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The Blue Sword (Damar #2)

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  39,336 ratings  ·  1,913 reviews
Harry Crewe grew up a tomboy in forests, until her brother joined the Homelanders guarding the far desert reaches. Now an orphan, she joins him. Only a few months later, asking for military aid against advancing Northeners, comes Corlath, the Hillfolk King. After exchanging a single glance, his inner magic compels him to kidnap her, without knowing why. She does not know t ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published by Orbit Books (first published 1982)
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Jason Holt My wife and I read The Blue Sword first. The two books set up an inside joke. If you've read The Hero and the Crown, then you can laugh at the people…moreMy wife and I read The Blue Sword first. The two books set up an inside joke. If you've read The Hero and the Crown, then you can laugh at the people making a legend out of this ordinary person who was just fumbling around trying to do her best. And if you've read The Blue Sword, then you can laugh at this person fumbling around, not realizing that everything she does will become part of a heroic legend.

So, yeah. It works either way.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Mar 23, 2010 Tatiana rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Kristin Cashore, Megan Whalen Turner
Recommended to Tatiana by: Heather
This book proves once more that standards for YA fiction have gone significantly down over the last 10 years. You just rarely come by this kind of writing any more.

"The Blue Sword" is an age old story of a young woman who after years feeling not belonging, invisible, and insignificant, finds her strength after being kidnapped by a mysterious Hill-king who possesses magic powers. Gradually she discovers an ancient magic inside herself, comes to terms with her abilities, acquires friends and love
Added at the bottom: the perfect song for this book. Seriously, if it's ever made into a movie, this song should be in the trailer.

The description on this book's GR page is not my favorite synopsis. I think my little well-loved paperback says it better:

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, tha
mark monday
a pleasure to read.

wonderful heroine. reminded me a bit of Brienne from ASOIF although quite a different character overall. I loved her nonchalant displays of bravery and independence, her easy acceptance of her own difference from others, her drama-free perspective on the world(s) around her, her quiet and her calm.

opening chapters felt distinctly like an alternate version of colonial era Britain. interesting path into a high fantasy novel.

best kidnapping ever! I never feared for her safety and
Aug 09, 2007 Eliza rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE EVER.
Shelves: romance
I've read this book so many times over the year that this time I went out and bought a new copy because my cover is in tatters. But I reread it again and loved it again, unsurprisingly. McKinley still amazes me with how fully realized Damar is as a place, how familiar the Homeland and its desire to civilise feels, and how freaking scary the Northerners are. (Seriously, y'all. Motherfuckers are SCARY.)

This is the perfect escapism book, partially because that's what Harry, our delightful heroine,
Tadiana ✩ Night Owl☽
The Blue Sword is one of those magical fantasies that I've read more times than I can count, and love beyond reason. I also think this 1982 book has been a little bit forgotten over the years, and that it beats most of what passes for YA fantasy nowadays. It's certainly (IMO) much better than most of Robin McKinley's more recent works, so if you've tried one of her later books and think she's not for you, you need to give this one a try. (Or The Hero and the Crown. I'm not too picky here.)

This s
Gail Carriger
There are many out there who think The Hero and the Crown the better book, but I read The Blue Sword first and Harry is my one true love. That's part of it. I always liked the romance line better in The Blue Sword. And there's something remarkable in that, because for most of this book the two are separated. Yet I believe in their match unquestionably. Alanna was my first girl with a sword and magic, Harry was the first one I felt was like me.
Jan 23, 2011 Mariel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: blue
Recommended to Mariel by: black
Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword blue me away. (What can I do for swords?) I don't know how to handle the feeling in a review. I'm in it to the hilt. It's sheathed in my memory.... No, I got nothing! (Blue words!) (Stop it, Mar!)

Reading that someone likes world-building and atmospherics doesn't really convey why I thought this was awesome so I won't try and be a normal reviewer for once. McKinley knows what she's doing. She's a master(sword bater!). This is not a glorified fanfic. All of those th
This is my first Robin McKinley book, though I do have a couple others in my possession that need to be read.

I wasn't really thrilled with this one though. Up until about 50% I was liking it quite a bit, though I couldn't tell you why, because nothing at all had happened. But it didn't take long (or, rather, it took too long) and I started to feel like the story would never actually start, and now that I've finished, all I can say is that it didn't really do anything for me.

It seemed that ever
I don’t get it. I just don’t. Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword has been acclaimed as one of the most remarkable fantasy novels of our age, but I am unable to see why. I suppose the best way I can describe The Blue Sword is to tell you that it is similar to a camp-fire story – entertaining, filled with action and heroes, a rather under-developed romance, and ultimately, a story that needs to be told again and again with more and more details filled in every time. In fact, I would go so far as ...more
Partly through reading this book I began a list of "Things you must have in your typical girly-adventure novel."

