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4.0 211
by Robin McKinley

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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


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.

New York Times bestselling author Robin McKinley weaves an unforgettable tale of unbreakable friendship, mythical creatures and courtly drama destined to become a classic.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Leisurely in its pacing, but rich in language and character development, this lovely tale concerns young Princess Sylvi and her singular bond with her pegasus, Ebon. Humans and pegasi have maintained an alliance against their land's other murderous species--taralians, norindours, and rocs--over many centuries, despite an almost complete inability to communicate with each other except, with great difficulty, through the aid of human magicians. But Sylvi and Ebon are different. From the moment they meet, they form a telepathic bond, something that could be a boon to both species. The powerful magician Fthoom, however, seeing their relationship as both heresy and a danger to the magicians' power, has vowed to end it. McKinley (Chalice) does a wonderful job of developing the pegasi culture, particularly their art and largely gestural language, as Sylvi and Ebon's relationship grows over the course of several years. Because this is only the first part of what is presumably a two-volume novel, readers may find the book's inconclusive ending frustrating. Despite this, it's an enchanting fantasy that the author's many fans will love. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)
VOYA - Jennifer Crispin
While enemies gather at the edges of human-occupied land, Sylvi, the fourth child of the king of Balsinland, is bound to Ebon, the fourth child of the Pegasus king. Although other bonded human—Pegasus pairs must rely on magicians and awkward hand motions to communicate, Sylvi and Ebon discover that they can talk to each other in their minds. They develop a close friendship, and Ebon invites Sylvi to visit the Pegasus land, which is a mystery to most humans. Some of the central questions of the story are compelling: How do you communicate with an ally so different from yourself? Is it possible that the intermediaries are hurting more than they are helping? The majority of the story is told in dense flashbacks revealing the eight-hundred-year history of the pact between humans and Pegasi. It can be difficult to keep track of where the story is in the time line. Early on, the reader begins to suspect that this book might be the first of a series. The suspicion is confirmed in the final third of the book, when the slow build-up leads to a cliff-hanger ending. Die-hard McKinley fans, along with fantasy readers who are also horse enthusiasts, will appreciate this gentle book. Reviewer: Jennifer Crispin
Children's Literature - Elizabeth D. Schafer
Rules restrict Princess Sylviianel who dutifully fulfills her royal obligations in the Balsinland kingdom. She dreads the binding ceremony which will occur the day she becomes twelve. Sylvi's world is gradually described through lessons with her tutor Ahathin and assignments to study treaties, court protocol, and historical documents regarding a millennium of human and pegasi diplomacy. Readers are immersed in Sylvi's elaborately constructed setting where magicians designated as Speakers translate pegasi words. No other humans are permitted to interpret that language nor are they allowed in the Pegasus kingdom of Rhiandomeer. Stories of elaborate caves in Rhiandomeer intrigue Sylvi who yearns to see them. When Sylvi is bound with Ebon, a magnificent pegasus prince, they realize they can communicate their thoughts. Sylvi and Ebon attain insights and respect for the other's culture. Considering their affinity dangerous to Speakers' long-established roles controlling the relationship of Balsinland with Rhiandomeer, Fthoom, a malevolent magician, is intent on severing the pair. Although humans, even royals, are forbidden to touch pegasi, Sylvi and Ebon ignore that restriction, enjoying clandestine flights at night during which Sylvi views her kingdom from above, reconsidering her reality. For Sylvi's sixteenth birthday, Ebon arranges for her to visit Rhiandomeer. Sylvi, awed by the caves' beauty, learns truths contrary to tradition. Fthoom confronts Sylvi when she returns. Gazing at a vial of water from a pegasus pond, Sylvi experiences an epiphany prior to the novel abruptly concluding without resolution of traumatic developments and threats, foreshadowing the sequel, Pegasus II (2012). Sylvi represents an intelligent, appealing protagonist who remains faithful to her ideals. Read with Mary Stanton's "Unicorns of Balinor" series and Bruce Coville's "The Unicorn Chronicles" books. Reviewer: Elizabeth D. Schafer
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
Kirkus Reviews

Classic McKinley, from the original concept (pegasi!) to the lush, dense prose and the careful unfolding of a nuanced tale. In Balsinland, royal humans are bound to royal pegasi, intelligent winged horses. But despite this, communication is nearly impossible, requiring a magician interpreter and still fraught with failures, and so it has been for 800 years—until Princess Sylvi (small, spunky, overlooked and very bright) and pegasus Prince Ebon are bound and find they can communicate in silent speech. This almost stately tale laced with shimmering strands of humor and menace follows Sylvi and Ebon as they navigate a friendship that is of historical importance even as outside threats begin to press upon both their peoples. In some ways, little happens here, and the cliffhanger ending, on the eve of the eruption of everything, will leave readers desperate for the next installment. But in others, everything happens, as an unlikely but charming friendship across species changes the world—and, as with any great change, threatens some and brings hope to others. Magnificent and magical. (Fantasy. YA)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:

Meet 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.

