[DWJ] Best Books of 2010 - various thoughts

jodel at aol.com jodel at aol.com
Sun Mar 6 15:25:56 EST 2011

Yes, McKinley's 'Pegasus' was a big surprise--and not at all in a good 

Particularly since McKinley just doesn't *do* "series" stories. She'll 
tell the same story 2 or even three times over. She'll sometimes 
revisit the same world, but it's never the at same period or regarding 
the same characters.

But, despite the lack of *any* mention of a second half of the story 
forthcoming, I flatly cannot see the story ending where the book did. 
The bad guy wins and it all ends in tears? I rather think not. I'm 
working my way through the last three chapters, so I don't know whether 
the "magical artifact of great significance" has been deployed or not, 
yet, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it won't be, and it that is 
the case, then a second volume is all but guaranteed.

However, with the assumption of there being a 2nd volume, I will have 
to say that I think the part of the story that we've got is very much 
in McKinley's zone of expertise. I didn't feel as overwhelmed and 
buried in detail as I did with 'Sunshine'. or 'Dragonhaven' , or even 
'Spindle's End'. It wasn't as spare or tight a story as 'Chalice', but 
it had the feel of being a much "bigger" story than 'Chalice'. And the 
pacing is slower and more deliberate than usual.

And once again I got the feel, as I do with Jones, of readdressing, 
recalibrating, and reworking earlier themes. There is very obviously a 
lot in common between 'Pegasus' and 'Dragonhaven', but there are other 
works of McKinley which have also worked some of the same ground.

And, another point which leads me to expect a second volume of this 
tale, is the fact that McKinleys overriding central theme--of *all* her 
stories--is that of finding one's proper *work*, and learning to do it 
well, and the protagonist of 'Pegasus' hasn't found her proper work 
yet. She's developed skills, and is thinking to turn one skill set into 
her work, but it is fairly clear from the narriative that what she 
thinks she is going to spend her life doing isn't even close to the 

So I am hopeful, upon the whole. But I would have apreciated a warning.

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