The Blue Sword  - Robin McKinley I missed my “Robin McKinley window” by about thirty years. If I had had the good fortune to come across this novel when I was fourteen, I’m sure I would have sought out more of her work and enjoyed them to the same extent as I enjoyed authors such as Andre Norton or Lloyd Alexander (whom I did have the luck to meet around this time in my life). As it happens, I’m too experienced a reader (and, mayhap, too cynical?) to fully appreciate the spirit in which the book is written. There were too many niggling “off” things for me to immerse myself, and chief among them was the heroine, Harry, who never became sufficiently “real” enough for me to care for her.

But I don’t want to come down on McKinley too harshly or suggest that this isn’t a good book. In fact, I’m including it (and its sequel, The Hero and the Crown) in my nieces’ Xmas care package this year because I think they’d enjoy it. (And, I’m happy to say, I’m enjoying the aforementioned sequel much more than The Blue Sword, the reasons for which I’ll elaborate on in my review of that work when I’m finished.)

Recommended? Yes, though not for middle-aged, curmudgeonly sticks in the mud.