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Pegasus 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 211 reviews.
rabidreaderWS More than 1 year ago
No one can deny that Robin McKinley really knows how to write a fairytale novel. This one has plenty of action, a bit of angst, love and romance and loyalties and betrayals. I was surprised though that it started out so slow for me. Maybe I've become a spoiled reader, expecting books to just get right into the story. With Pegasus we get a build up, with some history and glimpses into the past before the story really takes off. However, this book is very well written. Robin McKinley is one of those writers that have a way with words. The story always feels polished and finished, never awkward. When I say it started out slow for me, it's the pace - the almost leisurely beginning. The plot is excellent and the storytelling is superb. The main character is a princess, Sylvi whose family has been ruling within a land that used to be ruled by Pegasi. Hundreds of years ago, the two races came into an accord, a treaty. However, I don't think the two sides look at the treaty quite the same way... Every royal member of the family gets bonded with a pegasus. The pegasi and the humans need a speaker, a magician to help them translate, since even with sign language meanings don't usually translate well between the two races. But when Sylvi gets bonded with her pegasus, she discovers that she can communicate with her pegasus without a speaker, and not only with her pegasus, but others.....and things become complicated from then on. Sylvi and Ebon, her pegasus, become real friends and do things together that haven't been done for hundreds of years, if ever. A wonderfully written book - and yet I didn't like the ending. It was a rather sad ending. That's okay - it's not the authors job to write endings that I'll like, but an ending that rings true to the novel. And this ending makes me wonder if there are going to be other novels in the same world..... It's written well, the words and pages flow along. Get the book - it would make a great Christmas gift for teens and adults - especially those who have a soft spot for pegasus and fairytales that don't always have a happy ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really loved many of McKinley's other books, so when I saw that she wrote a new one, I jumped on it. But I was terribly disappointed. The plot was slow and boring 90% of the time. I kept reading, in deference to books like "The Blue Sword," thinking that it just had to get better. But at the end, I felt angry - the ending was awful, with no sense of satisfaction at all. In fact, I thought my Nook copy was broken, and that somehow there MUST be more to the story because that can't possibly be the ending!
Meli_Green More than 1 year ago
All right, this could have been an epic book. I absolutely loved the idea of a princess and a Pegasus and a whole different world! However, the over-detailed parts, the confusion of it all, were just too much for me. At first I thought the detailed beginning was just to start the story, but I came to realize it was throughout the book, which would not have been so bad if the story would not have taken so long to get to the heart of the plot. The dialog is really choppy, and the use of the word "dad" in the book threw off the tone for me. I just wasn't expecting a princess, her brothers as well, to call her father who is a king "dad." I think it just seemed too modern for me and broke the magic of it all. Even though I read through it all I'm not sure I grasped everything that had happened. There were too many flashbacks, which in my opinion were very confusing. One minute Sylvi is talking to her Pegasus and the next moment she is talking to her father. I'm not sure where the jump from twelve to sixteen came from. Also the names, I had the hardest time trying to remember who was who, there were a lot of characters and then most characters had a matching Pegasus. Overall this story was very slow. In fact nothing really happens till the very end of the book. This story had potential to be really good but was very disappointed with how very little action there was.
pagese More than 1 year ago
I haven't read Robin McKinley before. This one sounded interesting and the cover really drew me in. But sadly, I didn't enjoy this book nearly half as much as I had hoped. And I was sadly disappointed in the ending. I wasn't sure what to think of the human characters. I liked Sylvi for the most part. I think it's because she's a princess that she acts way older than her age. I really enjoyed her relationship with Ebon. I wish we got more of it. I also like Ebon because he was different in so many ways from the other Pegasi. But, I also liked all the other Pegasi that we get to know in this story. Their history and differences were really fascinating. I really liked Sylvi's father. He's regal and displays all the attributes necessary to running a kingdom, but I also liked the love he shows to his family. So were did the story fall for me? It was in all the details. I was bored beyond belief for the first 100 pages or so. There was too much information on the alliance and the history between the Pegasi and humans. There wasn't enough interaction between the two. I wanted a story about the relationship between humans and Pegasi, and not the reasons behind it. The last half of the book was better, but I still felt like the story was too complex. My last problem was the ending. I was just getting into the story around 300 pages or so and realized, I don't think this problem is going get resolved. And spoiler or not, I wish I had known before had that it doesn't. The book ends in such dramatic fashion that I flipped through the pages again just to make sure I wasn't missing something. I was not happy. Less happier still when I go online and realize that the author doesn't always write sequels to her story. I am happy to say though that a Pegasus II is slated for 2012 (according to the author's website). I'll read the damn thing because the author left me hanging so badly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful story about a friendship that transcends every barrier. Beautifully written, and as captivating as only a McKinley novel can be, Pegasus is a must-read for fantasy lovers. Impatient readers might want to hold off for a bit though, as the book ends with a cliffhanger that isn't due to be resolved until sometime in 2014, according to McKinley's blog.