Thursday, May 27, 2021

Fumbling Through Fantasy: The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley (1984)

The Hero and The Crown is a 1984 fantasy novel starring Aerin, the daughter (and only child) of the king of Damar, who is not allowed to inherit the throne due to the dubious magical roots of her late mother, who died during childbirth. Alienated from the royal family, Aerin discovers instead her capabilities as a dragon slayer, and she begins training to defeat a dragon that often torments the people of Damar. Through her unique approach to killing dragons, Aerin fulfills her true destiny. 

I put off reading this book for a long time because of how much I typically struggle to understand let alone enjoy the fantasy genre. I finally listened on audio, hoping that listening would help me get into the story better. At first it was successful. All the family connections and disconnections were intriguing to me, and I was invested in Aerin's desire to win over the people of Damar and to gain her father's pride and approval. 

Halfway through the book, though, the fantasy elements really ramped up, and I got lost. I was weirded out by the magical romance storyline with the semi-immortal Luthe (which shocked me by turning sexual), and I was completely confused by all the scenes involving him. I went from thinking my oldest  daughter might like this book in a couple of years to telling my husband no child of mine is reading it on my watch. 

I read The Hero and the Crown solely because it's a Newbery winner and I wanted to cross it off my list of unread Newbery books. It would have been nice to enjoy the story, too, but I'm okay with the fact that a book in a genre I already dislike didn't work for me. If you are a fantasy reader, your mileage may vary. 

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