Friday, April 11, 2008

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

The Blue Sword

The Blue Sword
by Robin McKinley

Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Ace Fantasy
First Released: 1982

Source: Bought from Walden Books

Back Cover Blurb:
This is the story of Corlath, golden-eyed king of the Free Hillfolk, son of the sons of the Lady Aerin.

And this is the story of Harry Crewe, the Homelander orphan girl who became Harimad-sol, King's Rider, and heir to the Blue Sword, Gonturan, that no woman had wielded since the Lady Aerin herself bore it into battle.

And this is the song of the kelar of the Hillfolk, the magic of the blood, the weaver of destinies.

Book Description:
Since the blurb is a bit cryptic, here's a quick description:
Harry Crewe is brought to live in a desert country named Damar. Her life is quiet until the night she's kidnapped by Corlath and taken deep into the desert. She doesn't understand why she's been kidnapped, but she's treated kindly. She discovers that she's learning the new language, culture, horseback riding, and even swordplay exceptionally quickly. She's shocked when discovers why, and why the kelar in Corlath's blood demanded she be brought back with him. For war is coming...

The book is a "worldbuilding fantasy." The world-building in this book is excellent and a lot of time is spent on it. The pacing is a bit slower, but every scene serves a purpose. The characters are engaging. There are no sex scenes, but there is some kissing. There is hereditary magic ("kelar") in this book which only the two main characters have, and it comes with a price. I'd rate this book as "good, clean fun."

Excerpt: Chapter One
She scowled at her glass of orange juice. To think that she had been delighted when she first arrived here--was it only three months ago?--with the prospect of fresh orange juice every day. But she had been eager to be delighted; this was to be her home, and she wanted badly to like it, to be grateful for it--to behave well, to make her brother proud of her and Sir Charles and Lady Amelia pleased with their generosity.

Lady Amelia had explained that the orchards only a few days south and west of here were the finest in the country, and many of the oranges she had seen at Home, before she came out here, had probably come from those same orchards. It was hard to believe in orange groves as she looked out the window, across the flat deserty plain beyond the Residency, unbroken by anything more vigorous than a few patches of harsh grass and stunted sand-colored bushes until it disappeared at the feet of the black and copper-brown mountains.

But there was fresh orange juice every day.

She was the first down to the table every morning, and was gently teased by Lady Amelia and Sir Charles about her healthy young appetite; but it wasn't hunger that drove her out of her bed so early. Since her days were empty of purpose, she could not sleep when night came, and by dawn each morning she was more than ready for the maid to enter her room, push back the curtains from the tall windows, and hand her a cup of tea.

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