This is only a half of the book!!!
I thought I would get this out of the way first. Truly, there was not even an attempt to wrap up anything in this novel, not even temporarily. "Pegasus" ended mid-scene, mid-conflict, almost mid-sentence. It will be quite a laugh if McKinley never finishes this sequel.
Now onto the story itself. I was glad to be back to the old-school princess-fairy-tale McKinley, after the genre detour "Sunshine" was. If you ever read fantasy written by the author, you already know the key elements of her stories: meticulous, imaginative world building, a young, strong heroine who has to come to terms with her own powers and grow into her responsibilities and attain self-confidence, friendships with animals, magic, all accompanied by the most gorgeous writing. All of this was in "Pegasus."
The moment I opened the book, I was completely enchanted by the world McKinley had created and by the words she used to describe it. The centuries-old alliance between humans and pegasi, their complicated communications, binding rituals - all of it was so new, so unique, so detailed and well thought-through. And then the moment Ebon, the main character's Sylvi's bond-mate, entered the picture, I totally fell in love with this naughty, outspoken, mischievous pegasus. And the way MckKinley described Ebon tumbling into Sylvi's window, or spread his wings, or a tiny pegasus playing with Sylvi, it made me grin in delight. McKinley just has such a genius way with words, I can't explain it.
But (of course there is a but), as much as I loved the world building and gorgeous writing, it just wasn't enough for me. It wasn't that the book was light on plot, but like in all McKinley books, the plot was driven by the main character's internal struggles and growth. And again, it's fine by me, generally. I loved Harry's personal journey in "The Blue Sword," but that book was only 270 pages and "Pegasus" - 400 and only half of the story. I don't know about other readers, but I can enjoy luscious, descriptive and reflective writing for only so long, at about page 200 I want some action, and so happened here. By the middle of the book my attention started to waver and I began skimming a bit, trying to get to the end or at least some excitement faster. Basically, it seemed the narration got a little too indulgent. For what the plot was, the book was way too long. I could literally summarize the entire novel in one paragraph. I would have enjoyed it much more if the whole story only took one 300-page volume to tell.
I can see how "Pegasus"'s reviews can be all over the place. Fans of McKinley's writing and those who enjoy leisurely, slow paced quality of it, will love the novel, and rightfully so. Those who prefer books with more action and despise being left with no resolutions, will hate it. I am somewhere in the middle. At this point I am moderately interested to know how it all works out, but will I still be in 2014, when the sequel comes out?