Reading Level: Young Adult
Length: 244 pages
Publisher: Open Road Media Teen & Tween
Release Date: November 18, 2014
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Damar series
Source: eGally from NetGalley.com
Rating: 5/5 stars
I read the Hero and the Crown back in the early 90’s for the first time…the book was first released in the 80’s. Actually, I read this book many many times when I was in elementary and middle school (about 20 years ago). Open Road Media is releasing this as an ebook, so I was excited to get a copy for review. I was also interesting to see what I thought about the book reading it as an adult. I shouldn’t have worried, it was still an excellent fantasy novel.
Aerin is the daughter of the King of Damar and one of the only nobility not to have the Gift. She is desperate to prove herself and finds solace in learning to hunt dragons. Then she is forced to face the greatest dragon ever. However, the dragons aren’t the only problem there is a deeper evil at work in the Kingdom of Damar…one that only Aerin can face.
This is an excellent fantasy novel. I still really enjoyed it a lot. Although I will admit I have read this book so many times it is hard to review it, I just have so much past linked with it.
Aerin is an excellent heroine. She is caring, tough, and struggling to find her place in the world. I love her determination and her strength. When I read books like Graceling by Kristin Cashore and The Glass Throne by Sarah Maas I always think about Aerin. In some ways I think Aerin is the YA fantasy heroine that a lot of characters that come after are modeled from.
The two male leads in the book, Tor and Luthe, are amazing. Tor is Aerin’s childhood friend and the one who teaches her swordwork and riding. Luthe is an amazingly mysterious mage that helps Aerin in a time of great need. And it’s not a love triangle! There is so much more to the story. Although I will admit I had a crush on Luthe in my preteen years and I still kind of do.
So much happens in this fairly short book. Dragons are fought, battles take eons, heroes are pulled through time, and kingdoms rise and fall. When I first read this book I was relatively new to the genre (and to reading in general) and I was worried that rereading it now would ruin it for me. It didn’t, this is just a really well done fantasy book. A huge story is told in such a small space, it is amazingly creative and amazingly well done.
Overall this is an excellent fantasy with adventure, a brave heroine, and some romance. So much happens in this small book. I love the characters, the fast-paced adventure, and the battles with dragons. This is classic YA fantasy at it’s best. Highly recommended to fans of YA fantasy everywhere, I feel like this is where the YA fantasy genre started.