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The Hero and the Crown

(Damar #2)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  47,241 ratings  ·  2,084 reviews
Although only child of Damar's king, and best friends with heir Tor, Aerin is "the only pale-skinned redhead in a country of cinnamon-skinned brunettes". When convalescing, she reads about fighting dragons, experiments with kenet herbal dragonfire-proof burn ointment, and learns to ride her father's old wounded warhorse Talat. After Tor gives her lessons and a sword, her o ...more
Paperback, 246 pages
Published October 2nd 2000 by Puffin Books (first published 1984)
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Melissa I read this as required reading in middle school for 7th grade English but I think adults would like it if it is a genre they enjoy. This was one of…moreI read this as required reading in middle school for 7th grade English but I think adults would like it if it is a genre they enjoy. This was one of the first fantasy novels I had read and I absolutely hated it though.(less)
Mekiah Johnson You can order it on amazon, get it from your local bookstore, get it on a device, if that answers your question. You can also get it at a thrift…moreYou can order it on amazon, get it from your local bookstore, get it on a device, if that answers your question. You can also get it at a thrift store, which is where I got my copy. (less)

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mark monday
First wave feminist novel The Hero and the Crown recognizes the intrinsic right for protagonist Aerin to have a say in the destiny of her country, regardless of her gender.

Second wave feminist novel The Hero and the Crown illustrates how Aerin is the equal of any man in the patriarchal land of Damar - indeed, she is the equal of any man, anywhere.

Third wave feminist novel The Hero and the Crown celebrates Aerin's sexuality, her ability to move beyond prescribed, essentialist notions of gender ro
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Sean
Jun 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: fantasy, feminist
When I was a kid, I frequented two areas of the library: the children's section and the adult fiction section. The young adult shelves and the nonfiction shelves might as well have been made of glass for all I noticed them.

One year when I was in my early teens, the family was getting ready to go on the dreaded yearly camping trip. "Dreaded" because it meant a week in the outdoors, with no books. Well, almost no books: Mom's rule was that we each could take two—only two??—so we spent hours dawdli
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Melanie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah
Like most of Robin McKinley’s work, The Hero and the Crown is very hard to classify. Its surface is high fantasy—cliché high fantasy, even—but it’s written like psychologically-driven realistic fiction.

Our setting is the rather desolate kingdom of Damar, about which we know little except:

1). The heirs to the throne are called sola (male) or sol (female). It should really be the other way around, or at least that would make it easier to follow for those of us who speak Latin.

2). The Damarians ha
...more
Emily Michelle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wealhtheow
Jul 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I read this when I was young and disgruntled, reading two or three books a day to avoid talking to my classmates. It was basically the perfect time to read this story, which tells the tale of a young woman who is not understood by her people and is deeply unhappy about it. And when I read this, it was one of very few books that spoke to me in a voice I could actually empathize with. All the other fantasy I was reading featured boys tramping across pseudo-English countryside before being crowned ...more
Tatiana
Feb 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of fantasy with strong heroines
Recommended to Tatiana by: Heather
Shelves: newbery, 2010, fantasy, ya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Althea Ann
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got this book when it was first published, in hardcover.

At the time, 'The Blue Sword' (to which this is a prequel) was one of my most-beloved books - and, I have to admit, that at the time, I didn't feel the 'The Hero and the Crown' quite measured up. I liked it - but just not quite as much. (It's not like I didn't read it several times, though.)

Re-reading, years later, I understand why I felt the way I did - but I also kind of disagree with my youthful opinion. This is a wonderful book.

It's
...more
Magrat Ajostiernos
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, fantasía
Robin McKinley no es una autora para todo el mundo.
En su día leí 'Chalice', otra de sus novelas, y tuve sensaciones similares... Sus historias de fantasía son intimistas, con poca acción y pocos personajes pero con un gran desarrollo de los mismos. Su estilo es una de las cosas que más me gustan, (es realmente poético) pero también es lo que más me cuesta a la hora de leer sus novelas, porque mi nivel de inglés da para lo que da.
'The hero and the crown' es la precuela de otro de sus libros que
...more
Cait
I loved this book as a kid and I love it still as an adult. It's one of those books that's so much a part of my life that it's hard for me to believe that not everyone has read it. Maur still creeps me out, Talat still makes me teary, and Aerin's surka rash as she climbs the tower remains the best thing ever.
Eh?Eh!
young princess who feels like a misfit, teaches herself to fight dragons, befriends animals left&right, finds love twice, overcomes a villain from her family's past, follows her known duty rather than pursue unknown emotion...it's really not as dry as I'm summarizing.

