Summary: I love fantasy novels with strong female characters, and The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley definitely fits that description. This Newbery Honor book is an inventive and interesting adventure with characters that are well fleshed out and sympathetic.
Harry Crewe is an orphan who is left in the care of her older brother, Richard, a soldier in the Homeland military. When he brings her to Damar, a desert frontier area, to live with Lady Amelia and Sir Charles, she is relieved and intrigued by this new land, much different from the lushness of Home. Damar is an area held in an uneasy truce with the Free Hillfolk, a secretive group who, it is rumored, have magic that the people of Home do not understand.
Corlath is the king of the Hillfolk. When he comes to the Outlander outpost to seek assistance against in impending attack from the savage armies of the North, he is angered by the response he receives. He is also stunned by his first sight of Harry; his kelar, his magic, tell him that this girl is important. She will become Harimad-Sol, bearer of the Blue Sword which has lain unused for generations.
Harry doesn’t know why Corlath has taken her from her home in the night and brought her out into the desert. But once she begins to understand the ways of the Hillfolk and to feel the pull of her own kelar, she realizes that she is as much a part of the desert as those who have roamed its dunes all their lives. Can she accomplish a seemingly impossible task and save her people, both Hillfolk and Outlander, from the coming army which seeks nothing less than total destruction?
10 and up
Areas of concern (content):
Foul Language: none
Nudity/Adult Content: none