Friday, 5 November 2010

‘Pegasus’ – Robin McKinley

Sometimes being involved in a blog tour can work out really well as it gets you in touch with an author that you’ve never read before and you discover a great read; that was definitely the case when I was introduced to Tim Lebbon’s work for example. Other times, you’re left with a book that really didn’t work for you and you’ve pretty much promised it coverage as part of an author’s blog tour. This is the case right now with me and Robin McKinley’s ‘Pegasus’... I don’t think my post will feature as part of the tour highlights but wanted to say something anyway.

Here’s the blurb,

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 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.

I first came across this book over at Aidan’s blog where he had a little moment of waxing lyrical about the lovely cover art. I can see where he’s coming from, it does look gorgeous doesn’t it? The blurb also sounded intriguing, certainly intriguing enough to give it a go when offered a copy. Unfortunately, that was about as far as it went for me.

I should say at this point that I’ve heard a lot of good things about Robin McKinley and her work from other bloggers who have grown up reading her books. If that describes you then you’ll probably get a lot out of ‘Pegasus’, same deal if you have ever dreamed of being telepathically bonded to a flying horse. I didn’t fall into either of these categories however so was perhaps at a disadvantage right from the start. I also have to admit that my ultimately putting the book down unfinished is as much to do with me, and where I’m at right now, as it was the book itself. I’m after escapism and that means a book has to grab me straight away, this didn’t happen here.
What I got instead was an interesting enough back story (humans coming to the lands of the Pegasi) that was at odds with McKinley’s introduction to her main character. Maybe this would have all changed later on in the book but there just didn’t seem to be anything about Princess Sylvi that made her stand out as a character in her own right, she was just there to be bonded with a flying horse and kick the story off. Like I said, I’ll happily attribute this to my own impatience but I was really after a character that would be engaging straight away...
I also found McKinley’s introduction to Sylvi more than a little haphazard in the way that we visited past events from her life with little or no warning that this was going to happen (at least as far as I could tell). I kept finding myself wondering how these events were meant to link up only to realise that there was reminiscing going on and I hadn’t realised, something that really interrupted the flow of the plot for me. In the end, I gave up trying to follow it.

I’ve only read one other book by McKinley so it may well be that this is just her style and something she’s done over the years. If this is case then it may well be that you’ll get a lot more out of it than I if you’re a fan or happy to go with the flow and see where it takes you. ‘Pegasus’ certainly looks like there’s a story in there worth reading but it’s not one that I’m prepared to fight my way into right now. If anyone wants to let me know what I’m missing, maybe I’ll give it another go sometime...

8 comments:

Scott said...

Sad to hear, the cover was gorgeous and I used to enjoy McKinley....BUT funnily enough when I sat down the other day and tried to re-read THE BLUE SWORD by McKinley (something I last read as an 8-year old) and I couldn't get past page 20. I started to wonder how I ever enjoyed it as a youth. It really does have a disconnect with the reader and seeing as you found the same, it's probably an author thing.

My co-blogger Chris still enjoys her work, but I think I've gone off of her.

yllektra (force-oblique) said...

I have this book on my TBR list, the cover is gorgeous and I love books and movies having to do with horses and the emotional bonds they form with their riders and such, so it may be enjoyable for me! *g*

Thanks for the review! :)

Stacy said...

I am actually an avid fan of Mckinley but this book seems like an experiment for her skills. Its nothing like I'm used too, actually I wish I had done what you did because even at the "end" you still confused and disappointed. OK I GET IT! This is only the first half, but why bother with publishing half of a book that people have to wait a year for...just write one book or at least end the first decently. Anyway this is not a good book from her, so I wouldn't count this among her better or decent work. Much too choppy and the relationship is actually starting to creep me out. I hope she realizes they are the wrong species and what happens when Syl has to get married, I can't see Ebon not being jealous. Anyway Chalice and Sunshine are better recent works by her.

Graeme Flory said...

Scott/Stacy - Glad to hear it's not just me. A lot of people really seem to enjoy McKinley's work so I was wondering if I'd missed something here...

Yllektra - If that's the kind of thing that you're into then I reckon there's definitely something here for you. Not for me though... ;o)

Kelly aka yllektra(force-oblique) said...

@Graeme: I see.
Well, I have to admit that I also have hr book "Sunshine" in my TBR list and it is more my style, but I am always open to new genres!

Btw, I just received Zombie Apocalypse today!
I only had time to browse through it because I had to leave for work, but ZOMG it was amazing!!
All this writing in the form of letters and emails and newspaper clippings!!
BRILLIANT!!!

Anonymous said...

My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

Linda said...

Forced myself to read to the end [as I stupidly chose it as my holiday read] and thought it was a load of maudlin rubbish that didn't go anywhere. Someone has posted that it was the first half of a story but it seemed to me to be just a lot of words strung together that couldn't make up it's mind as to what it was. It seemed to be trying to reach some kind of spiritual credibility but was just a big yawn. What a waste of money.

Jennifer K. said...

Until recently I would say Robin McKinley is my favourite author hands down. I hated Dragonhaven where she departed from girl heroines to have a boy befriend a dragon. I never finished it. It had all this long long run on sentence which felt a lot more like one of her blog posts than the way she wrote in previous novels. I have to say that I am on page 122 in Pegasus and its also not up to standard so far. I don't disagree with your comments as well as the comments made by some others who have read it. She says she won't write something unless the idea grabs her violently and forces her to write it. I am starting to think the ideas are not shaking her so much anymore. Chalice was good and Sunshine was absolutely excellent. Its a comfort book that I read over and over when life is feeling hard. Someone alluded to the relationship between the pegasus and Sylvi starting to feel creepy by the end. That thought faintly crossed my mind earlier tonight. I started to wonder if by some stretch of the imagination it is going to "Beauty and the Beast" yet again which Robin McKinley admits is her major story that she seems to just find new ways to tell over and over. Is the Pegasus going to turn into a human male at some point? I actually dislike that I am bothering to ponder this.