Kogiopsis's Reviews > The Hero and the Crown

The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
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's review
Jul 30, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: bucket-books, clone-the-guy-i-want-one, fangirl-alert, reviewed, once-upon-a-childhood, pre-college-summer-reread, favorite-2011-reads
Read from June 21 to July 30, 2011

I cannot be impartial.

There are many reasons why I love this book, not least among them being the fact that it was actually the first Robin McKinley book I ever read, back in the days when I browsed library shelves at random and begged my parents into buying books for me, before I knew much about what I was really doing, and I count myself eternally lucky to have stumbled upon this book because it is, it really is, writing as art. It is not writing for money, as some books targeted at my age group are these days; nor is it writing for thrills, or for fame. It is not even a particularly engrossing story but for the fact that it is beautiful, both in content and in style. Reading this story evokes that wide-eyed feeling of being a child and listening to some adult who possessed the magical power of turning books into words, back before you could do it yourself, and it combines that feeling with one of sitting around a camp fire in the long-ago past and listening to an old man or woman recite legends in the oral tradition, sing-song things they memorized to share.

Aerin is so painfully isolated that any quiet child, I think, will see themselves in her, although magnified a hundredfold. She is the epitome of loneliness, to the point that it is self-reinforcing, and no doubt many an adult reading this book finds it difficult to relate. I personally have no such problem, because I was young and shy and awkward just a few years ago, and so I sympathize with Aerin and wish fervently for her success. Succeed she does, of course, because she's the Hero of the title, but it takes a lot of hard work and pain and suffering for her to get that far. I love it when heroes have to actually sweat and bleed and weep before they achieve their goals. I love seeing them suffer as ordinary human beings would, because then they become celebrations of the strength of real people, instead of caricatures of all the good qualities of humanity in quantities which are wholly unrealistic.

The best and worst part of this book, for me, is how well it illuminates the richness of Damar. I fell in love with this land and its people the first time I read it, which is what led me to The Blue Sword, and I still consider it a tragedy that only those two books and a short story in the Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits collection are set in it. It is a place of wild beauty and one that I wish it was possible to explore further, because clearly there are more stories here to tell. Ms. McKinley, if you ever read this, please write another Damar book - about anything at all. (Though if you're taking suggestions, maybe something about Luthe's backstory?)

As this was published after The Blue Sword, it is easy to imagine that these legends of Aerin are the ones Corlath told Harry over and over and over again, and it's hard to fault her for wanting to hear them so many times.
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Quotes Kogiopsis Liked

Robin McKinley
“He laughed, tried to make it into a cough, inhaled at exactly the wrong moment, and then really did cough.”
Robin McKinley, The Hero and The Crown

Robin McKinley
“He will apologize, or I'll give him a lesson in swordplay he will not like at all.”
Robin McKinley, The Hero and the Crown

Robin McKinley
“And none at all has ridden at the king's side since Aerinha, goddess of honor and flame, first taught men to forge their blades. You'd think Aerinha would have had better sense.”
Robin McKinley, The Hero and the Crown

Robin McKinley
“We kings do develop a certain ability to recognize objects under our noses.”
Robin McKinley, The Hero and the Crown

Robin McKinley
“If you try to breathe water, you will not turn into a fish, you will drown; but water is still good to drink.”
Robin McKinley, The Hero and the Crown
tags: luthe

Reading Progress

06/21 page 19
8.0% "I do so love Aerin's relationship with Teka - how even though Aerin doesn't have a mother, she has a very motherly figure in her life."
07/21 page 79
33.0% "Call me crazy, but I think Aerin's insecurities are a really nice touch. It's cool to see a figure literally out of legend be so very human and fragile." 1 comment
07/28 page 129
54.0% "You know, I kind of think Talat is more badass than Aerin."
07/29 page 167
70.0% "Luuuuuuuuthe. If it helps, even though Aerin is going to leave you, I STILL LOVE YOU."
03/02 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Erica (daydreamer) (last edited Jul 30, 2011 02:43PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Erica (daydreamer) You expressed your feelings for this book beautifully, and I agree with everything. These books are masterpieces, people should take more notice of this and realize that this is where the true talent lies.

King Haddock Totally agree. I bought this and the Blue Sword once because they looked interesting in the book store. The lady checking me out was like OMZ THOSE BOOKS ARE GOOD! And she was right. :)

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