The Hero and the Crown Author:Robin McKinley From childhood, Aerin had been haunted by the story of her mother-a "witchwoman" who enspelled the king and then died in childbirth, leaving behind a newborn daughter and an heirless land. Left to her own devices, Aerin grew up wild, doing her best to live up to her reputation as the disappointment of the realm. But little did the young princess... more » know the long-dormant powers of her mother would wield their own destiny, and leave Aerin with a duty to her scornful homeland that she couldn't refuse.« less
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The companion novel to The Blue Sword, The Hero and the Crown was/is one of my favorite fantasy novels as a teenager because it featured a girl as the protaganist and her "coming-of-age"-type saga as she teaches herself the skills she needs to become the heroine of her land. All of Robin McKinley books are awesome, but this one holds a special place in my heart.