The Blue Sword

The Blue Sword  - Robin McKinley Hmm.. I read this book because Michael Moorcock mentioned it. I have to confess I am dissapointed.

The book is full of its world-building, which is okay for any High Fantasy and Epics, yet this book was supposed to be a piece of fun--pop fantasy, and it's continuous world-building is just exhausting. Furthermore, the book has some reference to the real world, as an example:

"She closed her fingers till what she suddenly felt was her brand of Cain disappeared."

Um, what's the first murderer in the world's name was doing here in this book? Isn't this supposed to be a fantasy book? In a fantasy book -- like Ursula K. Le Guin said -- language is everything. You just can't dump a reference into a character in The Bible in the middle of your book and act like its there all along. The world that the protagonist lived in was supposed to be the Homelander, and as far as I know there is no place on earth called Homelander.

Then there is Aerin, the legendary dragon-killer. She is supposed to be a heroine, but then she said something like:

"Gonturan is far older than I am, you know."

By the end of the book, I really hate that word "you know."

Then there is the evil barbarian horde, the Northerners, who seems like human but not human (Orcs, maybe?). The Northerners are barbarians divided in small tribes, until a man, or half-man half-beast, I don't really care, arise and become their leader. The name of the man/abomination/magician barbarian is Thurra Sauronson (oops!) This is Harry's nemesis, and she needs to somehow defeat him.

In the end... well, I don't want to spoil the end now, do I? I can promise though, that the end is unthinkable to me (surprise!)

True, there is the strong female protagonist who is thoughtful and strong (too strong perhaps, that she could overpower so many other warriors throughout the book by training for six weeks only). True, the desert landscape, the descriptions of many floras and faunas, and the beautiful castle with fountains are a joy in fantasy, but unfortunately that's all there is in this book.

Oh, yes there is the magical Gift, a strange and mysterious power in the blood of the Hillfolk, but what does that magic do? Commanding the king to kidnap a girl, and that's all. The Gift does not present itself again for the next hundred pages (except when the King showed Harry the fourth way to create fire, which was, in my point of view, very ridiculous and unimportant.)

To sum it up, this book promises a wonderful adventure, but completely failed in delivering it.

I guess it's my fault too, I was expecting something wonderful (I've just read the Tombs of Atuan before this book, so pardon me for the high expectations.)