Thursday, January 6, 2011

Review: Pegasus by Robin McKinley

Title: Pegasus
Author: Robin McKinley (my hero)
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (11/2/10)

Summary: Because of a thousand-year-old alliance between humans and pagasi, Princess Sylviianel is ceremonially bound to Ebon, her own Pegasus, on her twelfth birthday. The two species coexist peacefully, despite the language barriers separating them. Humans and pegasi both rely on specially-trained Speaker magicians as the only means of real communication.

But its different for Sylvi and Ebon. They can understand each other. They quickly grow close-so close that their bond becomes a threat to the status quo-and possibly to the future safety of their two nations.
New York Times bestselling Robin McKinley weaves an unforgettable tale of unbreakable friendship, mythical creatures and courtly drama destined to become a classic. 
First Impressions: Straight out of the gate, I have to be clear that Robin McKinley has been one of my favorite authors since I *ahem* borrowed my older sister Sara's copies of The Blue Sword, Beauty and Rose Daughter. I loved her after those books, and the later additions, especially Spindle's End and Sunshine only made me love her more. Robin McKinley Rocks.

So, moving beyond that, how does this book measure up? Tip top of the list with Spindle's End? In the middle with The Hero and the Crown? Or in the "not quite my cup of tea" pile with Dragonhaven?

Well. I really enjoyed this book. I loved the characters and the slowly revealed world-building, and so it is definitely at least in the middle. But, there is a problem. While this book is marketed as a book with a sequel (coming out in 2012) it isn't really, to my mind. It is the first half of a really, really long, gorgeously epic book. And while I would totally read this awesome, 800-page book about Sylvi and her pegasus Ebon, I find myself a little annoyed to read the first half in 2010 and have to wait until 2012 for the finale. Even in series, each book should be a complete tale on its own, and I don't quite feel that Pegasus manages that.

Plot: In this country, the royal family are bound to members of the indigenous race of Pegasi to symbolize the ancient treaty that was signed after the humans arrived in the country and helped defeat the creatures that threatened the Pegasus. Although they are bound, they are unable to communicate except through the workings of magicians.

Until Sylvi and Ebon, who can instantly and completely understand each other and who quickly bond into close friends. This bond is seen as a threat by magicians, and as unnatural by most everyone else, so Sylvi and Ebon must work together to discover the truth about their connection.

This was a very original and interesting book, but I didn't feel like the plot covered enough ground to separate into two books. There just wasn't enough resolution to the questions created.

Characters: This is one area, along with her exquisite writing, where Robin McKinley shines. I liked and related to Sylvi, and I loved Ebon. Both fathers were also great characters, and the villain was nicely villainous.

Style: If you haven't read a Robin McKinley book yet, go do it. And once you do, you'll know what I'm about to say. I adore her writing style, which is somehow delicate and airy while still full of rich detail and down to earth characters. Love!

Wrap up: A conundrum! I loved the story, but am frustrated by the lack of resolution until 2012! I say, if you still have McKinley novels unread, go find them and hold off on Pegasus until right before the release of the sequel. But if you can't wait, you'll still enjoy yourself. It might just be a frustrating year in 2011.


  1. Great review! I love Robin McKinley, but I'm glad I haven't read this until the sequel comes out. I'll just wait for that. I agree that each book in a series should be a complete story. It's frustrating that Pegasus doesn't follow along with that.

  2. Hmm, well I think I'll take your advice and wait until 2012 to read it :) Thanks for the review, it does sound rather good. I admit, I've never read a Robin McKinley book.

  3. I think I'll also wait for the sequel to read this one. Good advice! The only book I've read by this author is Sunshine, which is a stand alone book, but I hoped for a sequel.
    I enjoyed your review - happy reading!

  4. I'm waiting for the sequel and I'll see how it's reviewed then. I tried to read this one but I couldn't finish. I didn't like all of the flashbacks and the plot moved too slow for my tastes. I did love her writing style though, so I am planning on trying some of her other books in the meantime.

    I agree with you about books in a series. I don't like it when the book just ends in the middle of the story without any arc resolution. I guess I don't mind this at all if all of the books are already published, but until then it bothers me a lot.

  5. So, I know this may surprise you but this was the third book I read by McKinley and I liked it the best of the three. The Hero and the Crown just didn't strike me (maybe because it was book 2) and I struggled through Sunshine. Yes, she writes beautifully but I think she writes too much for me and there seems a lack of action in her books.

    The part that killed me in this book was that it was mostly build up and then a cliffhanger of action. I took a long time reading this book and loved the beautiful world she introduced us to, but I'm with you, I can't see enough of it to be split into two parts. Give me a 600+ book if need be.