The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
Sorry for the long absence, it took me quite a bit longer to finish this book than it normally does.
SO. This is a YA classic, and Robin McKinley even won a Newberry Award for the tale of Harry Crewe and the nomadic desert people of Damar. It’s pretty universally beloved, and I thought it was pretty dope, although I did have a few complaints.
Long story short, Harry is stolen away by the king of the Hill People, Corlath, because he can ~*~sense~*~ a mysterious ~*~power~*~ in her. She lives with them in their tents, she trains to be a bad-ass warrior, learns to ride a horse and speak the language, and basically she comes of age.
Of course, there is a Great Evil force on the way, and Harry learns to wield the eponymous Blue Sword. Guess what? She saves the day.
That’s all pretty cool. Robin McKinley does an amazing job creating the world of Damar and the society of the Damarian people, and there are tons of beautiful desertscapes, a cool Hill City, and by the end I felt like I had a pretty good handle on their culture.
Now, here’s my complaint. I get that Harry ~*~belongs~*~ to the Hills for some mysterious reason, and she is ~*~gifted~*~ with special Hill powers. The thing is, I am not super fond of the convention in YA that because a young person is ~*~destined~*~ to be a hero, everything comes easily to him or her. Don’t get me wrong, Harry has to work to be a hero. But when after two months of training, she’s knocking down people who have spent their entire lives training to be warriors? I am nonplussed. Y’all remember Sabriel? She studied her necromancy for years, and she STILL got the shit knocked out of her a few times before saving the day. I think it’s awesome that Harry is a strong warrior and capable of so much, but, like, where’s the struggle?
That said, this is a wonderful YA novel and I would recommend it to everyone. Robin McKinley isn’t really known for her novels about grueling strife and hardship. She’s great at strong female characters and wonderful imagined worlds, and that’s what you get.
NEXT UP! Sorry, I didn’t mean to do two McKinleys in a week, but that’s just how it ended up. I know this is ROMANCE Club, not YA Club, and so I promise that the next review will be for a book that involves no-holds-barred P-in-V serious action. In fact, since it’s Jeaniene Frost, there might be P in other places as well. Stay tuned!