Friday, January 16, 2009

Chalice by Robin McKinley

As the newly appointed Chalice, Mirasol is the most important member of the Master’s Circle. It is her duty to bind the Circle, the land and its people together with their new Master. But the new Master of Willowlands is a Priest of Fire, only drawn back into the human world by the sudden death of his brother. No one knows if it is even possible for him to live amongst his people. Mirasol wants the Master to have his chance, but her only training is as a beekeeper. How can she help settle their demesne during these troubled times and bind it to a Priest of Fire, the touch of whose hand can burn human flesh to the bone?

Robin McKinley weaves a captivating tale that reveals the healing power of duty and honor, love and honey.

This book throws you right into the middle of things. My advice is to read the inside of the jacket cover first! I'm glad I did, or I would have been lost from the beginning. McKinley tells the story of Mirasol who has been thrust into the position as Chalice, the second highest ranking member of the Circle. Because of the sudden deaths of the previous Chalice and the Master, Mirasol has had no training, no apprenticeship. She relies on what she can find in books and mostly on her intuition.

Still the land is aching and in upheaval without a Master to guide it. When the new Master returns from the Priests of Fire, he is inhuman. His touch burns. He is frail and weak. And many doubt that he can bring them together. Only Mirasol is brave enough to speak to him, openly and honestly. Together they have to try and save their land and its people before the Overlord finds a way to take it back.

McKinley's storytelling is overly descriptive and repetitive at times. There are many places where Mirasol is referred to as Chalice rather than an individual. It can become confusing to the reader to follow the story, especially flashing from the present and the past. However, the end result of the book is a promising one. If you can stick it out, you find it amazing that McKinley can make a story about a beekeeper and her honey fascinating.

Reading Rating:
This one took quite a while for me to get into. It is very repetitive (you will get sick of reading the word Chalice!), but once you start to piece the story together it flows more smoothly. The ending made the hard work worth it, especially if you are a Robin McKinley fan.


Em said...

I really loved this book. It was my first Robin McKinley book and I'm definitely reading her others now.

Allison said...

Definitely read Beauty, Rose Daughter, and Sunshine--all by her as well. Those are my favs :-)