Review: The Hero and the Crown

Posted: 04/07/2015 in book reviews, books
Tags: , , ,

The Hero and the Crown
The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Content warnings: girl on girl hate, being different makes you outcast, mentions of violence, death, war

I think this book would have appealed to child me. And would have made me feel less outcast in my family had I read it (even though most of Aerin’s outcast-ness is A LOT different than mine was). Galanna and her husband made me sick. Like physically made my stomach very not happy. I have no tolerance for people like them. Especially having dealt with them most of my life.

And Galanna hating on Aerin for the stupidest reason ever. I just……I’m really tired of girl a hating girl b because girl b has the attention of the boy girl a wants and nothing girl a can/will do will get boys attention. I know this book was written years ago (before I was born if I’m not mistaken *checks* yeah, the year before I was born).

However, despite that, this is a very forward, feminist type children’s book. Yeah it’s children’s literature. But it’s good. It’s a nice fantasy world. That has a female led character that is either white passing or just very light skinned (which would still be considered white passing since she mentions everyone else is the colour of cinnamon).

Not only does she not let the fact that she is female hold her back from learning things she wants to learn (and I love that she found someone to actually teach her the basics of most of what she wants to learn) but she also figures out some basic herb work that no one else has been able to figure out, defeats her uncle, learns more about her mother than anyone at home was willing to tell her, slays dragons, almost dies but comes back to life as more immortal than mortal (but can still be killed), goes off on an adventure while practically dying, AND finds herself (and then becomes queen in the process and helps her people win the war they find themselves in). Oh and it’s heavily alluded to the fact that she actually has sex. In the “if we sleep next to each other again tonight there’s not going to be a lot of sleeping going on” sense (and that’s almost a direct quote and her response I believe is a kiss and to snuggle up to him and the next scene is the next day or something like that).

So, we have a white passing female lead who winds up being adventure-warrior woman and has her own sexual agency. That’s pretty impressive in a children’s fantasy book written in 1984 (considering how many fantasy books written in the 90s and 00s to today still shy around topics like that).

I’m pretty pleased with this book. And I refuse to read Aerin as white. Since her father is dark skinned but her mother was light skinned she’s not white. She’s mixed and just takes more after her mother than father in terms of skin colour (and hair/eye colour too which I LOVE how her hair is described and that furthers my belief that she’s not white because white people’s hair does NOT have that texture without being mixed with something else).

I don’t particularly like the whole line of Luthe’s where when she asks why he’s teaching her the things he’s teaching he tells her that some of it is because she’s earned the right to be told. Like he wouldn’t tell her if she didn’t arbitrarily earn that right.

And defeating her uncle. First I was confused as to how this plant’s leaves that everyone thinks only royals can touch/eat without dying (even though that’s not the case) miraculously killed him. But then after it was explained what the red stone was it was that “OOOOOHHHHHHHHHHH NOW I GET IT!” moment. And I’m glad that was explained cause that would be something I’d get irritated about not being explained.

The world building was beautifully done, the way she made friends with the stubborn old war horse (that I grew excessively attached to as the story went on) was beautifully done, and for the most part I really enjoyed the story. I’m excited for reading the rest of the series.

Buy it here:

Amazon|Barnes & Noble

  1. […] McKinley) Content warnings for the series:mentions of violence, heterosexual romance The Hero and the Crown Content warnings: girl on girl hate, being different makes you outcast, mentions of violence, […]


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