It seems that the outrageous writer have had a change of heart lately: I've been rooting for adventures more than romantic dramas. Nicholas Sparks has always been my first love since A Walk to Remember, and because of that I've had greater eye on heart-binding stories instead of mind-spelling ones (that doesn't count Harry Potter of course), but maybe because of the whirling satisfaction I got from The Hobbit, on which I haven't yet moved on, my fantasies have been packed-up with uncanny creatures and enticing heroes and heroins.
BOOK-BUFF MANOMETER: 7/10
The Hero and the Crown had been bestowed with a John Newbery Medal for having a great contribution to American Literature for children.
The story revolves around the girl named Aerin, the daughter of Damar's King Arlbeth to a witch-woman, and her journey on decoding her true purpose on her kingdom and the truth (and lies) behind her true identity.
Aerin- sol (sol stands for princess) had never been seen as a full royalty by her Damarian constituents in spite the fact that she was the only heiress of their king, Arlbeth. Rumors had spread that Aerin's mother, a witch-woman from the north, had enspelled their king to bore her a son so that she may be in full control of Damar, but she died upon seeing that she gave birth to a girl rather than to a boy. Aerin's upbringing was not easy: there was Galanna, the second sol, who had always made her believe that she was a bastard on their family to the point of making her kill herself with the use of a surka plant (dangerous plant for royalties); there was the boastful Perlith, who later have married Galanna, whom like his wife, taught Aerin that she was no good; and, the clinging story about her true mother itself that made her believe everything Galanna and Perlith was telling her.
However, her father had never made her feel that she was not a part of the family. Teka, Aerin's personal maid, told her that King Arlbeth was not enspelled by her mother and was truly captivated by her good heart. There was also Thor, the first sola (sola stands for prince) who had been her childhood friend and eventually having a romantic sight over her.
One day when Aerin was still throbbed by the poison of the surka plant, she found a book on their royal library that was none of the like of those she grew up with, even though it discussed a thing she already knew: Damar's history. In the middle of the book she found a recipe of a kenet which was pertained to be the sole thing that can repel a dragon's fire.
Together with her father's aged yet still vigorous warhorse Talat, Aerin fought the dragons lurking around their city with the use of the Kenet, and thus, acquiring the title Dragon-Killer.
Along her dragon-slaying adventure, she met Luthe, a not-so-mortal family friend and found out the truth about her mother's death and her witch-man uncle, Agsded. She also have yet to regain the long-lost treasure of Damar which caused hundreds of crown-less Damarian kings and was the only key towards the defeat of the Northerners who were prodding their kingdom...
* Robin Mckinley sure has a great command of language, and this fact can best be proven on how she plays with highfalutin words yet making it understandable even for the young readers.
* The way Mckinley described the settings was really good that you can actually vividly picture even the smallest details of the places.
* The characters was stupendously stitched and presented to the point that you cannot resist to loathe some of them (especially the boastful Galanna).
* I love it how she introduced eerie yet lovable creatures such as the folstzas, a breed of cat which can carry off a whole sheep or bring down a horse and the yerigs, the shaggy wild dogs with great ruffs and silky feather legs and long curling tails which were double the size of the normal hounds.
* Maybe because of the front cover, I expected more of dragon-slaying scenes, which only came in two.
* The great dragon, Maur, or other dragon that may be greater than him, should have taken its part on the final dwell between the Damarians and the Northerners.
* I wish that Mckinley told what happened to Luthe after he parted with Aerin on the mountains.
* There was a certain dream Aerin had which was left hanging and was never answered by any part of the story.
* The story ended smoothly. Means no second installment for it...
"She had been an unusually large and awkward child who seemed able to break things simply by staying on the same room with them." - This is not quotable, I know, but I have a very strong connection with it.
"But I don't know that he and I are so unequal in the end; for as I made mistakes in ignorance, or obstinacy, he made mistakes in pride..." - Aerin-sol
"I would have asked you even if you hadn't brought the Crown back- believe me. If you'd never killed a dragon, if you broke all the dishes in the castle. If you were the daughter of a farmer. I've loved you, I've loved you- you know it., since your eighteenth birthday, but I think I've loved you all my life. I will marry no one if you'll not have me." - Thor-sola
Since the story's characters are the best thing in it (and because I doubt a producer will mind making a film out of it) I did a just casting for the story:
It was actually a battle between Emma Stone and Bonnie Wright for the slot of Aerin, since they're the best fire-headed stars in Hollywood. Needless to say, my Potterhead prevailed.
Tall. Troublesome. Clumsy. Courageous. Wait. I can be Aerin myself.