52 in 1: The Hero And The Crown

The early days of heat-set hairstyles.

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.


About crankyfacedknitter

We are a motley collection of cats, cranks, nerds, geeks, hobbyists, humorists, writers, caffeine addicts and one knitter. We have many offspring, but admittedly, most of them are imaginary.
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2 Responses to 52 in 1: The Hero And The Crown

  1. hdbailey says:

    I actually read ( many years ago, now!) Hero and the Crown first, and had a much harder time losing myself in the Blue Sword. I wonder how much the order we are exposed to books affects our perception of them. Should kids be exposed to the Star Wars prequels first, and never be surprised that DV is Luke’s father? Do you read “the Magician’s Nephew” before “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”?

    • That’s a tough question. I myself believe the books should be read in the order they’re written, with grudging exceptions made for books actually intended to be read prior to the originals, by the author’s express instruction. Even then, I’d be tempted to disobey and read them in order of publication. Even prequels are usually more interesting only because we’re invested in the characters already, and there tends to be much more development that might otherwise drag on for someone who doesn’t know what’s coming.

      For instance, I will always read The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe before The Magician’s Apprentice. It makes so much more sense that way.

      In the interest of full disclosure, despite my geekdom status, I have not been able to force myself to watch Star Wars 2 or 3. Star Wars 1 just hurt too badly. Once burned, you see. 4-6 were such a prominent part of my childhood, I couldn’t bear to see Lucas hurt my buddies anymore.

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