Harry Crewe is a young girl with a peculiar sense of placelessness. After she is orphaned, she comes out to the colony of Daria to be with her brother. Here, she finds her destiny – or perhaps her destiny finds her – when she is abducted by Corlath, king of the Hillfolk of Damar.
This is probably the most accessible of McKinley’s work, but her lush prose shines throughout, and there is a real sense of old-fashioned adventure as Harry is swept away into a new culture. The romance was sweet and I enjoyed the way the side characters were sketched. And the excitement of the battle and the sword is a vivid thing.
Of course, there is quite a strong sense of colonialism and the importance of blood and heritage which I did not always love, but understood within the framework of the story. It did also get a little boring how easily everything came to Harry, especially compared to how hard Aerin worked in her own book – I wish I could learn a language in a week and swordplay in six! The perks of the kelar, I suppose.
Overall, I did enjoy the prequel The Hero and the Crown better, for its greater complexity – I suspect we all come down on one side or another with these books really. But The Blue Sword is a perfectly good swash-buckling adventure all the same.