It’s hard to believe that it’s been a week and a half since I participated in the Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon! During those 24 hours, I had the opportunity to read a lot of great books, and I’ve really enjoyed sharing those titles with you since the Readathon ended. This morning, I wanted to review the last book that I finished during the Readathon, Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword.

The Blue Sword tells the story of a young woman named Harry Crew. After the death of her father, she moves to the country of Damar to live with Sir Charles Greenough and his wife, who have kindly agreed to take her in as a favor to her brother, Richard.

Not long after settling in to her new home, the king of the Hillfolk, a man named Corlath, comes to Sir Charles’s home to persuade him to help his people stop an approaching army of Northerners. Sir Charles refuses to help, and Corlath leaves, furious with the Outlander’s decision, but not overly surprised. It is during his departure that he first sees Harry. Driven by a strange magic his people call a Gift, Corlath returns late at night and abducts Harry, taking her into the desert to live among his people. As she learns more about the Hillfolk, Harry begins to discover her own Gift, which could help Corlath’s people in their fight against the Northerners.

I’ve loved The Blue Sword ever since the first time I read it as a teenager, but it had been a very long time since I last read it. When I picked up this title during the Readathon, I was surprised by how much of the plot I had forgotten, and I was really glad that I chose to read it again.

This is a wonderful book for anyone who enjoys fantasy books with strong female characters, and is a great option for readers who are looking for titles to fulfill 2020 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge prompts. It could easily fulfill any of the following prompts: “a book that passes the Bechdel test,” “a book by an author with flora or fauna in their name,” “a book with at least a four-star rating on Goodreads,” “a book with a made-up language,” “a book with a three-word title,” and “a book published in the 20th Century.”

Prior to reading, it is important to know that this book does contain references to characters and situations from one of Robin McKinley’s other novels, The Hero and the Crown. While you might enjoy reading that book prior to The Blue Sword, it’s not actually necessary to have read it in order to follow the plot of this book. Even though The Blue Sword takes place after the events of The Hero and the Crown in the chronology of the series, it was actually published first, and can easily be read as a standalone novel.

If you have the chance to read The Blue Sword, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!

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