Friday, September 9, 2011

Book Review: Pegasus

Star Rating: 3/5


By Robin McKinley

As the fourth child of the king, Sylvi was overlooked and able to enjoy herself without the stress of becoming the future monarch. She spent her days practicing in the weapons yard, riding her pony, and studying the history of the kingdom. Her life was ordinary—for a princess at any rate—until her twelfth birthday. It didn’t start any differently from any of her other family members’ twelfth birthdays. Like the rest of her family and certain others of royal descent since the creation of the Alliance, Sylvi would be bound to a pegasus that day. But unlike all who had been bound before her, she and her pegasus share a unique connection.

Since the Alliance was created between their peoples, pegasi and humans of royal birth had been bound together. Unfortunately, the bondmates had never been able to fully communicate except with the help of a magician, though even this communication was far from flawless. Sylvi’s ability to speak to Ebon, her bondmate, breaks all known precedents, providing the bedrock for a friendship that will change the relationship between both their peoples.

Robin McKinley’s Pegasus throws the reader into Sylvi’s history lessons. Immediately, the reader is swamped with names, events, and creatures, some with little or no explanation of what they are or why they are important to know. This exposition sets the scene for Sylvi and Ebon’s binding but is somewhat exhaustive. Fortunately, Sylvi and Ebon’s relationship becomes the highlight of the tale and the history lessons are mostly set aside. Their conversation and experiences draw the reader in, involving her in the questioning and learning. Ebon is particularly exciting as he is uncharacteristically blunt, witty, and laid-back for a pegasus. Ebon acts in order to alter misconceptions and remove arbitrary barriers. Contrarily, Sylvi tends to ruminate and wait passively—and frustratingly for this reader—for her hopes to just occur. For the most part, the plot meanders along with rare and fairly minor conflicts. That is until the end, when the reader is left hanging, waiting for the second book.

While I enjoyed the book, falling prey to the intriguing unraveling of pegasi culture and the development of Ebon and Sylvi’s relationship, I was frustrated by the story’s slow pace, lack of conflict, and Sylvi’s inactivity. Worst of all though was the lack of conclusion for the book. My advice to you: wait until the second book comes out and then enjoy reading the two together.

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