The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley

This book was recommended to me based on my love of Tamora Pierce, and, for the most part, it did not disappoint. Young Harry, a tall, athletic, intelligent girl, is shipped off to join her brother at a border outpost after the death of their father. She soon falls in love with the desert in which she finds herself, and finds herself an increasingly important part of the culture of the natives there. There is magic, swordfights, warhorses, and the omnipresent threat from the North; everything a good coming of age book for the young tom boy requires.

The writing is generally very good, readable and engaging, perhaps a bit more sophisticated than Pierce's writing. My only complaint was the odd chronological structure, which could have used an editor's heavy hand. The pattern seems to be that a section/chapter starts out with "Two days later...", then bends back around to describe what happened in those two days. It would have made far more sense to just write the story in the correct order without these random future-past asides. Section breaks could also have been used more liberally, as sometimes paragraphs do not flow into each other altogether naturally.

But in general, I very much enjoyed this book, and will keep it in my permanent collection for future rereadings.


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