Friday, June 11, 2010
Pegasus By Robin McKinley
Pegasus by Robin McKinley
Princess Sylvi is studying hard so she can be prepared for the day that she is bonded to her Pegasus. Since her childhood she had learned the sign-speech that is required to communicate with Pegasi. Despite this communication system Pegasi and humans still have difficulties communicating with one another. When Pegasi and humans first met they formed a mutual alliance—the humans obtaining much needed land, and the Pegasi receiving much needed protection from predators. This agreement also included that members from both the human and pegasi royal lines would be bonded together in a magical ceremony to increase their loyalty to one another.
Princess Sylvi participates in this tradition, but something strange happens on her bonding day. Defying hundreds of years of known history, Sylvi is able to communicate with her Pegasus, Ebon, son of the Pegasus King. This unique bond forms into unique and unbreakable friendship, and leads them to question if there is something behind the reason Pegasi and Human cannot communicate more easily.
The first thing I must say about this book is—wow! I loved it! I am not a fan of Robin McKinley, but I am totally a fan of this book. I’ve read some of McKinley’s work before. The book I liked best was Beauty, but it wandered a bit too much for me. I liked Hero and The Crown enough to read the sequel, but the books never really stayed with me all that much. Then I really disliked Spindle’s End and never picked up one of her books again. This was when I was a teenager.
So, I loved this book cover, and thought the premise looked magical and princessy, which is right up my alley. I love all things magical and princessy. So I read knowing that I might hate it because I supposedly didn’t like McKinley’s style. So, I don’t know what happened with this book. Did I just grow up enough to appreciate McKinley’s style finally? Did McKinley perfect her style? Or was the story itself a special aberration that could only be told in a uniquely McKinley way?
Either way the story is just breathtaking and beautiful. The story begins with Slyvi reading journal entries of those first humans that discovered Pegasi, and a reader could fairly say what a boring way to start a book! I also admired the way that it set up the culture and history of this magical kingdom that dwells in the heart Pegasi land. It also introduced the Pegasus in such a magical and majestic way that you couldn’t but help but feel awed as the principal actors in the novels themselves.
The crucial conflict of communication is the theme that carries the book. How do two completely different races get along if they can hardly communicate with one another? I love how the author explores this question, not but just telling but by showing. Each Pegasus has just as real and detailed personality as each human character, and they are funny, and silly, and stuffy, and brilliant. Really, as a reader I felt totally transported into this magical world, and enjoyed every second of it.
You’ll love this story if you love to read about new magical words, especially mythical and beautiful ones, and you’ll love this story if you enjoy reading about characters, but the story isn’t as strong plot-wise. McKinley loves to describe her world and her characters and while there is conflict and plot it seems to take a background to the previous two elements. In fact, the ending is terrible, but even though I hated the ending I still felt like the book was worth reading. The ending really isn’t so much an ending as a—oh I ran out of space, whoops! Guess the reader will have to wait for the sequel.
Oh, also on the subject of being princessy. Yes, the main character is a princess, but the author doesn’t dwell too much on being cute or girly. The story transcends the typical stereotypes of the genre because of the mythical feel of the setting. All of this is meant as a preface to say that boys can read this book too! It is that good. My hubby read and really liked this one too—except he is more angry about the ending than I am, probably because he got robbed of a really good climatic action scene. Really, repeating again, the ending is really mean and terrible.
This book comes out in November. I borrowed the ARC from my awesome High School Librarian again.