✤ The Blue Sword Download ➸ Author Robin McKinley – Heartforum.co



10 thoughts on “The Blue Sword

  1. says:

    Feb 2018 reread for the umpteenth time with my real life book club One of my all time favorite comfort reads If you re wondering why YA fantasy lovers praise Robin McKinley and based on her recent novels that s a fair question , this book is one of the reasons The Blue Sword is one of those magical fantasies that I ve read times than I can count, and love beyond reason I also think this 1982 book has been a little bit forgotten over the years, at least if you re not a Robin McKinley fan, and that it beats most of what passes for YA fantasy nowadays It s certainly IMO much better than most of McKinley s 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 recommend both without reservation This story is set in a fantasy world very reminiscent of British colonial era India in the 1800 s A young woman named Angharad, known as Harry to her friends, has traveled across the sea to the outskirts of this desert country, known as the Royal Province of Daria nope no echoes of the British empire here to join her brother at a military outpost Harry is tall and quiet and a little awkward and doesn t feel like she fits in, despite the fact that there are only a few unmarried women at this outpost and their company is in high demand at dances and dinner parties among all the young soldiers.But important things are afoot Sir Charles, the officer in charge of the outpost, is trying to negotiate with the Hillfolk, a nomadic desert people who ride magnificent horses BTW I love the intelligent, brave horses and cats in this book that s probably one of the reasons it s so near to my heart Corlath, the leader of the Hillfolk, is trying to get Sir Charles to commit the British army to help fight against a horrible magical horde from the north whose attack is soon coming In the process of negotiations, Corlath catches a glimpse of Harry, and his kelar, the magical power in his blood, insists that he kidnap her and take her with him to the hills So he does, not knowing why, but knowing it is necessary for some reason.So begin the adventures of Harry, as she learns to ride a Hillfolk horse, fight with a sword, and come to terms with the kelar that runs in her own blood as well as Corlath s She also needs to come to terms with her own heritage, her relationship with Corlath, and what her role will be in the fight against the inhuman Northern army.This story takes place in the same world as The Hero and the Crown, which is set in an earlier time but was written later, so you can read these books in either order And you should They both have a permanent place on my favorites shelf, for good reason In these early books, McKinley pulled me right into this magical world I felt like I was living and experiencing all these adventures with Harry and Aerin from Hero and the Crown I m just sad that there are only two novels, and a handful of short stories, that Robin McKinley wrote about this world.


  2. says:

    This book proves once that standards for YA fiction have gone significantly down over the last 10 years You just rarely come by this kind of writing any 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 and a place where she truly belongs, as unexpected and unfamiliar as this place is to her.Yes, the story is familiar, but the sign of a real writing talent is to make it special and unforgettable McKinley certainly succeeds in it Her writing is flawless and sophisticated, the imagery of mysterious land of Damar is vivid the horse riding, the nomadic life style, the castle in the Hills I get shivers just remembering the tangibility of the descriptions , and the characters even non human characters horses, hunting cats are oh so well drawn I mean a SWORD in this book actually has personality than famed Bella Swan I just don t understand why this book is not better known these days or known as a hidden gem A vocabulary is too sophisticated, or not enough making out in it It makes me sad that books like this are so obscure and all kinds of trash sells millions of copies If I have to point any flaws in the book, I d say I wish the writing had a little intensity to it, or I would have loved to see passion in Harry, to see her unleash the power of her kelar onto a man she loves But this is a crazy fantasy of mine, there is no real reason to spoil a perfectly good story This is certainly not my last Robin McKinley book.


