She could not remember a time when she had not known the story; she had grown up knowing it.
Aerin is the only child of the king of Damar, yet she has never really been accepted there. The story of her mother, witchwoman who enspelled her father, has left her untrusted. Especially by the sol, the aristocracy. But slowly she finds a role and a place for herself. And in the end she is the one who becomes both inspiration and legend.
I bought this a good while ago because I’ve read a few of McKinley’s other books and enjoyed them. But the cover put me off it. My version isn’t the same as you see on this blog. Mine has a fairly generic “fantasy” feel to it. So of course the version of Aerin is dressed in a short skirt, showing off her long legs. Whatever!
But once I started to read it I soon realised that this was in fact a reread. I’d read it ages and ages ago. Back when I was a childer I borrowed it from the library. And loved it. Not too surprising really. It has a girl hero. And a cool horse. That was pretty much all I needed back then ;)
And upon reread, more than 10 if not 15 years later, its held up really really well. Sure there are one or two plot jumps that made me go, errrm okay but overall I loved it. Aerin lets a lot of things happen to her, rather than being the active hero, but she still manages to show a lot of character and her passiveness is more her way of dealing with the situation she grew up in, rather than a character flaw. And once she begins to see that there is another option she gives up her passivity and takes on that role.
A lot of the book is told in flashbacks. Memories that show how Aerin got to where she was in the opening chapter; being refused permission to accompany her father and his army to the North, being called Dragon-Killer as though it were an insult. A good beginning. And a good book.