The Blue Sword

The Blue Sword

Book - 1982
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Baker & Taylor
An unforgettable heroine in an imaginary, but believable setting provides high adventure and romance


A Newbery Honor Book and a modern classic of young adult fantasy, The Blue Sword introduces the desert kingdom of Damar, where magic weaves through the blood and weaves together destinies. New York Times–bestselling and award-winning author Robin McKinley sets the standard for epic fantasy and compelling, complex heroines. Fans of Sarah J. Maas, Leigh Bardugo, and Rae Carson will delight in discovering the rich world of Damar.

Harry Crewe is a Homelander orphan girl, come to live in Damar from over the seas. She is drawn to the bleak landscape, so unlike the green hills of her Homeland. She wishes she might cross the sands and climb the dark mountains where no Homelander has ever set foot, where the last of the old Damarians, the Free Hillfolk, live.

Corlath is the golden-eyed king of the Free Hillfolk, son of the sons of the legendary Lady Aerin. When he arrives in Harry’s town to ally with the Homelanders against a common enemy, he never expects to set Harry’s destiny in motion: She will ride into battle as a King’s Rider, bearing the Blue Sword, the great mythical treasure, which no one has wielded since Lady Aerin herself.

Legends and myths, no matter how epic, no matter how magical, all begin somewhere.

Publisher: New York : Greenwillow Books, c1982
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780688009380
Branch Call Number: J FICTION MCKINLEY
Characteristics: 272 p. ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Nov 07, 2017

Robin McKinley's earlier work is a great one, but it's evident that Harimad-sol's adventure was merely a warm up to the epic tale of Aerin Firehair.

SCL_Justin Aug 03, 2017

I tend to read more science fiction than fantasy, but The Blue Sword is a good example of why I love fantasy too. There’s just a timelessness to a fantasy novel that science fiction can’t really lay claim to. Fiction about the future always has so much of the present embedded in it, but there’s nothing about The Blue Sword that lets you know it was written 30 years ago. The Hero and the Crown is the prequel to this book, but I think I’m glad I read them in internal chronological order rather than publication order.

In The Blue Sword a young woman named Harry who’s living the colonizer’s life in a land far from her home. She’s kidnapped and made a part of the Hillfolk who are trying to eke out an existence while being besieged by not-quite-human magical Northmen and her own people. She becomes the bearer of the titular sword and becomes a legend herself. There’s a sense of inevitability to the story (in a way that George RR Martin would destabilize at every turn if he were writing it) but it’s very beautifully done. It’s not Le Guin-level amazing, and I don’t think it’s as good as The Hero and the Crown, but Harry is a heroine that you can see being emulated in stuff like The Girl of Fire and Thorns and other more contemporary fantasy. I will gladly recommend it far and wide.

Chapel_Hill_SarahW Feb 25, 2017

I discovered Robin McKinley as a young adult, but haven't ready anything of hers in awhile. This was on the YF recently returned shelf and it did not disappoint. A worthy heroine, who is fierce, funny, humble, and kind; it was an adventure to follow her to the hills. Throw in an old school love story and I loved it!

Dec 26, 2013

I love this book! It is a little slow to start out but hang in there because it's totally worth it.

Sep 12, 2013

This book was fantastic! I loved the story line and the characters. It was a bit slow in the beginning, but not in a bad way. She was building up the setting and getting the reader used to where the characters live. And then there is a clash of two worlds in which the setting is completely changed. She is such a great writer - I am reading through all her books right now and am enjoying every one.

JCLEmilyW Apr 16, 2013

Our awkward young heroine Harry Crewe is swept into the magical yet realistic world of a nomadic, horse-breeding, desert-dwelling people in the land of Damar. Engaging adventures and memorable characters make this one of my favorite fantasy reads.

forbesrachel Feb 07, 2013

A strong heroine, a plot full of adventure, and an interesting world as the setting define this award winning story. My only wish was that it was longer, paced slower, and that the author took more time to describe the things happening.

A fun and interesting story. As expected of Robin Mckinely, a great book.

Aug 24, 2012

There's a reason this book often shows up on lists of best YA books of all time, and that reason is that it's amazing.

(Staff) Kyla Zerbes Jun 05, 2012

This is my favourite book of all time :) The only book I've read more than 15 times!

View All Comments


Add a Summary

FavouriteFiction Oct 29, 2009

An orphan girl named Harry Crewe is kidnapped by the Hillfolk King, Corlath. He takes her deep into his desert world where she learns the art of war discovers her hidden connection to his people.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at ELPL

To Top