Retro-Review: The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

It’s weird reviewing a book you fell in love with when you were around 11 or 12. Even weirder that when I re-read this book a couple years back, I didn’t write much of a review. I still loved the book, though, but I just couldn’t bring myself to stop gushing over how great Aeryn is and how fabulous this book was, not only as a near-perfect representation of badass women, but hot damn, this story.


by Robin McKinley
HarperCollins, 1984
High fantasy
Rated: cookieratingcookieratingcookieratingcookieratingcookierating / 5 cookies

herocrownAerin could not remember a time when she had not known the story; she had grown up knowing it.

It was the story of her mother, the witchwoman who enspelled the king into marrying her, to get an heir that would rule Damar; and it was told that she turned her face to the wall and died of despair when she found she had borne a daughter instead of a son.

Aerin was that daughter.

But there was more of the story yet to be told; Aerin’s destiny was greater than even she had dreamed–for she was to be the true hero who would wield the power of the Blue Sword…

Gifly Thoughts

The Hero and the Crown was a gem of a book I’d encountered in elementary school, wedged into a corner of the library, right beside a story of another fabulous fiery-haired female (Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce). Honestly, I couldn’t tell you which book I’d read first, but I do know that I’d borrowed them both at the same time.

Then I read them and I was just all:


Well, something like that.

What I really did was along the lines of taking out more books and hoping that there would be more females in the stories that could hold a candle to Alanna and Aeryn. That there’d be more females that could slay dragons and have adventures and come home to a fella who’d treat them the way they should be treated: like a goddamn equal.

All the same, The Hero and the Crown rocked it. It had a protagonist who pushed the boundaries during a time period that saw her as a supposedly dainty female who’s not even considered the next ruler of her father’s kingdom. That right seemed to be reserved to her male friend; though I have no complaints against Tor (none at all, I actually adore him!) as a person.

The book had an excellent adventure story. It had a romance for the ages, though to be honest I never got ’round to liking the magical male lover, since I shipped Aeryn/Tor even as I laughed at how oblivious Aeryn was to love and such nonsense. There was a scene in the first part of the book where Tor gives her a smooch, and she pretty much hurries off to play chemist with her dragon ointment. Super oblivious–and admittedly–kind of lovable, that Aeryn.

All in all, there’s not much else to be said. I’ve since loved McKinley’s books, and with The Hero and the Crown being my first McKinley, it certainly garners a special place in my list of favorites.

4 thoughts on “Retro-Review: The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

    1. Haha. Yeah. The Robin McKinley books on your list gave me an excuse to reread the Damar books. I have The Blue Sword on my reread list, but I should totally count it as a first-read; it’s been over a decade since I’ve actually read it!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.