August 13, 2007

The Hero and the Crown

By Robin McKinley
Newbery Award Winner 1985
Rating: 4 3/4 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

This is the prequel to the excellent The Blue Sword (see review, Oct. 2006), and is set hundreds of years in the past. Aerin is the misfit daughter and only child of the king of Damar. Other members of the royal family possess the "Gift," a type of magic. But Aerin remains stubbornly without any such proof that she belongs in the family. Her only friends are her old nurse, Teka, Tor, the heir to the kingdom, and Talat, her father's castoff war horse. But when Aerin stumbles across a recipe for kenet, a salve that supposedly makes one fireproof, she becomes a slayer of the small and nasty dragons who inhabit the country and feels she has finally found a niche in her world. Trouble is also brewing in the North, and talk comes of trying to find the long lost Crown, which makes the wearer unbeatable. Then Maur, the last great dragon, awakes to lay waste to Damar. Will a second-rate king's daughter, kenet and an old war horse be enough to face him? And what happens when Maur is just the beginning of the threat to Damar? Readers cannot help but be swept into Aerin's world, where she undertakes the slow changes from the girl who hides in her room to a hero of Damar. A fully realized world and great characters make this a fantastic work of fiction.

No comments: