McKinley, Robin. Pegasus (Nov 2, 2010). 404 Pages. Putnam. $18.99

Once upon a time, humans forged an alliance with Pegasi (who are not winged horses), to share a beautiful, fertile land. Generations later, this alliance is still upheld in practice through the binding of the two royal families. Princess Sylviianel is the youngest of her family, and the last to get bound to her pegasus.

Princess Sylvi, who has never enjoyed the spotlight, finds herself at the center of everything, when it turns out that she can speak to Ebon without the aid of a translator. Their bond is deep from the moment they first meet, but there is a chance that it will threaten everything.

First Lines:

Because she was a princess she had a pegasus.

This had been a part of the treaty between the pegasi and the human invaders nearly a thousand years ago, shortly after humans had first struggled through the mountain passes beyond the wild lands and discovered a beautiful green country they knew immediately they wanted to live in.


I’ve been waiting for Pegasus since it was first mentioned as a story which had grown too long to be part of the Air anthology. I’ve been waiting, and reading snippets, and longing for the day it would come out, and even when I was warned that it would end in a cliffhanger, I knew that I would devour it when it came out, because I have never read a McKinley book I did not love.

The cliffhanger killed me, by the way.

This book was beautiful and brilliant and heartwarming and heartwrenching and everything I had hoped for and more. Sylvi and Ebon’s relationship is so beautiful and perfectly written that I could not put the book down. It is clear from the beginning who the Bad Guy will be, though he is not the only bad thing going on. It is clear from the fact that it is about royalty that there will be political turmoil. There are so many things which are so important which are hinted at, but never quite explained.

I was not surprised when I got to the last page. I had sort of expected its direction from about the middle of the book, and there is this sense of something big looming on the horizon. And then it was the last page, and I just wanted more, but the rest will have to wait, because “Pegasus II” as it is currently called is still a part of the distant future.

This book certainly calls for the same thing most McKinley books call for– patience. She takes the time to build her worlds, so the adventure is that much more thrilling, because it is grounded in a solid world. Her characters never fall flat, because in such a real world, they could not be anything less than real themselves. However, sometimes several chapters may be devoted to the beginning, which can seem slow to many, but man, it’s so worth it.

For being so brilliant, this volume gets a 5/5. (I would give it a 6, but that might set a bad precedent…) Despite the agony of the cliffhanger, it is good that the story was not forced into a single volume, and was rather split, in order to do it proper justice.


Filed under Book Review, Fantasy, High Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

15 responses to “Pegasus

  1. ela21

    Hmm, so do I order the US edition or wait for the UK one…? I do love me some McKinley! Glad it sounds so good – I’d been feeling a bit ambivalent about it.


    • The closest I’ve ever felt to let-down by a McKinley book was Dragonhaven. It’s still a great book, but it doesn’t feel like one of her books. Pegasus, however, I’ve been reading those snippets of as they were posted, and I’ve been waiting forever.

      I definitely wasn’t disappointed by Pegasus. If you think you’ll get around to reading it before the UK ed. is published, then yeah, go for US. Otherwise, go ahead and wait. It’ll be a long while before we get to the end of this story anyway. (It’s sounding like Pegasus 2 will have a late-2011 or mid-2012 release)


  2. Thanks for the post! I have also been eagerly awaiting this book for awhile. Ever since I read “Beauty” when I was younger I have been hooked. Her books are always unique and really transport you to a whole new world.


    • She’s always done a good job of building a world and transporting you, it’s part of why I love her books so much. “Beauty” was pretty amazing, and I love “Rose Daughter” too.


  3. Oooo, I forgot about the cliffhanger. I do not want it to kill me! Maybe I don’t need to read this book straight away…but I kind of want to…and it would be a nice treat for me after a longish week…


    • It’s a pretty fabulous book, even with the cliffhanger, but that cliffhanger is a doozy. You can see it coming, and where it’s building to, and if you’ve gone and read it before you get there, it’ll be even more obvious as you watch it build up to there. I think if you can bring yourself to resist it, this is one that would be good to go “spoiler-free” on if you can.


  4. This sounds like a great book…too bad I’m not still teaching mythology or I could assign it!


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  8. Mumsy

    This did not blow me away as much as it did you, tho’ I love RMcK. (Beauty used to be my favorite, but now I love Sunshine even harder.) I found the first part slow-moving to the point that I considered stopping reading – something that has never happened to me before with McKinley’s novels. But once the visit to Rhianomeer started, everything changed – I loved the book from that part on. I was cool with the cliffhanger – I pretty much thought we were headed there anyway, as you say.


    • It becomes increasingly obvious as you go on that it really is leading up to that point, and as you realize what it’s leading to, it also becomes apparent that it must be the cliffhanger because where else could it break?

      I have an irrational love for Robin McKinley books, and I haven’t yet encountered one I haven’t liked (though Dragonhaven was a close call.) My most enduring favorites are the Damar novels, but others like Spindle’s End, and Sunshine are close behind.


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