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Warning! This is not a stand-alone book! It is only the first of three planned books and his first book ends in the middle of a paragraph (literally!), and a really sad and shocking one at that. The second book is already more than 2 years past its original publishing deadline and the author has admitted publically that she is really struggling to continue the story. The writing is brilliant and the story (so far), engaging, but given the high probability that it will be years (if ever) for the story to be finished, there is no way i would spend $15 for this first enstallment!
Bocelli86 More than 1 year ago
I was so excited to read this book because of all the great reviews and because, let's face it, the IDEA of Pegasus has such amazing potential. Sadly, I was disappointed. It was all I could do to get through the first two hundred pages of historical and background mumbo-jumbo! It seemed to me that there was too much "information" and not near enough character development. The glimpses of character development I did see were great, but so few and far between that it all just felt like a tease. By the time the book did pick up and actually become interesting and exciting, I knew there would never be enough time left to conclude anything! You wade through 200+ pages of boring background story, get about 100 pages of excitement and the oh-my-gosh-this-might-actually-turn-out-good feeling, and then it ends. Apparently there is a sequel coming out in 2012 and I will probably have to read it just to feel like I have gotten some closure. Hopefully the next book will suceed where this one did not. The story of a princess and a pegasus is too exciting to have been told so poorly. On a side note I will say that the cover art is absolutely, amazingly beautiful. Kudos to the artist!
Anonymous 8 months ago
Robin McKinley is one of my favorite fantasy writers, and this book is no exception. I adored the thoughtful exploration of communication and platonic relationships.
FearNo5 More than 1 year ago
Don't read this book.  At least not until you have its sequel in your immediate possession.  I am a fan of McKinley's work and this book does not disappoint--until it abruptly ends. Unresolved. McKinley has a rambling style of storytelling that I find engrossing and apparently some others find boring or confusing. I supposed you give in to it and you like it--or you don't. Her books are more like experiencing the dream of a fairytale. Trying to make mundane sense out of her books is like trying to analyze your flying dream while you're having it. Just fly.  I did feel that what happened at the very end of the book should have been an event much earlier on, say, a third into the book. I wasn't bored with the other stuff, just thought that particular event needed to be moved up and then I wanted to read the rest of the two-thirds of it, dammit. It's not even anti-climactic as an ending, it's just not an ending.  I just spent this whole Sunday in a feverish daze (finally getting a break from work) to read this book in one sitting. When I came to "the end" I kept trying to load the next page. I thought there was something wrong with the digital nook copy I had purchased. When I realized that that was not it, I frantically went on the internet in search of the sequel.  There isn't one.  This book was released in 2010. I found a blog post in 2012 saying the author had (been forced to?) split what was originally one book into three parts. This is the first. That explains a lot. The bad news she announced (in 2012) was that she was having trouble rewriting the second section into a second book.  Today it is December 21st, 2014 and I found a blog post from two days ago saying no updates on a sequel. I want to tear my hair out.  I. Want. To. Tear. My. Hair. Out.  Many of her books have a slow (sometimes too slow of a) buildup, and then an abrupt (sometimes too abrupt of an) ending but this is on another level.  Do yourself a favor and don't start reading it until you know you can finish it (when all the sequels are out). 
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It didn't seem thought out, there was no real plot, no happy ending, and it often "rambled." Very disappointing.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the most amazing book. Kinda confusing, but AMAZING!!!!! LOVED IT!!!!!! the socond one- Ebon is coming 2014....... nowhere NEAR soon enough!!!!!!!! I wish i could give this more stars....it deserves billions!!!!!!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Veyr good book
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was the best book ive ever read . I wish there was more
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I realli did like this book but what about the ending! I reeeeeeeeaaaaaaaallllllllllllllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyyy hope there is a second book!
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