The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
Some SPOILERS FOR DAYSZ
“Harry Crewe is an orphan girl who comes to live in Damar, the desert country shared by the Homelanders and the secretive, magical Hillfolk. Her life is quiet and ordinary-until the night she is kidnapped by Corlath, the Hillfolk King, who takes her deep into the desert. She does not know the Hillfolk language; she does not know why she has been chosen. But Corlath does. Harry is to be trained in the arts of war until she is a match for any of his men. Does she have the courage to accept her true fate?”
The Writing! MY GAWD
Whether or not you like the book, one thing that cannot be overlooked is the lush writing. I am a reader (obviously) so I do not mind when authors go in-depth and linger on the setting, so I absolutely loved The Blue Sword because the writing is so dense with imagery.
Damar, the country the novel is set in, is described so beautifully because there is not one thing that is overlooked. The desert, the people, the horses–Jesus Christ–I never knew you could describe horses and their movements so vividly.
In some regard, the plot is slower because the writing is so patient and so loving of the scenery, so this is not the type of book where you can quickly read. In my opinion, The Blue Sword is to admire the aesthetics of writing.
Honestly, after reading snippets of the YA novels coming out recently, it was a good break from the rushed and forced writing and to appreciate an author who takes time to care about her writing.
The plot was pretty interesting. Harry, who is the main protagonist, feels lost, bored, and restless after her parents die and her brother drops her off to another family to raise her.
Surprised that she likes the desert, Harry begins to adjust to the new location until she runs into Corlath, the Hillfolk King. The Hillfolk were originally in control of all Damar but lost most of its land due to war.
Corlath has magic (kelar) and we later find out that so does Harry. Drawn to her, Corlath kidnaps Harry and helps her realize she is powerful and trains her. I thought this interaction was a little unbelievable. I do not care how good-looking or cool you are, if I get kidnapped and drugged by you, I am going to freak out and freak out for a LONG TIME. Harry was pretty clam most of the time when she was kidnapped and only freaked out once. Despite this, Harry gets a long with Corlath and his crew and I enjoyed their interactions.
Throughout the text, Harry trains and becomes stronger. We get to know more about the Hillfolk, which was fascinating because of MckInley’s amazing descriptive skills.
I wish there was more romance but I will take what I can.
Overall, I liked the novel and I recommend it to anyone who wants a book to bewitch you with imagery.