The Hero and the Crown Book Poster Image

The Hero and the Crown



Teens love this mature, Newbery-winning fantasy.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Several incidental characters disapprove of the main character's actions simply because she is female.


Several life-or-death battles.


Aerin spends the night with Luthe.


Infrequent and mild.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the heroine defies convention to remain true to herself.

Parents say

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What's the story?

Fighting dragons. Wielding a magic sword. Not proper behavior for a young princess. But Aerin, through sheer stubbornness, teaches herself to do both, never dreaming that she is destined to become her country's savior. Vivid descriptions of a fantastic world, along with a powerfully written main character, make this book a favorite for young-adult readers.


Is it any good?


Robin McKinley has given readers a surprisingly realistic female role model, one that will quickly capture their imagination and attention. She is by no means invincible -- she is an imperfect human being, and makes numerous mistakes, often putting herself in great danger. However, even in her darkest moments, Aerin remains true to herself and to her goals.

As a princess, Aerin-sol is generally expected to keep to her castle. She meets with a great deal of disapproval, from the king and from everyone else, when she teaches herself to slay dragons and embarks on a quest to save her city.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the expectations for Aerin. What kind of life is she expected to lead? Why is she discouraged from learning to slay dragons? Do you think she would be as successful -- both in terms of her tasks and her personal growth -- if she had been encouraged to follow that path?

Book details

Author:Robin McKinley
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Penguin Group
Publication date:January 1, 1984
Number of pages:227
Award:Newbery Medal and Honors

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Kid, 11 years old January 13, 2010

A Great Book; Sometimes Difficult to Understand

This is a very good book telling the story of a young out casted girl Aerin. McKinley writes in an interesting manner which can sometimes be difficult to understand, but when you get past that there is some very good writing, and a good story. The only problem was some of the sexual scenes. A skilled reader can read if 10+ but even for me it was a difficult book to read at times.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written byCell3 April 9, 2008

My first Robin McKinley book I ever read

You know, what the heck, I read his two years ago, so my opinion may be, ah, off. But I thought that it was not that great for my then, when I was eleven or so, but I got more out of it when I turned thirteen and skimmed through it again. Still, 2 out of 5.
Teen, 14 years old Written byMeow314159 May 31, 2010


I read this when I was 13 and I thought it was the most boring book. I mean it dragged on and on and wasn't that exciting either
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing