Jill's Reviews > The Hero and the Crown

The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
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's review
May 16, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: newbery-medal
Recommended for: fantasy fans

It must be a real challenge to create a fantasy novel similar in a lot of ways to famous ones already written and different in some ways. I thought at first, story about dragons and castles--I've heard this one before, how interesting could it be? It's partly because she's good at writing the details of the physical toll of emotional struggles and the emotional toll of physical struggles. Maybe it's because I read this soon after we got Holly's diagnosis and the descriptions of depression and despair really struck a chord with me.

"I know Perlith isn't a very worthwhile human being, but he's actually pretty effective at this sort of thing--because he's such a good liar, you know, and because he can say the most appalling things in the most gracious manner."

"She watched the sun rise and it occurred to her that she seemed to be spending more time conscious, and she was sorry for this. It would have been simpler if sometime during the night when she had wandered off, leaving her crippled body in the cold running water, she had not returned."

"She slept, or fainted again, often, drifting back and forth across the boundary of selfhood; it was no longer only oblivion that those periods of blankness brought her, but the beginning of healing.

"It took strength to deal with people...strength to be the public figure she could not help being; and she had no strength to spare."

"...her mind was blank, and she had no hatred or bitterness nor any sense of victory left in her heart; it had all been burned away by the pain."

"Her legs ached with climbing, and her back ached with tension, and her neck ached with keeping her head tipped up to look at the endless staircase; and her mind ached with thoughts she dared not think."

"There was little rejoicing, for all were weary, bone-weary, death-weary; and they had had so little hope that morning that now in the evening they had not yet truly begun to believe they had won after all."

"...we felt defeated before we began. Always we were weary and discouraged; we never rode out in hope that we could see victory...It's actually been a bit better these last weeks; perhaps we only adjusted finally to despair."

"Depression still gnawed at them, but in a curious way their weariness worked to their advantage, for depression often went with weariness, and so they could ignore the one as a simple unfearsome result of the other."


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