1. Main character must acquire godlike combat skills in a matter of weeks even if she has never demonstrated any previous ability. Check.

2. Main character must have cool sword with cool name. Check.

3. Main character must have animal companions. (In this case, stallion and giant cat.) Animals must be prettier, smarter, and more useful than anyone else's. Check.

4. Strange and interesting
Oct 31, 2011 Terence rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Terence by: GR Friends' reviews
I missed my “Robin McKinley window” by about thirty years. If I had had the good fortune to come across this novel when I was fourteen, I’m sure I would have sought out more of her work and enjoyed them to the same extent as I enjoyed authors such as Andre Norton or Lloyd Alexander (whom I did have the luck to meet around this time in my life). As it happens, I’m too experienced a reader (and, mayhap, too cynical?) to fully appreciate the spirit in which the book is written. There were too many ...more
Effusion warning: the following is not a review - it's more like a wordy shrine to Robin McKinley.

This is one of my favorite books of all time. One of the many reasons is that I discovered it all by myself (well, not quite by myself; a librarian put it on the shelf where I could find it - thank you, librarian!).

I was browsing the shelves at the Lee Library, and I think it was the title that first caught my attention. If I remember correctly, I took it down and flipped through it. I wasn't comple
I loved this book. With all my heart. It starts with a girl who doesn't quite fit, then builds from there. There are demons and heroes and enchanted swords and true love. Also legends and big loving cats and semi-supernatural archers. Did I mention evil? Oh, and kings and proto-British cavalry? And horses from the fever-dreams of Alec Ramsey! Palatial tents. The best kinds of friendship, the kinds which transcend rank and sex and age.

The plot is classic, the story arc undeniably satisfying, and
This book is better than it ought to be, and I'm honestly a bit bamboozled why I received it as well as I did (or why it has such a good rating here on Goodreads). Let me break it down, then, into the Good, the Bad, and the My-Theory-On-Its-High-Rating, starting with...

The Bad

1. Many technical aspects of this book are just bizarre. There are point of view switches MID PARAGRAPH. Much of the story is told in a third-person-limited focusing on Harry Crewe, a girl sent to the wild and uncivilized D
Melissa McShane
Back when I was twelve or thirteen and tearing through the YA shelves at the library, I picked this book up and immediately set it aside because the first paragraph seemed boring. I did that at least six times before, something having changed inside my head, I finally decided to read it. It is still my favorite book by Robin McKinley and a wonderful adventure story, initial maunderings about orange juice aside. (I am now old enough to appreciate McKinley's writing, but between this and Patricia ...more
I think I liked this book better when I was a young adult. I enjoyed the story: a girl, going by the unusual nickname of Harry, gets kidnapped by natives (called Hillmen), learns their ways and effectively becomes a native, discovers she has magic, and becomes the key to saving her new people from the big, bad, nonhuman Northerners. It's a fun, if not totally original, adventure. And the writing is overall pretty good.

My biggest complaint was that there hardly seemed to be any conflict in the st
C.E. Murphy
I had a hard time reading this for purely physical reason: my copy of THE BLUE SWORD is very probably 30 years old, and the fragile yellowed pages are losing their tenuous grip on the broken spine. I was afraid it would fall apart in my hands, and thus was weirdly careful with not only the book but the reading of it. I believe I'll seek out Robin McKinley at the nearest possible opportunity, ask her to sign my beloved and battered book, and retire it with honors alongside my equally ancient and ...more
Carrie Vaughn
Probably my favorite book. This is coming with me to my desert island.
Erica (daydreamer)
Robin Mckinley’s books, simply put, are scrumptious. There is something so compelling about her writing, the flow of it, words carefully chosen, written so as to lull you quietly into the magical world she created. You become slowly embedded deep within the characters minds until their thoughts resonate inside you, and you just curl into the lyrical prose, and you become part of the story, and the land rises vividly in your mind, and you feel the kelar just as surely as Harry does.

To me, The Blu
2.5 Stars, but I rounded up because of the world building.

This is a story about a girl named Harry who goes to stay with a nice childless couple in a desert after the death of her father. Her brother is stationed at the little outpost there, and unlike most of the people, Harry finds that she really loves the desert. After hearing some rumors about the people who live in the Hills being magical, Harry chances across their king one day and everything changes. She is taken by the king and becomes
colleen the fabulous fabulaphile

First let me say that I did enjoy the story. There were some parts I really liked and was really into, but others that I had some issues with.

Harry Crewe is the kind of protagonist I tend to instantly relate to - a girl a bit too wild to be "proper", looking for her place in the world. And I did relate to her, for the most part, except for the way that she sort of went with everything. The book called it pride and stubbornness, to not challenge your kidnappers, I've seen some reviews call it
Steph Su
Well, they don’t really write high fantasy as they used to, now do they? There has to be a reason that Robin McKinley’s THE BLUE SWORD, first published in the 1980s, is still being widely read and adored, and that is because it is arguably the absolute best in its genre, an unmatched blend of strong characters, political intrigue, and quite simply the best damn fantasy world ever imagined and written.

