Book Review: Hero and the Crown

The Hero and the Crown (Damar, #2)The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can’t remember the first time I read The Hero and the Crown. I want to say it was in second grade. It won the Newbery in 1985, when I was seven, so that’s around the right time. I might have been in third grade, though. In any case, I was at an age where reading books was like breathing. I went through huge swathes of books in a week, happily burrowing into a new cache from the library as soon as I got home.

I don’t have the time to reread books these days. Not typically. And somehow I’m no longer able to just binge read a series each week. Other obligations get in the way. But I had read Hero and the Crown at least four times before, and when it went on sale on Kindle the other week, I snatched up a copy for myself. My daughter’s in fourth grade, after all. And I don’t think she’s had a chance to read this book or The Blue Sword.

When I first read it, I loved a lot about the novel. The fight with the dragon was fantastic. Aerin’s struggle to recover afterward was also enthralling. I liked how it hinted at so much history that you just didn’t get to see. It felt epic to me without actually being epic. I kept returning to it, and it was always a personal favorite.

Rereading it now, it didn’t have quite the same oomph with me as it used to. Some of that could be because literature has changed in the intervening years. My tastes have also changed. Pacing. Description. Characters. This isn’t a fast read, and it has a fairy tale feel to it. Motivations aren’t always clear, and problems spring up out of nowhere at times.

I still loved the fight with the dragon, and I feel like that’s just as fantastic as it ever was.

If you haven’t read this book, I really encourage you to give it a shot. Strong female protagonist, great characters, and a pretty quick read, even with slower pacing. I gave it an 8/10 today.

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