For week 15, I read the second book in the Damar series, The Hero and the Crown, also by Robin McKinley. Interestingly enough, even though this is the second book in the series, it takes place quite a long time before the first book. Much of the history we learn in bits and pieces in The Blue Sword, has yet to happen, or is happening as we watch. We follow Aerin as she comes into her own.
I had a bit more trouble getting into the book at first, as compared to The Blue Sword. The language was a bit more archaic, a bit more high fantasy, and apparently I wasn’t prepared to expend any mental effort to translate it into pictures like I usually do. So I waited a few days to get my head on straight, and had a much better time after that.
Where I complained (very mildly – hardly complaints at all, more in the realm of observations) before that The Blue Sword was somewhere between high fantasy and a classy romance in the academic, exotic-adventure sense of the word “romance,” rather than the sweaty bodice-ripper version, this book is squarely in the realm of high fantasy. The author’s voice creeps in now and then with a whisper of the adventure-romance, strongly British in accent, but it doesn’t derail the narrative or overly color the characters’ voices.
I liked it. It’s not my usual these days, but closer to something I would have really enjoyed in high school. Perhaps that says something about what I’m accustomed to reading nowadays, that I had to make my brain work when it didn’t want to do anything of the sort. I’m not sure which I liked better, really. The two are different enough to stand on their own merits, I think.