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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pegasus by Robin McKinley ‘…and they were haloed in all thee colours of thee rainbow.’


A McKinley fan from way back, I’m unsure as to whether I enjoyed Pegasus because I’m a fan or for the story. It could simply be that I realize that I have to wait for the next book to be published and I am in no mood to leave this place.
All the right ingredients are here but things seemed a little wordy to begin.
We have a story filled with feisty and believable heroes, a Magician’s Guild with dastardly mages like Fthoom, ‘whose eyes glittered-like jewels in sunlight, not like human eyes at all’, pegi shamans; indeed a myriad of aspects colliding in the mystery of time and happenstance, of tradition and what is and what could be. Towards the end of the book I had more questions than at the beginning. I found myself fearful of what the future holds for this amazing world—what wicked plots. It seems an unnamed dread overshadows the pegi-human alliance, possibly its very survival. Overtones point to Fthoom as a key player here.
The cross cultural relationships between Pegasus and human, between Princess Sylviianel and Ebon are the stuff of fabulous fantasy whilst reflecting very human interactions. I was always sure Sylvi and Ebon were going to be caught practicing their flying. This would have been a major incident and breach of Alliance protocol.
The story brings into focus many questions. Why can Sylvi and Ebon communicate more than others with Pegasus-human bindings? What is it about the magic of the human magicians? The mystical caves where the pegi sculpt their story appear to be at the heart of the of the pegi culture and hold importance for the world in general. The caves impact leaves the reader as confused and overwhelmed as Sylvi.
Again I admit to being a tad disgruntled about Pegasus and I can’t clarify why. Maybe because it didn’t end with one book, maybe I just don’t like having to wait to continue the adventure.
(Should I be like one acquaintance who doesn’t start to read a series until the whole series has been published—in the case of Jordan’s, Wheel’s of Time series that would have been a very long wait! I first started reading the Eye of the World in 1990. I finally gave up because I couldn’t take it anymore. Interestingly I don’t feel like that about Steven Erikson’s Malazan’s series).
McKinley has created a vivid world. I enjoyed my time here even though this is not the best McKinley novel I’ve ever read (certainly Deerskin and Sunshine are up there at the top of that list). The words Sylvie read about the pegi from the first contact group give voice to their beauty and presence, imparted to us as reader.
They are a little like horses, but yet far more fine than any horse, even a queen’s palfrey: they are a little like deer, except deer are rough and clumsy beside them; and their wings are huge, huger than an eagles’, and when thee lowering sunne struck through their primaries, for as they cantered towards us they left their wings unfurled, thee light was broken as if by prisms, and they were haloed in all thee colours of thee rainbow.’

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