  3. says:

    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, that no woman had wielded since the Lady Aerin herself bore it into battle.And this is the song of the kelar of the Hillfolk, the magic of the blood, the weaver of destiniesBecause easy as it is to think this book is just about Corlath and Harry, it s really not The kelar is a driving force, enough that I see it as a third main character It pulses through this book much as it pulses in the blood of our two protagonists, moving the story to its will, arranging events to suit its needs without much care for mortal feelings or objections.Therefore, while I understand how some might object to the fact that this story begins with Harry being kidnapped by Corlath, in a way they were both kidnapped Corlath himself is a prisoner, in a way, of the wild unpredictable magic he carries there s a reason, after all, that they call it the king s madness He no wants to take her than she wants to be taken, but the kelar needs her to be Damarian, so neither of them have a choice.Now, given that she s compelled and aided by something that powerful, Harry s entry into a new culture is remarkably easy, and this would be a problem if not for the fact that the point of this book is something entirely different It s a great adventure story, of course, but it s not about the adventure story It s about Harry finding her place in the world a classic coming of age From the first line of the first chapter, we know she doesn t fit where she is She is discontent, restless, hiding it under a mask of polite manners One might suspect, then, that once she s been accepted by the Hillfolk, she will be content, but that is not the case One of the things I love about this book is that Harry s critical decision, her defining moment, is when she chooses not to give up the part of her that is Outlander Because she reconciles two different parts of herself, instead of denying one or the other, she is capable of achieving her goals It takes courage to do that, and courage is Harry s defining trait She is, even when taken captive, determined not to show fear when she understands that the Hillfolk don t mean her harm but still have no intention of returning her to her people, she approaches new experiences with determination and a generally good attitude.One of the things that keeps me coming back to this book and its companion, The Hero and the Crown, is the land of Damar itself I think it s even vivid in this book than in the other, even though THATC showed it in its prime There, it seemed like a fairly run of the mill fantasy kingdom Here, seen in decline and through the eyes of a foreigner, it is astonishing and beautiful This is where the strength of the Damarian people and the richness of their culture really shines, because this is where we see them in duress They are proud, they are strong, they are noble and good hearted and graceful Their beautiful horses appealed to me when I was young and in that horse crazy phase every girl goes through, but now what calls to me is their sophistication Even though they don t have modern conveniences and seem like savages to the Homelanders who are, by the way, wonderfully British , they are not uncivilized in the least There is a wonderful nuance in how McKinley presents this instead of going the presumed savages are actually advanced special sophisticated than the invaders route, she makes them cultural equals in different ways Both civilizations have distinct advantages and disadvantages, and neither is presented as right or wrong While this book does somewhat deal with imperialism, it doesn t moralize, and the Homelanders are never villains simply because it s recognized that they are people too And then there s the relationship between Corlath and Harry Corlath, when we first see him, seems like an intimidating and powerful sort, and he kind of is But he s just as lost and confused, in different ways, as Harry is just as unsure how to deal with the situation they find themselves in He is not an unkind man, just an unsure one Some of my favorite moments in this book are his, including this one Long after Harry had cried herself to sleep again, the Hill king lay awake, facing the grief he had caused and could not comfort Or this He would help this girl now, as much as he might, stranger and thief as he might be to her He would do what he could view spoiler Their reunion, of course, tops the list Poor Corlath seems to have been so lost without her, and she so unsure of her reception that moment when she slides down from Sungold and hugs him is just gorgeous And then we get this intricate, gorgeous declaration of love from Harry My king, I would far rather you kept my sash as you have kept it for me in faith while I was gone away from you, and gave me your sash to wear in its place For my honor, and than my honor, has been yours for months past, but I saw no clearly than did you till I had parted from you, and knew then what it would cost me if I could not return And , I knew what it would cost me if I returned to be only a king s Rider hide spoiler


  4. says:

