but start earlyish) to read The Hero and the Crown. ( )
  FortifiedByBooks | Jan 5, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 113 (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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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.

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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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