sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Robin McKinley has written two books set in the fantasy land of Damar, and this is one of them. Apparently she always intended to write more, but has never quite gotten around to it.

Of the two extant Damar books, I always liked The Blue Sword better, I think because it feels more grounded in some sort of reality instead of being mythic. (...not that "grounded" is a thing that can really be used to describe the feel of any McKinley books. She's great at including details that seem like they OUGHT to be grounding, and yet her books always feel dreamy and distant. It's weird.)

So I've reread The Blue Sword a lot more often, and tbh I think this may only be the second or third time I've ever read The Hero and the Crown. ("Only", they say. There are some people who never reread books! Apparently. Baffling.)

I felt that this book has a bit of a slow start to it, possibly because it starts with the ridiculous cliche of clumsy outcast king's daughter with red hair who wants to be a warrior. Eventually we get beyond the cliches into actually interesting territory but it takes a bit. (Though - it's possible this was less of a cliche when this book was written? It is more than three decades old at this point!)

Read more... )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley

This book was one of my earliest introductions to Robin McKinley, and my copy is old and yellowing and the pages are falling out, and I love it a lot. I always tried to love its companion (The Hero and the Crown) but never quite could. These books are very dreamy and distant in feel, and The Blue Sword manages to be just real enough for me to be attached to it, but The Hero and the Crown doesn't.

Though I do love it, it's not a perfect book, and there's some things about it that frustrate me.

spoilers follow! )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
This one is a reread and it holds up a little less well than I thought it would. It's still really charming, and there's still a lot about it that I love! But....the ending didn't work for me, which meant that the book as a whole didn't work. Also it's possible I'm way more aware of creepy power dynamics than I used to be.

Spoilers, of course )

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