The Hero and the Crown – Book Review

5 out of 5 stars

If I had a daughter, this is the book I would introduce to her the fantasy genre with. There are no preconceived notions of gender here. The main character, Aerin, is never told once that she cannot do something because she is a woman. Not by her father, not by any love interests and not by any of the people in her kingdom.

You see Aerin is a princess. Her father is a beloved king who fell in love with a woman from the wrong side of the tracks. This is the main reason that Aerin gets any grief whatsoever about who she is. The people of her kingdom don’t trust a woman with witch blood in her veins. To them, it is this blood that stunts her from coming into her true power. Royal blood begets special powers and Aerin has none. But dark times are ahead and Aerin will do whatever she can to help save her people, regardless of what they think of her.

So what’s a lass to do? First, you have your cousin train you in swords. Then, you befriend your father’s cranky former warhorse who hates everyone. Talat, was the greatest warhorse the lands had seen but a battle injury put him out to field. With time and dedication, Aerin wins his trust and love and slowly nurses him back to health. His ankle will never be the same but Aerin recognizes his limits and his dignity. They form a bond and become inseparable, Talat will quite literally walk through dragonfire for her.

Third, you crack out the herbs and set to work experimenting on a concoction that will supposedly protect the wearer from dragonfire. Fourth, you practice battling dragons on the little ones that harass the local villages, slowly changing people’s opinions of you. Of course, eventually you’ll have to have a go at the larger ones too.

That is only the tip of the iceberg of Aerin’s adventures. That is merely the process in which she begins to change her life and help the people of her kingdom.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book before with so little dialogue that was still so good. The battle scenes frequently gave me shivers. Robin McKinley knows how to write true romance, using real men and killer one liners.

The only part that I would not want my daughter to pick up on?
Cousin love.
It’s hard to avoid that in both history and epic fantasy.


3 thoughts on “The Hero and the Crown – Book Review

  1. This is already on my list so no need to add it lol. Nor is it the first Robin McKinley book I’ve had an interest in Deerskin is one of my favorite standalone novels. You should see my copy of this book. The spine has been destroyed so I’ve covered it with duct tape. THAT I would not recommend for a younger reader since something far worse than cousin love occurs D: I love RM’s writing style though. She doesn’t use a lot of dialogue in Deerskin either since the main character Lissla Lissar spends a great deal of time alone, but yeah, if you haven’t read that yet, I highly recommend it.

    I think Hero/Crown is the first in a series isn’t it? There’s another book I have on my TBR list called The Blue Sword that I think is more of Aerin’s adventures.

    1. I believe how it worked at the time, The Blue Sword was written first and then she wrote Hero as a prequel to it afterwards. I have that on my TBR list still.
      I haven’t read anything else by her yet. I have Sunshine and Spindle’s End on my shelf waiting though.
      My BFF attempted to read Deerskin and gave up, I’ll have to ask her why again because I’ve forgotten why.

      1. I have those on my list, too! Actually when I first read Deerskin I had major issues getting into it. It had been recommended to me by my BFF at the time (I was in high school), and I asked if it sped up/got more interesting, but I got more into it as I kept going. Something seriously messed up happens, and I had to keep going after that.

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