The Hero and the Crown

by Robin McKinley
304 pages, Fantasy
Reviewed by Nienna

Fascinating story with really poor morals.


Aerin Sol is the only child of the king of Damar but has never been accepted as full royalty. Both in and out of court, people whisper the story of her mother, the witchwoman who was said to have enspelled the king into marrying her, to get an heir to rule Damar--then died of despair when she bore a daughter instead. Aerin does not dream that she is the greatest of her father's house, not the least, but with the aid of her father's old war horse and a fireproof grease she rides out to fight a legendary dragon in hopes to gain her father and court's honor.


There is little stated difference between right and wrong. Some people are flirtatious, vain, and petty and the other people scorn them for it and are proud. Aerin disobeys her father on several occasions, if not directly she still does what she knows he wouldn't want.

Spiritual Content

There is talk, and belief in, demons, goddesses, and mages, which are like wizards. Also talk concerning Aerin's "witchwoman" mother. Magic is used frequently.


Aerin is burned badly and nearly dies. She finds out that a woman was poisoned by her uncle. Someone is killed.

Drug and Alcohol Content

The royal family drinks malak which may be alcoholic. Aerin is given a drink which puts her to sleep. Someone drinks from a lake which water plunges them into a vision.

Sexual Content

Aerin is suggested by some to be an illegitimate child, there is a lot of kissing and hugs, a man nurses Aerin and they kiss a lot and sleep together (with her back to him).

Crude or Profane Language or Content

None that I can recall at the moment.


Though a fascinating tale, the immorality and altogether poor morals made me throw this book away so I do not recommend it.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 1
Written for Age: 13+

Review Rating:

Average rating: 3 stars
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