Pages: 404, hardcover
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Date Released: November 2nd, 2010
Genre: YA / fantasy
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.Buy it now from The Book Depository
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. (Taken from Goodreads)
There is just one thing I hate about McKinley's books: they're usually very very long and read like a text book for the first 100 pages or so. Even in this book, there were actual excerpts from fictional texts, info dumping everything about this fantastical world, making it a chore to read.
The text excerpts also had an odd feel to it, and awkward wording, In an attempt to sound old, the word "the" was spelled as "thee", which was fairly annoying and grammatically wrong. Even if it was done like that on purpose (which, I'd rather it was, since I refuse to believe that any editor wouldn't catch something as glaringly obvious as that), it was done in a really tacky and there was no reason for it whatsoever.
It was hard for me to properly visualise the pegasi in my minds. They were described as having hands on the end of their wings, which kind of killed my vision of pegasi for the remainder of the story. She made a completely new creature and used it here, it was hardly a pegasi anymore. But still, I enjoyed how she developed them and made this world a part of who they are.
The names bothered me a bit. A lot of them were so typical in a fantasy setting, like Fthoom, Glarfin, Lrrianay and Fgeelaa (how the heck do you even pronounce them?). It made it really difficult to remember the characters and their roles. Because there were so many characters with these sort of names, I kept getting them mixed up.
And finally, the ending was completely rushed. Everything happened in the last dozen or so pages, which was a frightening change of pace, considering the incredibly slow writing style. Plus, that there will be a sequel annoys me a bit. I didn't honestly think that there needs to be a sequel. Everything could have been compressed into one book, if only those pages and pages of backstory and lengthy descriptions were edited out.
Now, onto the good parts.
If you don't mind reading a long, almost plotless story, then you'll be blown away by the amazing world-building. If there's one thing I admire about McKinley, it's her astounding ability to create this magical, perfect world. Everything about this world is so perfectly crafted. From the backstory (which, I admit was delivered in a slightly sloppy manner) to the landscape, everything was carefully thought out.
Now, while there is next to no plot in this story, there is a great deal of character growth instead. The whole story revolves around the friendship of a young princess and her pegasus, and over the years, they mature, they grow. It's actually quite a lovely journey. You can actually learn a lot from this friendship.
So, I'm not sure if I hated this book or loved it. I suppose I'll let the rating decide for me:
Cover Art: 5
Level of Interest: 3
Total Rating: 3/5 stars