Synopsis: Princess Sylviianel had always known that on her twelfth birthday she would be bound to her own pegasus. All members of the royal family have been thus bound since the Alliance was made almost a thousand years ago; the binding system was created to strengthen the Alliance, because humans and pegasi can only communicate formally, through specially trained Speaker magicians. Sylvi is accustomed to seeing pegasi every day at the palace, but she still find the idea of her binding very daunting. The official phrase is that your pegasus is your "Excellent Friend." But how can you be friends with someone you can't talk to?
But everything is different for Sylvi and Ebon from the moment they meet at her binding - when they discover they can talk to each other. They form so close a bond that it becomes a threat to the status quo - and possibly to the future safety of their two nations. For some of the magicians believe there is a reason humans and pesagi should not fully understand each other . . .
Review: It took me a while to become engaged in this story. The first chapter and a good deal of the second is pretty slow, laying down the background so the Reader may fully understand what is going on. Normally I don't like it when the Author takes several chapters to outline back-story, for it seems to show a weak writing style. Good authors can integrate the necessary background while they keep the story moving, but in this case, Robin McKinley was right to take a few chapters to orientate the Reader.
Pegasus really does not have a definite storyline. The whole thing felt like an introduction (and judging by how this one ended, there will be at least one sequel), and while it was an interesting introduction, I still wish it had had a more tangible story. The characters were all acceptable and likable. Sylvi was not irritating, and though a lot Ebon's modern slang irked me, as a character, he is still quite an adorable pegasus. It was hard, though, to take the majority of the characters seriously, for it seems that Pegasus was the "dumping ground" for all of those horrible and annoying names that all authors have lurking at the bottom of their Possible Names List. There was one character who was referred to as "the tall, expressionless footman." I kept wishing that I knew his name, but as soon as it was discovered, I immediately wished that I hadn't, for I could no longer keep a straight face when he was present. The pegasi names were not so bad, but over half of them were unpronounceable - as were some of the pegasi words, and there is no pronunciation key.
However, Pegasus was overall quite interesting and mostly enjoyable. Just don't expect anything entirely exciting. I do warn, however, that you will want some tissues nearby towards the end of the book, for it does end quite sadly (but with the promise of a sequel, so do not despair!). I love Robin McKinley's writing - she is one of those fantasy writers who actually does a good job. I wouldn't say Pegasus is her best work, but it is still quite fun. It will be added to my small collection eventually.
Overall Rating: JJJ