FOF Book Club: The Damar Series

For January's book club, we read The Damar series by Robin McKinley. Here's what I thought of each book!


pub Oct 1984
by Greenwillow Books 
After reading The Hero and Crown, it’s easy to see why Robin McKinley is one of those classic writers that every fantasy lover would appreciate. It’s a timeless story filled with a single girl’s determination to surpass the odds, adventure and surprisingly, laughter! Aerin has grown up with the knowledge that the kingdom believes her mother bewitched the king into marrying her with the hopes to having a son who would ruled Damar and died when she realized she had borne Aerin, a daughter, instead. Aerin has never felt like a true princess but instead of letting that hold her back, she fights to find her place and prove her worth. She does this in ways that made me admire her, root for her and laugh at her antics. Because even though she didn’t know it, she did have a greater destiny than she could’ve imagined. And in case you were wondering, there is romance too! Even though it plays an important role and I totally shipped the guy, I loved that it never once felt like a primary part of Aerin’s story. It was all about Aerin’s journey to becoming a heroine. Overall, I was impressed by the writing, the characters and how quickly I felt invested in the book. It made me doubly excited for reading The Blue Sword.

pub Oct 1982
by Greenwillow Books
Chalk it up to my reading mood or my really high expectations, but The Blue Sword fell very short for me. Don't get me wrong, I really liked the story itself! It's hard not to because like its predecessor, it follows the classic fantasy tale of a young woman's journey to becoming a heroine in her own right. Harry Crewe is at a standstill in her life. Her father has passed away and now she's living in Damar with her brother and family friends of theirs. She starts to make a life for herself but there's a clear restlessness about her. Her life changes when Corlath, the king of the magical and secretive Hillfolk kidnaps her so she can become a rider in his army. He has his reasons why (which are known to the reader and not Harry) but everything stems from his magic and what he senses in her. My main problem with the book was how the story was told overall. It was just really slow throughout, things kept happening (or new people introduced) with little to no context and I never felt as if I understood Harry. She seemed very unemotional to me at times. Like, she was kidnapped in the middle of the night and barely reacted. And there were important relationships in the book that I thought needed a little more TLC for me to feel invested (except the one she had with her mentor; loved that!). I really wanted to be swept away by The Blue Sword after reading The Hero and The Crown but unfortunately for me, that wasn't the case.

Book Club Questions
For every series we read, we'll be answering the same three questions at the end of our mini-reviews.

Favorite book | The Hero and the Crown
Favorite character | Definitely Aerin! She evoked so much emotion in me and I connected to her entire journey.
Would you read more from this author? | I would! She clearly has a talent for fantasy and writing female heroines so I'd love to read more from her.

For those of you who read the series with us, 
what did you think?

Also, make sure to check out Alexa's thoughts on the series!

1 comment

  1. I really enjoyed both of these Robin McKinley novels! Her writing style is one that simply works for me, and I LOVE when fantasies feature kickass main characters (and romances that I can ship). I think I really connected to the fact that both stories are about females who are on a transitional journey, one that's shaped by their own choices and desires even as destiny also plays a part. It's so fascinating to read about that!


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