The Blue Sword (Damar, #1) by Robin McKinley

The Blue Sword (Damar, #1)

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 the Hillfolk language or why she has been chosen. Renamed Hari, she sees vis...

Details The Blue Sword (Damar, #1)

TitleThe Blue Sword (Damar, #1)
Release DateApr 26th, 2016
PublisherHarperCollins Publishers
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Fiction, Romance, Adventure

Reviews The Blue Sword (Damar, #1)

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    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 more 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 more times than I can count, and love beyond reason. I also think this 1982 book has been a little bit forgotten ov...
  • Tatiana
    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 t...
  • Kogiopsis
    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'...
  • Mayim de Vries
    “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 i...
  • 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.
  • Eliza
    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 b...
  • 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 ...
  • Althea Ann
    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 ha...
  • Becky
    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 did...
  • Mariel
    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!...
  • Keertana
    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 de...
  • Stephanie
    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 th...
  • Melissa McShane
    Re-read 6/26/17: See below, plus the audiobook version was really good despite a couple of odd mispronunciations by the reader. There is so much I didn't get about the relationship between Harry and Corlath (from the initial abduction on) when I was young that I appreciate better now.Read 6/23/13: 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 fi...
  • Erik
    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 Bad1. 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 Harr...
  • Debbie
    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 to...
  • Jessica
    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!
  • 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 retir...
  • Carrie Vaughn
    Probably my favorite book. This is coming with me to my desert island.
  • Terence
    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...
  • Melody
    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 ...
  • Sarah
    I'm on the fence about this book :) It had some major flaws, mostly that it was so focused on the main story that it lacked some depth. The character gets abducted and becomes this warrior with little passing thought to what she's actually experiencing. She goes with the flow but doesn't really stop to question that flow. It's actually really weird. The Hillfolk appear to be a highly romanticized and idealized version of the Ottoman Turks, with t...
  • Logan
    My suspicion of all silver-medallion-marked books remains unshaken.I really don't know what went wrong here. Clearly the main audience of this book (female) thinks it is a childhood classic. Therefore a) I must be the incorrect gender, b) missed the age window, c) was born in the incorrect era to enjoy it. It really, really makes me wonder if the people who love it were born in a certain period, are of a certain gender, and were a certain age whe...
  • Brandi
    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 everyth...
  • Lindsay
    I'm actually rounding this up from what I expect would be a 3.5 star rating. The heroic story was great, with an excellent story of a newcomer to an exotic culture who adapts, then excels, complete with training montage and heroic battle. But this is on top of a really problematic setting that makes me reluctant to recommend it to people.Angharad "Harry" Crewe's father passes away and she is sent from "Homeland" to her brother in colonial Daria o...
  • Vicky
    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 tha...
  • Alissa
    3.5 stars. It is somewhat slow, there is a Chosen One and it's a bit predictable, a classic fantasy tale. Still the story flows beautifully and I liked it very much. The narration is in third person with occasional first person touches, and it adds a lot to the allure of the places described. The female lead reminded me a little of the one of Mordant's Need and that was a good thing. I flew through this book."She is a true friend, but a friend wi...
  • Hana
    This was so much fun! A pure escapist fantasy read with an appealing heroine, interesting and even complex side characters and excellent world-building. One star off for the lack of a map and glossary.
  • Susan
    I love this book. I haven't read it for many years, but it called to me for a reread. Harry has come to Damar after her father's death to be with her brother. There is something about the land that draws her like nothing else ever has. When Corlath, king of the Hillfolk, comes to Istan to warn of a threat to all of them there is something about him that speaks to her also. After his warnings are ignored, Corlath leaves, but returns in the dark of...
  • Loederkoningin
    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 ...
  • Skip
    McKinley writes well, but I found the book quite slow at times, especially the beginning where she is setting the stage for Harry's kidnapping by Colrath, the king of the Hillpeople. Strangely, Colrath cannot figure out what has compelled him to perpetrate this heinous act. However, Harry seems to adapt well to her changed circumstances and eventually thrives following adoption by her new comrades. Not only does she join the battle against the no...