OK, so here's my original review from my livejournalThis book is slow going at first, but also one of the most amazing novels I have ever read. It is very hard to describe what reading it was like for me — I think Robin McKinley herself says it best: It was like -- what was it like? It wasn't like anything. It was like flying when you have no wings;...it was like hearing the colour red; it was like being someone else. Pegasus p. 240 How do you describe a people so strange, so foreign, that human beings cannot possibly communicate with them, except by magic, and only then with great difficulty? How can you postulate that an alliance between these people and humans lasts, strong and unbroken, for a thousand years — until suddenly, two young people meet who can speak to each other? Robin McKinley seems to do the impossible in this book. She works real magic, and also creates two of the most appealing teen characters to appear in print this year in her heroes, Syvianel and Ebon. I would have rated this book with five stars instead of four, despite the slow start, except that it is really only half a novel. The ending is, hands down, the worst cliff-hanger I have ever read. Robin McKinley herself says that she was remembering the ending of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Two Towers: "Frodo was alive, but taken by the enemy." Yes. It is that bad, if not worse! The second half of the story will be published in 2012. If you want to save yourself some frustration, you could wait 'til then and read the whole story at once. But, if you follow my example and read Pegasus now, you will have a unique and lovely reading experience. UPDATE: We have since learned that we don't get the rest of the story until 2014! Which is a very long wait! Plus, there may be two more books, instead of just one.Ah, well. I'm still looking forward to reading the next one.