    There never was a choice I ride the only way open to me, and yet often and again it seems to me I am dangerously unfit for it A penniless orphan of average beauty it starts like a bad romance, no WAIT FOR IT called Harry I DARE you not to think about Prince Harry s bearded face now is forced to leave her home in the England Homeland empire and accept hospitality of strangers in Damaria, a desert land recently colonised but still inhabited by mysterious nomad Hillfolk The opening chapter reminded me of Guns of the Dawn and I thought that that a very good sign indeed I was wrong The Blue Sword is a tale about a girl who mastered a language in three days, horsemanship in a week and fighting skills in little over a month And then she got a magic sword so she could save the world.Harry is outwardly unprepossessing, well bred young lady finding her place on the lower branches of a gentry tree in a Victorian like society but inwardly she is an unquiet spirit, yearning for an adventure In a properly British Homelandish manner, she finds herself intrigued by the savage locals and their barbarian yet, oh how sophisticated ways Especially the gift of magic kelar fascinates her Now, the Hillfolk have their own problems In the first place the gift wanes, their land has been colonised, and now a mortal enemy threatens to annihilate them When the British Homelanders refuse to get involved in someone else s war help, the King of the Hillfolk, under the impulse of his own magic, decides to abduct Harry Cliches ensue 1 A king whose diplomatic skill amount to a being kingly, b riding a red horse, c having a fancy tent, and d throwing a tantrum in the face of a potential ally when they are unimpressed by general threats and ominous foretelling Impressive, no We deal with a leader of people that have been conquered, by a benign power but nonetheless And what doe this king do He keeps his people separated not because the Homelanders are an oppressive force but because he fears a change most of all He says They would send doctors and farmers and seeds and plows and bricklayers, and within a generation his people would be as faceless as the rest of the Outlander Darians In other words, his faith in the strength and vitality of his own culture and traditions is next to nil and so he d rather perish than civilise 2 If you wonder why would an average charity case and a new arrival to the country be worth of breaking the law and potentially causing a conflict with a superior force, let me assure you that the answer is obvious TRIGGER WARNING special snowflake 3 Harry has a special cat and a special horse A couple of days and she is able to use present perfect and conditionals also subordinate clauses in a new language, after three days she communicates fluently, after a week she is able to discern semantic nuances There is also another language she just speaks due to her magic powers FOR THE RECORD, I have been living in the Czech Republic for half a year and I still am a source of mild bemusement for all my Czech speaking colleagues Last week I confused the word for lentils with the word for a cat and every time I try to pronounce something as innocent as 13 40 I make the world a better place by making people laugh 4 Back to Harry, Harry has magic, how could she not, and a sisterly bond with a legendary ancient queen This allows her to swing a sword like a pro after a month and ride a horse like she was born in a saddle She is also able to win special trials even though her tutor during six weeks of preparations does not tell her what to expect whereas other people train their whole lives in order to win 5 And then, when you think things cannot get cheesy, she gets a magic sword And needs to save the day battle plans so easy when compared to embroidery Or actually, the magic saves the day, because in this world magic is everything and can do everything and everybody dances to its tune Where is this fabulous world building I have been reading about in the reviews Homeland is essentially England down to St George and his dragon not only the name is similar but the whole culture is copy pasted with no additions whatsoever The enemy is a caricatural evil with no nuance to it They have always been evil, they have always hated the Hillfolk, they are dehumanised so that there are no doubts to the fact that they are bad and absolutely must die by the thousands Just the depth of this design might swallow you.My first warning should be the abduction scene The girl is kidnapped and nothing Not a reaction She just calmly cooperates and does not ask a single question like why or what do her captors plan to do with her I m not saying Harry should have fits, but from a strong minded heroine, and she is portrayed as one, I d expect at least something along the line of Unhand me this instant or Whatever you think you are doing sir instead she goes as meekly as a cow and didn t raise an eyebrow at being treated this way Then there is the writing style swords flickering with the colour of madness what is the colour of madness or a colour of exhaustion for that matter overuse of for for I kid you not it is used in every other sentence, smouldering gazes and in general a very descriptive style with loads and loads of telling The romance is so lame that my cat s love for the fridge has passion in it.I understand that some of the favourable reviews are sentimental ratings I have those too This is a vintage book and when it was released there might have been some magic to it For older readers, this might have been a gateway into the genre I get it Having said this, I cannot say that The Blue Sword aged well To the contrary Today it is a ridiculous and pompous read Unless you are in a mood for something spectacularly cheesy, avoid You may also read the prequel The Hero and the Crown


  5. says:

    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.


