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Adding My Voice
The Blue Sword
Robin McKinley
Adding my voice to the chorus of reviews, all i can say is "Me Too -- What They Said".

But i can say it a little more elaborately than that.

Robin McKinley burst on the scene with "Beauty", a wonderful retelling of "Beauty and the Beast"  - from Beauty's standpoint.

And then she gave us "The Blue Sword" -- even better, even stronger, even more compelling.

In a world that is not quite our own, orphaned Harry is heading out into the wilds of what is almost India to live with a senior officer and his wife on an outpost fort where her brother is also assigned -- a fort on the border with the mysterious (and some say magical) realm of Damar.

The opening chapters begin as a light-hearted tribute to the Regency romances of Georgette Heyer, but odd and dark elements begin to make themselves felt...

Until Harry is kidnapped by the King of Damar, acting on the prompting of the second sight that is the mark of his family line.

Travelling among her captors to the capital city of Damar, Harry finds that she seems to fit in with them, that she has odd experiences that her stout Homelander skepticism cannot explain.

And once home in Damar, The King sets one of his household men to train Harry to be a horse-back warrior in the way of their people, because his second sight and that visions that she has had since her abduction tell him that she must take a vital part in a coming war against an army of half-human changelings and demons that is poised to invade his realm.

Swashbuckling adventure in the grand manner, but often just a bit tongue-in-cheek, a wonderful read, a book to come back to again and again.

I recommend buying the library edition -- it's only a little more expensive, and it will stand up to the multiple re-readings you'll probably give it better than the paperback will.