Wonderful, Wonderful Story. Strong Can Do Girl! Loved it!
This a wonderful book and one of my favorites. It's fantasy and adventure in away you can believe, and just a pinch of romance to make it complete it all. Overall, it's a good read for when you've nothing better to do.
Harry Crewe is an orphan girl who comes to live in Damar, the desert country shared by the Homelanders and the secretive, magical Free Hillfolk. When Corlath, the Hillfolk King, sees her for the first time, he is shaken - for he can tell that she is something more than she appears to be. He will soon realize what Harry has never guessed: She is to become Harimad-sol, King's Rider, and carry the Blue Sword, Gonturan, which no woman has wielded since the legendary Lady Aerin, generations past...
** I've actually never read this book, so my rating of 5 is average by default **
I love this book. I haven't read it for many years, but it called to me for a reread. Harry has come to Damar after her father's death to be with her brother. There is something about the land that draws her like nothing else ever has. When Corlath, king of the Hillfolk, comes to Istan to warn of a threat to all of them there is something about him that speaks to her also. After his warnings are ignored, Corlath leaves, but returns in the dark of night to steal Harry away, as his powers demand. This begins a journey for Harry that opens up a whole new world and way of life to her.
I absolutely love both Harry and Corlath. Harry is miserably unhappy in the Homelander settlement. She is used to being able to do things and her life is now very restricted. She also doesn't feel like she really fits in anywhere. She finds a couple people there that seem to feel the same way about Damar that she does, that see the beauty of that land. When Corlath kidnaps her, she doesn't understand why. She also feels like she doesn't fit in there, as she is mostly ignored at first. When the magic of the Hillfolk finds her, Corlath starts to soften toward her and begins to understand why he was called to take her. His elite guard, the Riders, begin to accept her when they see that she possesses the same magic the king does. Then Corlath has one of the Riders begin to train her as a female warrior. Her journey through the fear of her kidnapping, the culture shock of her training, then her melding of her two worlds is an incredible story of growth. It is not easy for her. We see the difficulty of her training, the culmination of that training, and then the decisions she has to make along the way.
Corlath is a man with an impossible job. He has a very small kingdom that is being threatened by a less than human foe. His attempts at getting some help fail, but his powers require him to steal away the Outlander girl without telling him why. Their initial days together are rough because he doesn't want her there and she can tell. But when her visions make it obvious that she will play an important role, Corlath takes steps to make sure she is ready. I loved the way that Harry eventually takes to the training, though it is difficult at first. We also see her discomfort with the way everyone seems to be counting on her, though she is determined to do her best. She also has no trouble standing up to Corlath and trying to make him see what she tries to tell him. She wrestles with her decision on what she has to do, but ultimately does what she feels is right.
The characters in this book are so well done that they feel absolutely real to me. I can feel their torment and their happiness and I can't help rooting for them, even when I know what will happen. My favorite part in the entire book is Harry's reappearance at the Outlander fort. I also love her training sessions and her return to Corlath at the end. I highly recommend this book and its prequel The Hero and the Crown to everyone, but especially those looking for strong female role models for girls.