  6. says:

    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, ends up doing Sure, it may be a kidnapping, but through a massive case of Stockholm Syndrome, or through something in the water or, as the romantic view and of course the one I have would put it, fate, she finds a new, comfortable home in the deserts of the native Damarians And a sexy, sexy mentor in Corlath, the king of the Hillfolk, who forces his elite guard, the Riders, into accepting and teaching Harry She gains a completely AWESOME horse, Tsornin, who is better drawn than 99% of the humans in any given book And of course she gains a ghostly mentor in Aerin, who will later get her own book, the Newberry winning The Hero and The Crown.Her journey through this, and her ascension as damalur sol, Lady Hero, is the thing that makes this book so compelling Though how hot Corlath is comes in a close second She goes through culture shock, she goes through pain and difficulty and she ends up doing what she thinks is right despite risking ostracism from the first place she s ever really fit in She s a wonderful heroine in a wonderful story, and all I wish is that there were of Damar for us to experience Dammit, Robin McKinley


  7. says:

    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 I liked that.McKinley is less of a stylist than I imagined but her prose is still liquid and lovely.there were some minor disturbing undercurrents for me but it was hard to put a finger on something about the blood is blood and the idea that a person can only truly be accepted in a culture when they have the blood of that culture that sorta bothered me, especially when combined with taboos around miscegenation with the Northerners happily, in the end, McKinley makes it clear with the acceptance of some Outlanders that this is not actually her perspective.short book just read it this morning the last 20 pages or so tied up all of the romantic elements so I kinda breezed through them the climax that happens before the tying up was pretty awesome this is not an action filled book but that brief clash between heroine and villain was really thrilling Narknon to the rescue speaking of Narknon, that cat and the horse Sungold were really wonderful characters strong personalities and so surprising to see a cat as a companion in a fantasy adventure yay animals are great


  8. says:

    Re read for book club.I got this book when I was eleven, I believe, and that was the perfect age I have read this book so many times that picking it up again, after many years, was like hearing an old favorite song come onto the radio each phrase resonating clearly in memory, bringing with it emotional associations.So I can t claim to be wholly objective about the book I can say that if I has read it for the first time now, it would not have been as meaningful to me Interestingly, I re read the sequel to this book, The Hero and the Crown not so long ago When the sequel came out, I was mildly disappointed by it, but as an adult, I actually think that it holds up better over time.Part of this may be that while The Blue Sword is in many ways purely a romantic fantasy, it is also inspired by historical fact When I first read the book I did know about British Colonialism thanks, The Secret Garden but I knew nothing about the Anglo Afghan conflict, which the events here are based on It s jarring to reconcile the essentially uplifting story here with the bloody, nasty, reality Don t get me wrong, the book in no way endorses colonialism The problems and ethical issues are all acknowledged here but they re presented subtly, sometimes between the lines Our main POV character is Harry, a young woman who s been brought up in a certain type of society, and although she is an admirable person, her perspective on things is realistically limited by her experiences and what she perceives as normal I actually think that the presentation of the political issues is just about perfectly handled for an audience of preteens and young teens.The main focus of the story is not political, but is on Harry as a character In many ways, Harry is a Mary Sue a term that has been thrown around a lot over the past few years as a term of denigration I am pretty much opposed to that concept No, books with Mary Sue characters might not be delving into the sordid depths of the human character or aiming for a Booker Prize, but I think that they are a valid and important type of literature Sometimes, we need wish fulfillment Having a wonderful character to project yourself into can be incredibly valuable.Harry has always felt like an outsider in her stuffy faux British society, which sees her as wild and headstrong Orphaned, the responsibility for her lies on her brother, a soldier He s relieved to have an aristocratic couple posted overseas in the diplomatic service agree to take her in Harry is keenly aware of her position as a charity case but quickly finds herself falling in love with the new country she s been brought to It resonates with her on a deep level, and finally she feels that she might be somewhere that she belongs.However, her life is upended once again when the king of the hilltribes, Corlath, comes to the house where she is living on a diplomatic mission The mission might be a failure, but Corlath s kelar, his hereditary magic, recognizes Harry at first sight and insists that he take her as a hostage.Events unravel from there, and we see Harry progress from being a child, subject to the wills of others, to a person strong enough to do what she believes needs to be done, even directly in defiance of others wills And of course, to become a legendary hero and to save the day.The writing is wonderful I love McKinley s mix of down to earth, practical details and elevated, fantastic passages Another notable aspect is the depictions of animals both cats and horses feature prominently in the book, and are shown with a genuine love and affection The book also has a well balanced mix of action and romance It s a wholly chaste romance, but emotionally intense, and again, it s just perfect for a pre teen If you know someone in that age group, don t let them grow up without reading this


