Friday, June 29, 2012

Pegasus by Robin McKinley

Because of a thousand-year-old alliance between humans and pegasi, 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 it's 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.

Beth says 5 Stars…

I’ve been a huge fan of Robin McKinley’s books for years now, and this was no exception. She has a habit of writing stand-alone novels, so imagine my absolute shock when I reached the final page of this book… and it cut of in the middle of the action. I honestly had no idea this would be a series; nothing gives any indication of another book on the way except for McKinley’s website, which I immediately scoured for information. I know that quite a few people won’t agree with me because this book moves slowly where plot is concerned. The story focuses more on the development of characters and relationships than obvious action. There is some in there, but it doesn’t command the focus of the book. However, I still read this in one afternoon/evening in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. The sheer atmospheric beauty of the prose entranced me and kept me wanting more. So much of current fantasy relies on a constantly fast paced plot to entertain readers and often the writing suffers. I felt transported into the lives of Sylvi and Ebon; the world they lived in was stunningly crafted. The pegasi didn’t fit my expectations in the most wonderful of ways, and allowed me to release my preconceptions of the species that I’d received from other mythologies. It gives in depth views of two completely different cultures and captures the feeling of “otherness” which is rarely done successfully. The pegasi are so different from humans (those in the book as well) that I found it easy to sympathize with Sylvi because I felt the same way through the pages.

The characters manage to be themselves in a breathtaking manner. I never had a moment where I couldn’t understand why a character did something; I couldn’t image them any other way. The friendship between Sylvi and Ebon grew in a genuine way, changing just enough based on their circumstances but never losing its essence of care for one another. Sylvi delighted me as she grew into her role (which I’ll just say has the potential to make the second book fascinating), with her unintentional grace and ever present intelligence making her even more brilliant as a heroine. Ebon as a pegasus is obviously not the typical leading male of a fantasy novel, but that endeared him even more to me. His personality shined through the cross species differences, keeping him both relatable and foreign. Other characters do take part in the book, but it belongs so thoroughly to these two that nobody else particularly merits mentioning.

I’m rather surprised that the book is geared for children age 12… it lacks the action most of them probably crave. I would say that mature readers who want something mellow and lyrically written should pick this up. Pegasus strikes me as another one of McKinley’s grown up fairytales that rely on her gorgeous prose and immerse readers in a whole new world. If you’re looking for a thrill ride this isn’t for you, but it’s a stunning novel with a sequel I can’t wait to read.
Book from Library