A Robin McKinley Collection Author:Robin McKinley Robin McKinley is best known for her tales about the mythical land of Damar, and the occasional retelling of time-honored fairy tales. This collection includes both -- the stories about Damar, "The Hero and the Crown" and "The Blue Sword," and Sleeping Beauty with a twist in "Spindle's End." — "The Blue Swor... more »d" introduces us to Harry (Angharad) Crewe, a bored, rather plain young woman in the remote colony of Daria. That changes when she encounters Corlath, the golden-eyed Hill-King of Damar, and the powerful young man realizes that she is a part of his future. So he kidnaps her, and Hary soon begins experiencing visions of the hero queen of Damar, Aerin -- and those visions will lead her to her destiny.
"The Hero and the Crown" is the story of Aerin, the daughter of a king and a witch -- allowed to remain, but never accepted. Despite this, she yearns to be a hero, and her discovery of a fireproofing agent gives her the chance to be one. After slaying the Black Dragon, an ancient monster, Aerin pays a price and must go to the mysterious wizard Luthe for help -- only to find herself embroiled in a battle against a dangerous foe.
"Spindle's End" takes readers to a lighter place. Princess Rosie is under a curse put on her by an evil fairy: on her 21st birthday, she will prick her finger on a spindle and die. In an effort to save her, Rosie is given to matter-of-fact good fairy Katriona, and grows up as a strong, independent girl who can speak to animals (a remarkably well-done touch) and assists a blacksmith. Needless to say, things get complex as the deadline for the curse approaches ...« less
I love these books. "The Hero and The Crown" is related to "The Blue Sword", but the stories can be read in either order and one does not require knowledge of the other. "Spindle's End" seems to give a nod to "Deerskin" (another McKinley book for adults) when they mention the country of the queen's origin.
All three are suitable for young readers, but also fun for adults. I love her twist on Sleeping Beauty. If you like Spindle's End also check out her two versions of Beauty and the Beast - "Beauty" and "Rose Daughter".
The Hero and the Crown is more of an up and down adventure than The Blue Sword.