  9. says:

    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 everything was just a little too easy, a little too square peg square hole it fit together just too perfectly There s never a feeling of true conflict or danger that Harry will fail, because she fails at nothing at least nothing that she does after joining the Hillfolk Everything that she does, she s the best at Instantly or close enough to seem like it Learn a new language from the ground up Ain t no thang She s fluently translating in no time.Learn to ride a crazy big, amazingly bred, best of the best, super smart, intimidating war horse She s riding circles around her teacher in weeks Learn to sword fight after never having held anything bigger than a butter knife in her life She s winning competitions in less than 2 months Defect from the main army to defend an underrated weak flank point and command battles Got it in one day Need to drop a mountain range on your enemy 30 minutes 15 if you exclude travel time to climb to the top of said mountains I mean really I know that she s got this whole kelar magical insight guiding force thing But can t she be bad at something ANYTHING The fantasy itself was typical Nothing special, nothing really compelling or impressive, except that the main character is a girl who has an unknown ability that, unsurprisingly, comes into play all the time to benefit her at just the right times, without her having to do anything at all Sure, she has to swing the sword and ride the horse, but the magic in her makes her the best at it almost without even trying, and then all the really big stuff just happens by instinct There s nothing at all special or impressive about Harry aside from an accident of birth, but this book apparently thinks she s the greatest thing since sliced bread And the Northerners The mysterious danger that is such a threat that they are mentioned a handful of times in passing Aside from them being different , it s not until they are actually IN BATTLE that there s any kind of information given about why they are so dangerous or scary And again, most of that is that they are just different oh, and their leader is bloodthirsty and maybe part demon and their horses are double jointed KILL THEM WITH FIRE I guess what I m trying to say is that I found this book to be boringly predictable in the worst way The story progressed through trope check points like it was going out of style Outlander finds her true home with the enemy Check She becomes the best of the best of the bestest at everything Check.She inspires all the peoples and the beasties to love and follow her Check Saves all the things Check She gets the guy King Check.Bridges the gap between THEM and US Check Boring I also felt like the writing style itself was odd Sentence structures felt awkward and out of order, leading to this stilted kind of narration dialogue that felt too formal and too informal at the same time Maybe that s due to the fact that this book is 25 years old it s just dated, and feels like it I was hoping to like this book, but it was just disappointing in the end I hope McKinley s other books are better.


  10. says:

    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 things are true I m not good at the basics I know why I loved this even though I ve forgotten a lot of the details I won t even try to get those down right because I ll be pre destined for failure Stop saying what you aren t going to do When someone says they aren t going to do something it often means that they are going to do exactly that It was the lay of the freaking land Community in the force that surrounds us and binds us Yoda shit And I believed it I m a sucker for this kind of stuff in stories cause that s when I get to dream it for myself McKinley was as good at that It s like the sword handle behind the story that made it much than a story Like when you re living the story in your head as you are reading and forget everything else If only all stories did this It really did matter to me if she found her place Harry didn t belong anywhere and then she falls in love with a life and beyond everything fall into place it s worth fighting for I already said that That s what I remember feeling That s why I beam at this book when I see it on book shelves You know I kinda wish that would happen to me, still I haven t forgotten what it feels like to want to get connected like that little green man with the glowing blue sword talked about.


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The Blue Sword This Is The Story Of Corlath, Golden Eyed King Of The Free Hillfolk, Son Of The Sons Of The Lady AerinAnd 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, That No Woman Had Wielded Since The Lady Aerin Herself Bore It Into BattleAnd This Is The Song Of The Kelar Of The Hillfolk, The Magic Of The Blood, The Weaver Of Destinies Back Cover