|The Hero and the Crown
Aerin is mentioned over and over again in The Blue Sword as Harry learns to wield her predecessor’s weapon. This is Aerin’s tale, set many years before the happenings in The Blue Sword to which it is a prequel. Aerin is the unloved and unlovely daughter of a king. She lacks her cousin’s beauty and grace, but she also lacks her malice. She is looked at askance because her mother, the witch woman, bewitched the king and then died bearing him a daughter instead of a son. She doesn’t seem to have inherited her mother’s magic, however, she doesn’t even have the requisite gifts of the royal line. No wonder that she is not heir to her father’s kingdom even if they would have overlooked her sex.
Aerin is more than a princess, though. If you’ve read The Blue Sword, you know that she is destined to be a great hero (it’s in the title of the book, after all) and hero she is. I love that the book isn’t called the Heroine and the Crown, by the way. That’s very progressive for the 80s. I didn’t love this book like I did The Blue Sword. The pacing is weird and the story line wanders for a long time. It reminds me a little of Mary Stewart’s first Merlin book in that way. It’s hard to tell a compelling story that starts in childhood and continues into adulthood. The book has a tendency to meander from the point because of that.
There are few surprises in store. Aerin is a hero. She gets the Blue Sword. She does something heroic related to the crown, also from the title. Still, it’s well-written. I just wanted more of a comeuppance for the cousin and other doubters. I also didn’t much care for the ambiguous romantic subplot. It’s a solid book, but not a favorite.
Four wandering stars.