The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley
Synopsis: An orphan is taken into a foreign land and discovers she has magical gifts. She must learn to use these gifts to prevent a dark sorcerer from invading her new home.
Brief Book Review: This is the stereotypical fantasy story template. It’s good for people who are new to the genre and haven’t been exposed to its tropes yet, but there isn’t anything new for those who’ve been reading SF/F for any amount of time. The characters are vibrant and the world feels rich, especially in the British areas. However the climax is abysmal. It turns out that 98% of the book didn’t even need to happen, and all the hero’s striving thus far has been filler. Seriously, it was bad enough that I just skimmed the rest of the book afterwards. It’s akin to Luke Skywalker training in the Force, making allies, saving the Princess, learning to wield a lightsaber, and as the final battle approaches and he’s climbing into his X-Wing he sees a button that says “Press here to win”, and upon pressing it the Death Star blows up and the Empire is overthrown. Why did we even bother? Not recommended.
Club Review: This will be short, because there’s little substance to the book. It can be fun identifying all the tropes we’ve come to know and love, finding the similarities to Star Wars or Harry Potter or other classics. And perhaps the white-washing of British Colonialism could spark some discussion. But it’s such a light book that there’s not much to chew over. Not recommended.