Author: Robin McKinley
Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons – Penguin Group, Inc
Release Date: November 2, 2010
Princess Sylviianel has always known that on her twelfth bir34thday she too 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 finds the idea of her binding very daunting. The official phrase that 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 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 magicains believe there is a reason humans and pegasi should not fully understand each other…
This was a interesting book for several reasons. I loved the pegasi in the book – except that I pictured them like the traditional horses with wings, not the birdlike equine animals they were described as in the book. I liked the way the book was written from Sylvi’s point of view, and the the organization of the story, with flashbacks and memories, too, even though it was a little confusing at times.
The history aspects were interesting, but definitely on the long-winded side. Some parts were necessary, but others just bored me a bit. Sometimes it was almost Lord-of-the-Rings-ish in the way the descriptions dragged on, even though it was well-written and usually gave a pretty good picture of the scenery and action.
My favorite character was probably Ebon. He is so energetic and understanding, he wasn’t a complicated character. He was exactly as he seemed, with no hidden motive or political agenda. I loved how he and Sylvi could be true friends, and I loved how they interacted with each other. All of their conversations were interesting, but normal. Away from all the obligations of humanity and royalty, they could be themselves around each other, and that relationship was the best part of the book.
My favorite scenes in the book are the binding between Sylvi and Ebon and Ebon’s 16th birthday present to Sylvi. I loved the immediate unique personality Ebon had and how they hit it off with their first words to each other. Ebon’s present to Sylvi was so thoughful, and even though there was a lot of politics that went with it, it really showed Ebon’s loyalty, love, and dedication to their friendship. The cover was what originally intrigued me, and these scenes definitely made it worthwhile.
The whole entire magician thing, and the conflict in the book, didn’t really show up until the middle/end of the book (except for the Fthoom conflict in the beginning) which ended VERY abruptly, so I really want to read the sequel, except that it doesn’t come out until 2014. So, I’m pretty much stuck with that for another two years. Oh and the only other thing I have to say, is that the names in the book are weird, but it doesn’t really take away from the story.
Even though it can be a little confusing at times, I did enjoy the book. It was different in the fact that there was no romance, and little action. Mostly, it was a story of growing up as a princess, and struggling to be a person instead of a princess. I would recommend this book to people of all ages with a little dedication in them to get to the good parts!