beautifully and dreamily written. I remember reading this and wanting to fight dragons. a big surprise when I re-read years later and still enjoyed it, still found the heroine a sympathetic character. good messages about not tak
...more
Mayim de Vries
“Her destiny, like her love, like her heritage, was double.”

Damar is a precarious duology in that the second book in the series is actually a prequel to the events described in the Blue Sword. Like its predecessor, The Hero and the Crown is a novel about a girl with a special horse and a magic sword. After the horrors I already endured, I expected the worst. As it is, the book is not that bad. Which unfortunately doesn’t to mean that it is worth reading.

Once again, we have a typical YA setting:
...more
Chris
I got a copy of this in 6th or 7th grade. I've read it so many times that it is being held together by a rubber band. I enjoyed it because it was the first real fantasy book I read where the hero is a young woman. She's not just the sidekick, but the hero. She's also flawed and not supergirl or ravishing beautiful. It's a wonderful book because of that. In many ways, it is the perfect book for any quiet girl simply because a loner, an outcast proves herself needed. Perhaps the success of the boo ...more
Nikki
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Wow, I don't know why I didn't really like The Hero and the Crown very much on the first go round. It's full of all the kinds of things I love: love stories that aren't just simple love-at-first-sight or we-grew-up-together-and-now-we're-in-love, but something more complicated that that; a world with a history and a future, outside of what we've got; a heroine who works through flaws and barriers to become a hero. And the last sentences -- ach! Lovely.

It's not some straightforward children's sto
...more
H.
Dec 27, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A reader might well leave this Damar prequel feeling dazed and uncertain of what to make of the jumble of rises and falls and meandering sidestories and climaxes, but a vigorous shake of the head will allow the book to be seen as two distinct halves: Part 1) The fantastic set-up. Part 2) The frustratingly sloppy, nonsensical, disappointing end/end? Until the story's first climax, McKinley gives us everything: a relatable, charismatic, admirable heroine who's so scrappy and determined we can't he ...more
Jessica
The book that made me say, I want to do that, I want to be her (both Aerin, the Hero, and Robin, the Author). This is the book that made me love fantasy, dragons, everything.
Priscilla
I LOVED the first 2/3 of this book. Then, it started to drag and I had a hard time finishing it.

Aerin is a princess in the city of Damar. Her father is a good, righteous king and her mother died shortly after giving birth to Aerin. The people love her father, but they believe her mother was a witch and they don't trust her daughter. As a result, Aerin becomes a bit of a loner, her only real friend is Tor, the boy who will inherit the throne. All members of the royal family should develop magical
...more
Jacob Proffitt
Jul 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, owned
This is the first time I've read this book as an adult—mostly because I love, love, love The Blue Sword and this book kind of goes out of its way to undermine expectations set by that book for Damar's past. I didn't remember much of this book—mostly just a vague sense of this not being my expected Damar, really (because my memory really sucks, not because the book isn't memorable).

So I was gratified that the book holds up so well. Better, really, because I came away from it not only renewing my
...more
Jennifer
I really enjoyed the first half. Someone had recommended it in part because the heroine gets the prince and the wizard as lovers. Though the wizard isn't in the first half, the world created in this coming-of-age tale and the characters who people it are interesting and likeable. There's a bit much girl-and-her-pony stuff for my interest, but I wanted to know what would become of these characters. The growing love that Tor feels for Aerin is infused with the right amounts of sweetness and forbid ...more
Audrey
Mmm. This is a confusing story, many times I didn't know what was going on. There were other occasions when it was unclear whose POV (Point of View) I was hearing, it chopped and changed suddenly.

There could have been more character development and also more relationship development between characters.