It’s a little strange for me to read THE BLUE SWORD for the first time, nearly ten years after I
Jun 23, 2008 Cassie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone.
Recommended to Cassie by: John Wiswell
An amazing ride. Beautifully descriptive with plenty of action and magic, The Blue Sword has earned a place on my "books I read over and over again" shelf.

The Blue Sword I found most fascinating and enjoyable for its setting. It takes place over three locations: Home, Damar, and The Hills. Theses places put me in mind of England, Gibraltar, and Morocco for the transitions from cool and simple green lands filled with leaves and gentle horses into unknown deserts filled with magic and mystery. Tru
So bummed out!! Sadly, I cannot listen to this audiobook. Diane Warren's narration is good (enough), but the audio is poor quality, outdated (1992), with loud gasping breaths between sentences. Returned it to Audible.

I asked Audible to re-narrate this one, since it is an award winner. Or I will buy the e-book and read it, instead. Cancel that. It doesn't come in kindle ebook in the USA??

"This is the story of Corlath, golden-eyed king of the Free Hillfolk, son of the sons of the Lady Aeri
Also lots of love. So much love. I loved Aerin's story, and I think The Hero and the Crown is very complete, but I would happily read more books about Harry and Corlath, I really, really would!
With a girl named Harry, you can’t go wrong!

The Blue Sword is one of those gems you’ll find on a pile of forgotten books. Books with smelly, yellow tinted pages in a secondhand bookstore. I had never heard of Robin McKinley. And unfortunately, neither did my dad back in the days when he read me bedtime stories.

What we have here is a classic high fantasy tale, very much in the tradition of Tolkien’s work, in which an orphaned girl, Angharad Crewe (it’s not hard to get why she insists on being cal
The main character, Harry, was such a Mary Sue that I couldn't finish it. McKinley did a horrible job with Harry's character development. Getting kidnapped by people from a culture she has NO CLUE about and being perfectly content with that, becoming a master swordswoman in under 6 weeks, and just generally accepting everything that happens to her with unnatural calm. For God's sake she marries and apparently loves a man at the end of the book for no logical reason. She also has some rare, magic ...more
Apr 12, 2010 Hannah rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hannah by: Tatiana
Shelves: 2010-reads, ya, sci-fi
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked The Blue Sword.

Fantasy/Sci-Fi isn't my forte. I wouldn't normally read this genre, but for the fact that it came so highly recommended by a GoodReads friend, who had read one of my own recommendations not so long ago!

The Blue Sword is a rich, detailed book that you can lose yourself in. The descriptive writing reminded me alot of one of my favorite authors, Mary Stewart - not in content, but in the way both authors can bring the reader fully into a
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…

How do I explain the feeling I get when I read those words, the beginning sentences of this book? It is like a shiver goes down my back. Like I just bit into one of those oranges...and it is sweeter and juicier then I expected. Suddenly I feel like I am everywhere and nowhere. A part of me is already with Ha
In some ways, I believe The Blue Sword makes a better read than its companion novel, The Hero and the Crown. You get the sense that McKinley’s drawing from more sources in her creation of this world than in the fantasy dragon world described in the later published prequel. The story of The Blue Sword reads like a combination of those adventure books describing 19th Century British colonization practices in the East and an inversion the story of Prince Cor in The Horse and His Boy.

One thing I fou
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  • Crown Duel (Crown & Court #1-2)
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  • Magician's Ward (Mairelon, #2)
  • The Perilous Gard
  • The Changeling Sea
  • Summers at Castle Auburn
  • Wild Magic (Immortals, #1)
  • The Beggar Queen (Westmark #3)
  • Jackaroo (Tales of the Kingdom, #1)
Born in her mother's hometown of Warren, Ohio, Robin McKinley grew up an only child with a father in the United States Navy. She moved around frequently as a child and read copiously; she credits this background with the inspiration for her stories.

Her passion for reading was one of the most constant things in her childhood, so she began to remember events, places, and time periods by what books
More about Robin McKinley...

Other Books in the Series

Damar (4 books)
  • The Hero and the Crown (Damar, #1)
  • Imaginary Lands
  • A Pool in the Desert
Beauty (Folktales, #1) The Hero and the Crown (Damar, #1) Sunshine Spindle's End (Folktales, #3) Deerskin

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“[Harry] had always suffered from a vague restlessness, a longing for adventure that she told herself severely was the result of reading too many novels when she was a small child.” 188 likes
“...My friend, there are some things that I cannot tell you. Some I will tell you in time; some, others will tell you; some you may never know, or you may be the first to find the answers.” 131 likes
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