Best 1984 Adventures (5)
January 7, 2020
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1984 adventure novels.
Robin McKinley’s Damar YA fantasy adventure The Hero and the Crown.
Aerin, heroine of this prequel to The Blue Sword (1982), isn’t your usual princess. She’s considered ugly — because she’s tall, awkward, fair-skinned, redheaded; other inhabitants of Damar, a remote region of an empire called Homeland, are bronzed and black-haired. Worse, she is the only young member of the royal family whose magical Gift has never manifested. Still, her cousin Tor — who is heir to the throne — is in love with her, though she doesn’t realize it. She trains herself, secretly and stubbornly, to become a warrior; and she develops a balm that protects its user against flame — which will come in handy when she heads out, on her lame but trusty steed Talat, to kill a few of the minor dragons who’ve infested Damar. Left behind when Damar’s armed forces march to battle against their Northern neighbors, Aerin must deal with a great dragon, the dread Maur. Meanwhile, her dreams are haunted by Luthe, the pale-skinned mage of the mountains, the Edward to Tor’s Jacob. Whom will she choose?
Fun facts: Winner of the Newbery Medal. Short stories set in Damar include: “The Healer” (1982), “The Stagman” (1984), “The Stone Fey” (1998), and “A Pool in the Desert” (2004).
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