Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Review: Pegasus

by Robin McKinley
Age recommendation: Young Adult
Hardcover, 404 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by Putnam Juvenile
Series: Pegasus #1

Summary (from Goodreads)
Because of a thousand-year-old alliance between humans and pagasi, 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 its 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.

My Review
Before I started Pegaus, I was a little wary because of some reviews I'd read, especially Small's, but I'm a little more patient than Small, so I was prepared to enjoy Pegasus's apparently leisurely pace. When I was reading it, I was hoping for a "it started out slow, but I'm glad I stuck with it" kind of book, but when I finished, I totally understood the problems people had with it.

I really, really wanted to love this book. So many of the notes I jotted down while reading were variations on, "I didn't love _(fill in the blank)_, but I can see why she would do that." But try as I might, I could not get over the slow pacing. I got over the infodump at the beginning - although it was not ideal, I can see why McKinley included it, but throughout, the pacing was harder to get over. If the extra slowness of the plot was important in order to establish a connection with the character (like the beginning of A Curse Dark as Gold, I would have  understood. But halfway into the book, I felt like I was still getting into the beginning of the real story.

The writing is beautiful, and I liked the characters well enough, but I kept waiting for some excitement, and none came. While events did occur, I never felt really invested, nor did I see a larger point to what was going on. I felt much like an outside spectator, and while what I was seeing was pretty, I was not personally involved.

I think what this story needed was to take the entire plotline of the planned trilogy and make it all into one book. As Pegasus did not wrap up very many loose ends before concluding, it would have been perfectly fine to extend it into a longer story. That way, the reader would get the story and the beautiful writing, but all of the excess scenes where nothing happens - and yes, there are quite a few; McKinley seemed to enjoy writing about every day in between the important events in order to create a mood and strengthen characterization and relationships - would be cut. There needed to be far more plot. I wasn't swept away by the story- one of my favorite parts of reading a good book - because there was so little story to be swept away by.

Overall Thoughts: McKinley is obviously a wonderful writer, and I love her style and earlier works, but Pegasus is nothing to rush out for.

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