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The Blue Sword | [Robin McKinley]

The Blue Sword

Harry Crewe, the Homelander orphan girl, is pleased with her new home. Life in Istan is certainly easy, but a voice in her ear whispers that the home of her heart is among the Hillfolk, among the descendants of Lady Aerin, who once wielded Gonturan, the Blue Sword.
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Publisher's Summary

Harry Crewe, the Homelander orphan girl, is pleased with her new home. Life in Istan is certainly easy, but a voice in her ear whispers that the home of her heart is among the Hillfolk, among the descendants of Lady Aerin, who once wielded Gonturan, the Blue Sword.

©1982 Robin McKinley (P)1992 Recorded Books

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (251 )
5 star
 (150)
4 star
 (66)
3 star
 (21)
2 star
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1 star
 (5)
Overall
4.7 (226 )
5 star
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3 star
 (11)
2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (215 )
5 star
 (95)
4 star
 (68)
3 star
 (33)
2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Carol 07-27-13
    Carol 07-27-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    221
    ratings
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    310
    28
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    "Groundbreaking, interestingly dated, & odd"

    In 1982, when this book was published, I loved it without reservations. It broke new ground mixing magic and alternate history, it had a capable, self-aware heroine, and it built an exotically evocative, engaging, and appealing world.

    Thirty-one years later, listening to Diane Warren's excellent performance, I realized that all those things are still true--but there's more to it. Time has brought some disturbing threads and nuances to the surface of the story, as a whole body of other works grew up following in this one's footsteps, and as capable, self-aware heroines became normal instead of oddities. Noticing those disturbing threads adds richness and complexity that, if anything, reinforces simple enjoyment of the story.

    To write this book with this heroine and this plot, McKinley had to fight her way out of confining cultural expectations and stereotypes. She succeeded amazingly well--but the lingering strands of those expectations and stereotypes still show. They certainly don't undermine the book's quality or the importance of what McKinley accomplished, but they do add a kind of fey light that casts odd shadows (rather like the heroine's dual vision in the story itself). The book, caught at the hinge of a literary turning point, is, honestly, rather odd.

    In some ways, this is a book about possession. The main characters perform brave, unexpected, history-changing deeds--but usually when they perform them, their will and choice is compromised by being under the influence-compulsion-control of another force. In some ways, it's a book about abduction. The main character is kidnapped, and although McKinley carefully foreshadows and justifies the character's change of allegiance, there are still queasy echoes of the Stockholm syndrome in the shift of her loyalty and affection.

    Ultimately, it's a tribute to McKinley's accomplishment that even today the book succeeds on its own terms despite the overtones that were invisible (though powerful) more than thirty years ago. One believes in the romance. One cheers the shift in allegiance. The possession is more enviable than creepy.

    This isn't a simple book, but it's certainly an interesting, enjoyable, and worthwhile book to listen to.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer La Grande, OR, United States 01-23-13
    Kindle Customer La Grande, OR, United States 01-23-13 Member Since 2014

    Addicted to books, especially audiobooks. Read lots and prosper!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    126
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    876
    31
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    18
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    "The BEST ever YA"

    This has been a favorite young adult novel for over 20 years! I'm so happy to have it on my iPod now! Yay me!! The story is still excellent and satisfies many levels of story telling - who doesn't like war horses, swords and kings, challenges, magic and legends. If you love grounded fantasy and horses and magic swords then this will be a sure win. The narrator has a nice voice, pleasant to the ear.

    Enjoy.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Aurora, CO, United States 02-11-13
    Amazon Customer Aurora, CO, United States 02-11-13 Member Since 2007

    shadskitty

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    "Now, Improved Audio Quality!"

    This has been one of my favorite books for a long time, so I was delighted to get it as an Audible book. However, when I first downloaded it, the recording quality was awful. I contacted Audible, and they fixed it! All I had to do was delete my copy and download again and now it works great. So, if you previously bought this book with the recording errors, try again now, I think you'll be as pleased as I am.

    As for the story, it's the story of Harry Crewe. When her father dies, is sent overseas to the care of her brother whom she has not spent time with in years and to the household of a childless couple. In her new country, she is drawn to the native people and their ways without knowing why. She finds herself thrown into entirely unanticipated adventures with equally unexpected joys and struggles. If you like this book, you should also look into the Hero and the Crown, which is a related story.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeanne Kirkland, WA, United States 03-20-13
    Jeanne Kirkland, WA, United States 03-20-13

    Learned to read at 3; any day I can't read at least 1 book is a day wasted. I earn my living with words as well (word processing/editing).

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    3
    3
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    "Great story, good narrator, poor recording quality"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I loved the book and would think that anyone, YA or adult, who likes fantasy would enjoy it as well.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I don't think I can select just one scene as a favorite; I liked the entire book.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Blue Sword?

    None.


    Any additional comments?

    I have hoped for an Audible recording of this book, but I was very disappointed (along with most of the other reviewers) with the quality of the recording (pops and skips, etc.); I persevered because I do love this book, and parts were of better quality. However, overall it was a disappointment because of that problem.

    Should it be recorded again (and I have NO problem with the reader, as Diane Warren did a great job!!), I would be interested in listening to this again.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Whitney 05-12-14
    Whitney 05-12-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    4
    1
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    0
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    "Works better for reading, not listening"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Recently, I've begun listening audio versions of favorite novels to help me with a long commute to/from my job. The Blue Sword is the novel I read and re-read the most in my teen years, so I was excited to see an audio book existed. I began listening to it with childlike glee, only to stop listening after a few chapters.

    For most titles, I have found the audio book experience only increases my already profound love for whichever novel I'm listening to. The Blue Sword, however, does not translate well to audio book for me.

    For one, the back-and-forth between character thoughts, back story, and narrator description that worked well on the page instead interrupt the listening experience so that I find myself having to consciously remind myself of what's going on. Add the back-and-forth with a vocal performance that slows down the pace of an already slowish beginning, I find I cannot make it past the first few chapters of the audiobook.

    For this one, I'll return to the old dogeared pages.


    What three words best describe Diane Warren’s voice?

    Soft, slow, invariable


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Dawson 04-21-15
    B. Dawson 04-21-15 Member Since 2005
    ratings
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    3
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    Story
    "Wonderful!"

    My favorite book since childhood was narrated beautifully and it is just as enchanting as an audio book as it was the first time I read it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele Cummins 04-05-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    1
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    "Great story well narrated"

    Has adventure, light character development, light magic, some humor, mythical countries, sword fights, light romance, pleasure of friendship and family - this sounds light weight, but taken as a whole, it is engrossing and engaging.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Evans Atlanta, GA USA 04-02-15
    D. Evans Atlanta, GA USA 04-02-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    Story
    "My favorite book as a teenager"

    if you're looking for a strong yet unsure female lead character i recommend. i read this as a teenager. it's not like today's female characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MEL 03-21-15
    MEL 03-21-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    6
    3
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    Story
    "Great story adequate narration"

    Really enjoyed the story but felt that the narrator while a clear reader did not draw me into the story. She was very peaceful though. I also think the recording was not as good quality as it could have been. The White noise was very noticeable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Riverside, CA, United States 03-11-15
    Steve Riverside, CA, United States 03-11-15 Member Since 2011

    steamvent

    HELPFUL VOTES
    30
    ratings
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    60
    19
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    0
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    "Nicely done"

    I have listened to this book four times now. It's quite enjoyable.
    The reader is OK, not great. She puts odd pauses in. I wouldn't let that stop you though.
    Recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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