Pegasus Hardcover – Nov 2 2010
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About the Author
Robin McKinley has won various awards and citations for her writing, including the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown and a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword. Her other books include Sunshine; the New York Times bestseller Spindle's End; two novel-length retellings of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and Rose Daughter; and a retelling of the Robin Hood legend, The Outlaws of Sherwood. She lives with her husband, the English writer Peter Dickinson.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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?
A note to the publisher-*PLEASE* drag a few pages of the second book out of Ms McKinley, and add them to future printings, or you are going to lose buyers of both this and the second book. This one appears to the unwary reader to be a standalone, and it is *extremely* disappointing, taking away much of the joy the reader felt in following the tale of the princess and her bondbrother pegasus. It is a good book, but greatly flawed by this omission, and the incredible lag till the publication of the second one. In my opinion, she rushed this onto the shelves long before she should have...1012 is too distant a date for the next book from this one.
1) Part One of a Two-Part Pair
2) A Cliffhanger book.
The trouble with Pegasus, compared to other McKinley books is that it is not a one-shot volume. This is shocking, because she never writes sequels. Every McKinley book ever has been a one-volume novel, even when related to other novels. That this has changed so suddenly has left many fans bewildered.
Does this make Pegasus less brilliant? No.
The world-building is intricate, perhaps because it is so very different from our own. The geography, culture, customs, history, it's all there, making this world believable, and real enough to step into. The characters, also, are fascinating. Sylvi and Ebon most especially, but also their families and enemies. There does not seem to be even a single superfluous character in the entire volume.
The narrative is a little different from normal-- because the world is so different, and there is so *much* to fit into each volume, some of it must be explained with flashbacks. Several reviews have mentioned disliking flashbacks, or finding it to be distracting, but I feel like they all served their purpose.
I really did love this book, and I felt like despite the lack of sword-waving and adventure, it was still suspenseful and fascinating. I look forward to seeing what comes next.
A recent Connie Willis book was split in two also. I hope that we can make publishers realize this is unacceptable. If a book is written with the intention of splitting it, then it can have a smaller arc within the series arc. Just chopping it in two, however, kills any momentum the story gained.
If I had known this was half a book, I would not have paid for it. Robin Mckinley or not, I don't buy half books. That is ridiculous.
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