The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley

Guest Review by Hannah Grant

The story of a king’s daughter battling dragons and other enemies from the back of her father’s old courageous warhorse, this novel is great for juniors and older readers.

The only child of the King of Damar, Aerin is disliked by the country because it is believed that her mother, who died when Aerin was born, was a witch who enspelled the king into marrying her. Aerin befriends her father’s old warhorse, Talat, after an accident ends the horse’s career. She then trains him to be ridden bridleless. Taught to fight by her cousin and friend, Tor, and after finding the recipe for a fireproof ointment, Aerin rides Talat into several battles with small dragons.

When the much feared Black Dragon, Maur, begins to terrorize villages in the country, it is Aerin and Talat who ride out to fight him. Successful but almost killed by Maur’s terrible fire, Aerin seeks the help of a man she saw in her dreams. In the process of recovery she discovers the truth about herself, her mother, and her father’s kingdom; and she learns about the evil plans of an uncle she had never heard of. Can she save her country before it’s too late?