Aerin is the only child of the king of Damar, and should be his rightful heir. But she is also the daughter of a witchwoman of the North, who died when she was born, and the Damarians cannot trust her.
But Aerin's destiny is greater than her father's people know, for it leads her to battle with Maur, the Black Dragon, and into the wilder Damarian Hills, where she meets the wizard Luthe. It is he who at last tells her the truth about her mother, and he also gives over to her hand the Blue Sword, Gonturan. But such gifts as these bear a great price, a price Aerin only begins to realize when she faces the evil mage, Agsded, who has seized the Hero's Crown, greatest treasure and secret strength of Damar.
Thank you @HauntedOrchid for picking this from my TBR pile for me to read when I was stuck. I am so glad you did!
I have read a few of Robin McKinley’s books and thoroughly enjoyed hem. My favourite being The Blue Sword – that is set hundreds of years after this one I believe.
But, back to the Hero and the Crown.
I really enjoyed this. I love books that deal with dragons, especially ones where the people of the story make friends with them…yeah, don’t read this if you are looking for nice and fluffy human/flying reptilian relations. Because I am afraid you won’t get it I’m afraid. And despite that being the factor that attracts me to other books the idea that the opposite was true for this book was actually the bit that I liked – I know there’s just no pleasing some people is there.
Aerin is a proper dragon slayer who goes out and does some dragon head chopping. This was great because she was a) a woman and b)a member of the royal family. But since she knew she could do it without much injury from the fire breathing part (thanks to the ingredients to a cream type stuff that she found) she went out and gave it a try.
One of the things that I found the saddest about this was that Aerin never feel like she fits in. She is of royal blood and yet she does not have the ‘gift’ – magical powers – that are inherent to the line (or so they think) so she spends most of her life being picked on by her cousins. And she does not even feel at home with the regular people because it was thought that her mother was a witch and enchanted her father into marrying her so she is viewed with suspicion wherever she goes and pretty much just tolerated.
The main character in this book that I had an issue with was her father (this is getting to be a bit of a habit for me isn’t it) he was a weak, idiot, stupid and sometimes unfeeling man. He could have put everything right where Aerin was concerned. Had the royal family treat her with respect and put straight the rumours flying round. But he didn’t. And because of this, people felt like they could continue to treat Aerin the way they were without any consequences.
So, sorry dad but you are a prat!
Favourite character was Talat the horse. He was such a character. Sorry, no magical speaking abilities or anything along those lines, he was just a normal horse. But Robin McKinley has such a way of painting the character, describing actions and putting words into their mouth that I couldn’t help but love him. His actions made me smile more than once.
The ending was a little wishy washy I thought and I couldn’t help but wish it was a bit more concrete (or even a sequel that dealt with Aerin – but right now there isn’t ). But there were some pretty interesting twists and turns that kept me reading.
Absolutely worth a read I think.