Home    Subscribe    Write for Us    FAQ    Contact    HubGarden    Login

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

by Felicity Banks (follow)
My book and short stories are available at www.smashwords.com/profile/view/LouiseCurtis
Fiction (334)      Young Adult (88)      Fantasy (66)      Crossover (15)     
Image from Amazon


I first read this book – oh, many years ago now – and it stayed in my head all this time. About a month ago I remembered the author’s name and how much I loved the book, and I ordered a bunch of her stuff from the library, which I’ve been voraciously reading ever since.

McKinley is the absolute queen of exposition: no-one does it like she does. I often get fifty (or a hundred, or two hundred) pages in and suddenly realise three things: Most of the book has been exposition. . . almost nothing has happened. . . and I’m hooked.

If you want to know how good exposition is done, read a McKinley – any McKinley. But just don’t imitate the sheer amount of exposition she does: you’ll never get published. (And don’t read Pegasus– it is a genuinely poor book, and ends on a cliffhanger.)

The thing that haunted me most about The Blue Sword was the main character – there are so many reasons to care what happens to her, but most of all she is simply interesting. I loved reading (and re-reading) about the cultural clash between her and the Damarians – mostly because both sides are trying, with all the goodwill (and self-aware intelligence, which is as rare in literature as it is in real life) in the world to understand one another.

It is fantasy adventure – the good kind of fantasy, in which the focus is on what the characters actually work hard to do. The worlds are well-realised and excellently contrasting (given my love for Sabriel, this is clearly something I particularly enjoy). McKinley’s books are oddly gentle – although there are true, inhuman enemies, most of the experience of reading is about reaching an understanding and growing as a person. Which sounds boring – it isn’t. But it’s definitely a signature of McKinley’s work (that, and exposition!)

Free sample (opening paragraph):

She scowled at her glass of orange juice. To think that she had been delighted when she first arrived here – was it only three months ago? – with the prospect of fresh orange juice every day. But she had been eager to be delighted; this was to be her home, and she wanted badly to like it, to be grateful for it – to behave well, to make her brother proud of her and Sir Charles and Lady Amelia pleased with their generosity.

Rating: PG mild violence

**Rating: ★★★★★
**Published: 1982

#Fiction
#Fantasy
#Young Adult
#Crossover
I like this Article - 1
More Articles by Felicity Banks
view all articles by Felicity Banks
Articles by Felicity Banks on Other Hubs
ID: 35746
[ Submit a Comment ]
Trending Articles
Categories
Fiction (334)
Question (175)
Writing (22)
Comics (44)
Poetry (16)
Essay (8)
Humour (72)
Fantasy (66)
Romance (25)
Lesbian (15)
LGBT (13)
Zombies (10)
Sex (2)
Gay (2)
Food (2)
Myth (1)
Action (1)
Featured on Other Hubs
 
Copyright 2012-2017 On Topic Media PTY LTD. ABN 18113479226. mobile version