Posted by: Ms. Matson | May 6, 2009

The Hero and the Crown

The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinleyhero and the crown
1984.  Greenwillow Books, New York
1985 Newberry Medal winner
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Fairy Tale
Ages: 7th grade up  AR level 7

The Hero and the Crown is the story of Aerin, daughter of Arlbeth, King of Damar.  Despised by much of the royalty because of the mysterious origins of her mother, Airen seeks to carve a place for herself in her world.  She befriends and heals a lame warhorse, Talat.  Together they battle dragons and discover the truth of Airen’s ancestry, which leads to both heartache and triumph.

McKinley has crafted a wonderful tale that spans years and explores the spectrum of emotions.  Airen’s perseverance, resilience, and courage in the face of constant obstacles are a model for any young reader.  Her language is vivid and full of captivating imagery.  This book is strong in its heroic storytelling.  However, its romance falls short.  For half the book one is looking for Airen to show some reciprocation of Tor’s feelings for her, but the best the reader gets is a few sentences about her realization that she has always loved him romantically.  The other love interest, while receiving fewer pages than Tor, is more fully developed as mutual.  McKinley would have done better to give more description of Airen’s romances.

Overall a good read, but I was less enthusiastic about the story at the end than I was at the beginning.



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