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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pegasus - Robin McKinley

Read for the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

Sylvi is the fourth child of the king of Balsinland, a land that the humans there share with the pegasi that they found there when they discovered the country. The pegasi are fully intelligent beings with their own king and culture, but for some reason, only human magicians or pegasi shamans are usually able to speak to the other species, so they’ve always been a people somewhat apart.

When humans came to Balsinland, the pegasi noticed their superior strength, and knew that the humans would be able to protect them from their enemies – rocs, and taralions and other terrible creatures. As part of the treaty that was drafted by both peoples at this occasion, all members of royal family of Balsinland would be bonded to members of the pegasi royal family. And so, on Sylvi’s twelfth birthday, she is bounded to Ebon, the fourth son of the pegasi king, and something amazing happens – the two are able to talk to each other. Many are amazed by this discovery, and others are afraid of it. Sylvi and Ebon spend the next four years exploring Balsinland, and their bond grows. On the eve of Sylvi’s sixteenth birthday, when she will be become an adult, Ebon invites her to visit the domain of the pegasi, where no human has ever gone before (they can’t fly after all). The experience changes Sylvi and Ebon’s lives forever.

I really enjoyed this story. The pegasi culture, and how humans interact with them was so interestingly constructed. I also really liked that it’s not a princess and her horse story – Sylvi and Ebon’s relationship brings real conflict to their peoples.

I do have to note that I think I’m a little mad at the author right now. The story ends with an incredible cliffhanger. Though I’m told that there’s a sequel in the works, the author doesn’t often do sequels, so I’m a little nervous about how long it’s going to take to find out how the story really ends.

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