It struck me recently that I haven’t read any of my “keeper” books in a while. Not the books that I’ve discovered in the past five years or so that I’ve read and re-read, but the books that have come with me from grade school to college to grad school and so on: The Blue Castle, Robin McKinley’s Beauty, Nine Coaches Waiting, I Capture the Castle, Trade Wind, and, of course, The Blue Sword.
So this week I revisited my old copy of The Blue Sword.
If you haven’t read The Blue Sword, it’s set in a mythical place called– depending on whom you ask– either Daria or Damar, in which the “Homelanders” (think Victorian England by another name) have set up outposts of their empire on the fringes of a desert country ruled by a mysterious king. Harry Crewe, the traditional penniless younger sister, has been shipped out there to join her brother, who is a very junior something-or-other, but finds herself being swept up in the destiny of Damar and becoming a very unlikely heroine. I love this book: for Harry’s slightly frustrated common sense, for the idea that anyone can find herself suddenly in an adventure story, and, also, for the language. It’s difficult to describe McKinley’s prose, other than to say that it’s reminiscent of fairy tales and utterly unlike any other author I’ve read. There are phrases that stick in your head– which is probably why, if you’re looking for them, you can find echoes of McKinley in my writing.
Up next, I have a pile of new books– including an advance advance advance copy of Simone St. James’s 2018 release, The Broken Girls! And, yes, I am that excited.
What have you been reading this week?