The Blue Sword
by Robin McKinley
Ages: 12 and up
Sequel to the Hero and the Crown
It may seem a litttle odd to be reviewing the sequel before the first book, but I am reading them out of order. There are references to the characters of the Hero and the Crown, but the Blue Sword takes place hundreds of years later. I would not necessarily recommend reading them like I did, but it does not make a great deal of difference.
This is the story of Harry Crewe, a young woman in the middle of a strange country after the death of her father. Damar is a land torn by war, the different races distrusting each other. Harry is an Outlander, a newcomer from the mainland, and yet she finds herself strangely attracted to the desert and the Hills. Her life is quiet and dull until the Hill-King, Corlath, comes to confer with her guardian, Sir Charles. He leaves in anger, but for a moment their eyes meet, and he knows that this Outlander girl is somehow different, important, apart from the others in some indefinable way. He knows that she will play a significant part in what is to come. This is a beautiful story of romance and adventure, set in a rich landscape with a fascinating culture. Robin McKinley is a fantastic author, she always comes up with wondrous new worlds, and I consider Damar to be one of her greatest creations.
There are a handful of swear-words scattered about, but they are not offensively foul, so I will give it a 3.10.
Sexuality is limited to very slight innuendo and some mild references, so I give it a 4.10.
There are a couple of battle scenes, but the aftermaths are bloodier than the actual fighting. However, there is no gratuitous gore, so I will rate it a 5.10.