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Pegasus Hardcover – November 2, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up–By the terms of an ancient treaty, children of royalty in Balsinland are “bound” to a pegasus on their 12th birthdays, in a ceremony cementing friendship between the two. However, humans and pegasi cannot speak to one another without the help of specially trained magicians because the two species communicate in such different ways. So, when Princess Sylviianel comes to her big day, she is nervous about being bound to one of these strange, beautiful, incomprehensible creatures...until, in the middle of the ceremony, she discovers that she can mind-speak to her pegasus–and he can speak back. Such a thing has never been heard of in all the years of the alliance, but to Sylvi and her bond-friend it proves a wonderful gift by which they can promote better understanding between the two species. A few royal magicians, however, do not wish to see free communication develop between them, and they will do whatever they can to keep Sylvi and Ebon apart. This novel is reminiscent of McKinley's The Hero and the Crown (Greenwillow, 1984) and other earlier works, and includes many of her trademarks, including a tendency to ramble through pages of description and backstory, sometimes even in the middle of a conversation. Still, the story is strong and fresh, and the characters are nuanced and believable. Fans will anxiously await the sequel.–Misti Tidman, formerly at Boyd County Public Library, Ashland, KY. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

It’s been almost 1,000 years since the forming of the Alliance—an agreement between humans and pegasi that they will live in peace and harmony. But as breathtaking and majestic as the pegasi are, a language barrier, only somewhat ameliorated by magicians, keeps them distant. That is, until 12-year-old princess Sylvi has her “binding” ritual with Ebon, her black, winged pegasus counterpart, and the two find themselves able to enjoy perfect telepathy. Their closeness shakes the foundations of the kingdom, and soon Sylvi is not only enjoying forbidden rides atop her pegasus but is also extended an invite of historic import: a trip to the pegasi’s mysterious Caves. McKinley’s storytelling is to be savored. She lavishes page after page upon rituals and ceremonies, basks in the awe of her intricately constructed world, and displays a masterful sense of pegasi physicality and mannerisms. The plot is very short on drama—a villain, established early, vanishes until the final pages, and with him goes the suspense—but an apparent sequel may add balance to the overall arc. Grades 8-11. --Daniel Kraus

More to Explore
Read the first chapter from Robin McKinley's Pegasus [PDF].

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1070L (What's this?)
  • Series: Pegasus (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (November 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399246770
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399246777
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More 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.

Customer Reviews

I was very disappointed with this book and it has nothing to do with the cliff hanger ending.
Little Miss
Overall I loved this book, loved the world, loved the characters, and was impressed with how well thought out and detailed the human/Pegasi interactions were.
K. Eckert
McKinley also spends too much time on insignificant details and description and too little on what would actually be compelling.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

115 of 120 people found the following review helpful By YA book lover on November 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By FoxRunning on November 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
My husband recently got me "Pegasus", and I read it while recently sick in bed. It was a treat to have a book by the author of "Deerskin", and I read it avidly at first. But then,noticing that I was more than halfway through the book, and it was moving at an unusually slow pace, I began to wonder what was going on. When it came to the last chapter, I was totally bewildered and upset, feeling extremely cheated, and more than a little angry at Ms.McKinley to have written a book that ended with no ending. There is no notice anywhere in the book that it is supposed to be a two part book...normally when this is done, the author puts a snippet of the first chapter of the second book in after the last chapter, to show readers that the book is not intended to be a standalone. But for most buyers of this book, I bet they dont know this- I found out only by reading the reviews here.

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.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By E. Bradley on November 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I will preface this with the acknowledgment that this book is:
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.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By megan ringenbach on November 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This isn't book one in a series, or a whole book on its own. Pegasus is half a book. It ends, just as the conflict begins. I'm sure there is a second part coming. Robin McKinley is too much of an expert to just end the book there, but as a reader, I feel abandoned mid-story.

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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