Thursday, June 1, 2023

Ransomware and Rereading — The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

At the beginning of May the City of Dallas suffered a citywide ransomware attack. All city services had to learn to operate again without the computer. The police and emergency services went back to the time-honored practice of using radio dispatchers and a pen and paper. The courts have been closed because legal materials for each case were online and now are gone ... or buried in whatever there is left of the system. As far as we can tell, they're having to rebuild the whole system from scratch.

As library users, this has been almost the equivalent of when the pandemic hit. There is no computer access, of course. You can go to a local branch and peruse the materials. But you must just see what that particular branch has. There's no citywide access to the catalog or, for that matter, no catalog to check at all. 

You can check out materials. They enter the info into a Word file which will be reintegrated with the whole system when it is back. I have no idea how they're going to know what everyone already had checked out. They aren't accepting materials back in because they have no way to check them back in.

Of course, we figure the library will be the last system to come back to normal once Dallas systems begin coming back online. They're a pretty low priority in the big picture.

Which is a very long introduction to why I've been rereading so many goldie oldies from our own shelves. (Well, that and the flu.) It's been kind of nice being forced to fall back on our own resources and rediscover so many books I love.

This is the story of Corlath, golden-eyed king of the Free Hillfolk, son of the sons of the Lady Aerin.

And this is the story of Harry Crewe, the Homelander orphan girl who became Harimad-sol, King's Rider, and heir to the Blue Sword, Gonturan, that no woman had wielded since the Lady Aerin herself bore it into battle.

And this is the song of the kelar of the Hillfolk, the magic of the blood, the weaver of destinies...

This another one that I loved when it came out and haven't reread for a long time. Consequently, I remembered the big beats but not a few of the twists toward the end. Likewise, I'd forgotten the many elements that made this compelling. I found it grabbed me by the throat and I couldn't put it down — what a great read!

To quote another review, this is "a near-perfect short fantasy novel" and "an original work fantasy lovers shouldn't overlook."

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