Pegasus by Robin McKinley – Advance Review

Book Jacket:

Because of a thousand-year-old alliance between humans and pegasi, Princess Sylviianel is ceremonially bound to Ebon, her own pegasus, on her twelfth birthday. The two species coexist peacefully, despite the language barriers separating them. Humans and pegasi both rely on specially-trained Speaker magicians as the only means of real communication.

But it’s different for Sylvi and Ebon. They can understand each other. They quickly grow close—so close that their bond becomes a threat to the status quo—and possibly to the future safety of their two nations.

You can read an excerpt here.


First off, thank god there’s going to be a sequel. The last time I was this worked up over an ending was Gail Carriger’s Changeless. If there wasn’t a sequel, I would be tearing my hair out. And Robin McKinley is a notoriously sequel free writer, so the minute I finished Pegasus there was a mad dash for my laptop. Everyone should know going in – it’s okay, the story will continue!

Robin McKinley has been a life-long favorite of mine. As a kid I was a voracious reader but I would only read books about horses. Finally, my 4th grade homeroom teacher shoved The Blue Sword at me and said, here! There’s a horse on the cover! It was literally the first fantasy book I ever read. To this day I’ve continued to be a fan of Robin’s books, and to this day she remains the most polarizing author I know. Everyone who reads her books either loves her or hates her, there is no middle ground. The closest thing I’ve ever seen to it is how people react to Baz Luhrmann movies (Moulin Rouge).

McKinley has a distinctive style of non-linear storytelling. She weaves the world around you, slowly filling in the pieces in a kaleidescope manner. Her world building is dense and detailed; she truly imparts a sense of magic in the stories she creates. Her style is more sophisticated than the vast majority of YA on the market. I’m a speed reader, I literally fly through books. Robin McKinley is the only author I’ve ever read who slows me down, who makes me take my time. Her language is like honey – dense and enveloping.

McKinley’s stories tend to center around characters trapped between two worlds, and Pegasus is no exception. The tension between the human and pegasi cultures is beautifully wrought and utterly believable. It’s impossible not to like Sylvi and Ebon as they struggle against the culture, history, and politics that would keep them apart. It’s both lovely and heartbreaking. The forces that would destroy their relationship are closing in, and just as the wave is about to break, the book ends.

Which brings me to my one complaint about Pegasus – the ending. (Though I’m much more forgiving now that I know there’s going to be a sequel.) To be honest it didn’t feel like there was an ending at all, I just ran out of pages. It was too abrupt, even for a cliffhanger. The story is incomplete – it’s like Pegasus was meant to be one much longer book and it was arbitrarily chopped in half once it reached a certain page number. The book literally leaves off in the middle of an argument – one side finishes speaking and the book ends before the other side can respond. I can feel the weight of all the things left unsaid still hanging in the air. It is aggravating beyond belief. I want to know how it ends!

So obviously this book enthralled me, in classic Robin McKinley style. Now I just have to endure the interminable wait for the sequel…

Byrt Grade: A

As Lever Burton used to say – you don’t have to take my world for it…

Elvie of Paperback Dolls says:

One of the things that made Pegasus a true pleasure to read was observing Sylvi’s increasing awareness of the significance of her situation as she grows older. McKinley’s stories never operate on just one level, but her gradual increase of the narrator’s perceptions of those multiple levels was delightful artistry.

Leilani Loves Books says:

Pegasus was an original story with a wonderful twist. This book will always have a place on my bookshelf and will definitely be re-read in the near future.

Jodi Meadows at Goodreads says:

My love for Robin’s work is higher than ever. PEGASUS is beautiful, with amazing prose and thoughtful worldbuilding. I feel like I’ve been there. The friendship between Sylvi and Ebon still makes my heart go pitter patter, even months after finishing.