The Blue Sword
By: Robin McKinley
My Rating: Four out of Five Stars
Best For: 14 and up
Ah, the 80’s! The music! The movies! The clothes! The books?
Yes! The 80’s were a glorious decade for books! Steven King and Tom Clancy were at the top of their games. So were John Irving, Danielle Steele, and Robert Ludlum. The 80’s gave us The Handmaid’s Tale, Ender’s Game, The Color Purple, The Remains of the Day, The Joy Luck Club, and MANY more–including Robin McKinley.
McKinley’s The Blue Sword was a Newbery Honor winner 1983, and it’s sequel (prequel), The Hero and the Crown, won the Newbery Medal in 1985. I just finished The Blue Sword for the first time, and I’m excited to read The Hero and the Crown next!
The Blue Sword is YA fantasy before YA fantasy became synonymous with love triangles, insta-love, and angsty teenagers, and thankfully are nowhere to be found. But never fear, all other well known and much loved YA tropes are there (yay!)–absent parents, a beauty that doesn’t know she’s beautiful, the chosen one, an outsider protagonist, unknown superpowers, strong female characters, a truly evil bad guy, the wise mentors, the obvious-but-not-obvious love interest: you name it, it’s in there. And thank goodness! We know and love those themes so well because they work, and it was a lot of fun finding them well used in a 4o-year-old YA fantasy story!
I enjoyed the journey this story took me on, although the pacing felt slow. I blame that on the dry, monotone performance of the audio narrator I listened to during a road trip. When I actually read the book things moved along bit better. Any story that features a strong girl who wields a magic sword and rides a cool horse isn’t going to have to work very hard to win me over!
No content issues at all. The pacing makes this book most accessible to 14 and up.