For me this story had no sparkle, and it could have been really great. Mind you this is only my opinion and from other reviews I see I am not in the majority about this story.
Jon
Jun 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jon by: Science Fiction/Fantasy Book Club
Aerin may be the king's daughter, but you wouldn't know it from the looks, the stares, the snickers, the pranks, or the court gossip. Her father loved and married Aerin's mother after his first wife died childless. But being from the North, of unknown heritage and lineage, suspicions of witchcraft at worst and being a commoner at best, followed Aerin like a fog of misery. Her royal Gift failed to manifest as she entered and traversed adolescence, which further fueled the rumors of her inadequate ...more
Melody
Oct 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never doubted for a moment where this book was going, but McKinley's hand at the wheel was so sure I didn't mind going along for the ride. Her characters were multi-faceted and enjoyable to read about. I especially liked the realistic portrait of love and the choices that sometimes come with it towards the end. The derring-do was great fun, and the plotting brisk. It felt like a fairy tale, an old tale many times told, with a certain underlying gravitas. Well-written doesn't exactly cover it. ...more
keidra
Mar 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before she went crazy, Robin McKinley wrote some of the most awesome young adult fantasy out there. Her heroines were smart and plucky, with a bit of tasty pathos to keep things interesting. Aerin, the main character of HATC, is a dragon-slayer in training, while remaining decidedly introverted and bookish and not quite the most coordinated chick in town. She also has a love triangle (with SEX!)involving her second cousin and an immortal wizard dude. Needless to say, she was quite the hero for m ...more
Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen
3.5 Dragon Killer Stars

Ehhh...I have such a hard time reviewing fantasy books ---- saying what I really mean, but I'll give it a try.

This book didn't knock my socks off but I didn't not dislike it. It was good ---- a few times I had a hard time understanding what was going on because it seemed like the author skipped around without explaining in detail.

Other than that - this was a good YA Fantasy book that read quickly.
Kogiopsis
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 gro
...more
Kat
Basic Plot: Aerin is the mostly-left-to-her-own-devices, unconventional daughter of the king. After discovering a secret formula that can make her fireproof, she begins hunting dragons, which takes her on a journey to save the kingdom.

I bought a paperback of this book when I was in elementary school through one of those school book order programs (I was ADDICTED to them), and it was the first Robin McKinley book I ever read. It is now so battered and worn that I have actually been thinking about
...more
Tina
Dec 22, 2014 added it
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I like what this review points out about the book. I miss these old fantasy narratives; even though they break the axiom of "show, don't tell," everything feels so purposeful and beautiful and controlled in a way that's kind of rare to read nowadays. I also love getting to see the main character age in the same book, as she grows to overcome the trials presented.

If you're a fan of Kristin Cashore or Megan Whalen Turn
...more
Debbie
Mar 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anytime I read The Blue Sword, I have to read The Hero and the Crown right after. I suppose I am unwilling to leave Robin McKinley's world too soon, so I extend my stay as long as I can.

The legendary Aerin from The Blue Sword is a solitary young woman in The Hero and the Crown. She grows up in her father's castle surrounded by those who hold her and her ancestry in suspicion and must find her place among them.

McKinley has a gift for creating heroines who do great, heroic things in a completely h
...more
Jennifer
Apr 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, fantasy, re-read, ya
This book is an old favorite of mine, though this is the first time in many years that I've gone back to it. So it was interesting seeing it as a writer this time. It has an almost mythic quality to it that I think might frustrate some younger readers today, yet I think the style is a good choice for the story, and it still brought me to tears several times. (Oh, Talat.) (Also, I still want a giant hunting cat of my very own.)
Jana Brown
This is not the first time I've read this book. Truth told I would be very hard pressed to pinpoint my first reading, though close to two decades might be pretty close, and there have been several readings since that time. Yeah, this is one of those kinds of books, a comfort book I come back to when I'm having those fits of not knowing what I want to read, but knowing I'll be satisfied when I'm done.

This read was fascinating to me because I've been doing a lot of editing lately and my brain kept
...more
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5,707 followers
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

Other books in the series

Damar (2 books)
  • The Blue Sword (Damar, #1)
“He laughed, tried to make it into a cough, inhaled at exactly the wrong moment, and then really did cough.” 93 likes
“He will apologize, or I'll give him a lesson in swordplay he will not like at all.” 52 likes
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