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Chalice by Robin McKinley
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Chalice (2008)

by Robin McKinley

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,271716,206 (3.83)104
  1. 71
    The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley (Aerrin99)
    Aerrin99: Outside of the author, both books also share a similar feel and feature an interesting and strongly-written female character struggling to deal with her given role.
  2. 30
    The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: To continue a bit of the bee theme.
  3. 30
    Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn (MyriadBooks)
  4. 20
    Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal (emperatrix)
  5. 10
    Uprooted by Naomi Novik (MyriadBooks)
  6. 00
    The Keeper of the Mist by Rachel Neumeier (Herenya)
    Herenya: Certain similarities in the worldbuilding, and both stories are about dealing with unexpected responsibilities and learning on the job about the magic abilities which are part and parcel of that.
  7. 00
    A Keeper of Bees: Notes on Hive and Home by Allison Wallace (infiniteletters)
  8. 00
    A World Without Bees by Alison Benjamin (infiniteletters)
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Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
I forget how slow McKinley's books can be until I start reading one of her books. But generally they are pretty good. Rated on it's own, it was a good story. Rated in relation to McKinley's other books, it's not my favorite. I feel that the book could have benefited from more back story. I never felt close to any of the characters because there wasn't much time dedicated to them. Also there was a style of writing in the book that caused a lack of flow for me. There was a lot of looking backwards. If you want to start reading McKinley, don't start with this one. ( )
  Kassilem | Oct 19, 2016 |
Mirasol is a happy beekeeper in a little cottage in the Willowlands--until the Chalice and her Master die. First, her goats suddenly must be milked thrice a day and her bee hives are literally overflowing with honey. Then, the Circle tells Mirasol that *she* is the new Chalice, even though she had no apprenticeship or training, an unheard of disaster. And *then*, the new Master arrives--and he is no longer human. He has trained for seven years to become an Elemental priest of Fire, and returning to the moral realm is hard for him. Between his weakness and Mirasol's ignorance, will the Willowlands survive?

Of course they will. Unlike McKinley's other novels, there is no darkness here, and thus, little tension. The pace and writing are good--so good I could hardly put the book down--but I never doubted the outcome. Mirasol has a common-sense, good-hearted approach that I admired immediately. She is understandably increasingly worried and desperate to find a way out of disaster for the Willowlands. For her, McKinley perfectly captures the confused circling of a mind searching for a solution. Mirasol's spiraling thought processes provide a narrative energy that the antagonists of the story lack.

This is a sweet little book, but there are moments of depth to it. Mirasol is a peasant who has abruptly come to power, and her difficulty at her new class is both obvious and subtle. She cannot make herself sleep on new sheets, or reprimand the Heir even though she outranks him. Her friendships are damaged by her new power--the other peasants are uncomfortable with her. She thinks paper is a wild extravagence. I was pleased that Mirasol's diffculty being Chalice does not just lie in the magical portion of the role, but also the social/political. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for good-willed fantasy.

A quote I particularly liked:
"'We are all only mortal,' said the Master, even more slowly. 'We do only what we can do. All the Elemental priests have certain teachings in common: one of them is that everyone, every human, every bird, badger and salamander, every blade of grass and every acorn, is doing the best it can. This is the priests' definition of mortality: the circumstance of doing what one can is that of doing one's best. Only the immortals have the luxury of furlough. Doing one's best is hard work; we rely on our surroundings because we must; when our surroundings change, we stumble. If you are running as fast as you can, only a tiny roughness of the ground may make you fall.'" ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Lovely!! ( )
  andieaaase | Nov 30, 2015 |
Lovely!! ( )
  andieaaase | Nov 30, 2015 |
An interesting world that takes a little while to get the hang of. McKinley never directly explains how The Circle works but it can be gleaned as you go along. The language is beautiful and the concept interesting but it definitely would have benefited from a little more explaining. ( )
  Rosa.Mill | Nov 21, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
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to Molly, Gard, Chiron and Guenevere
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Because she was Chalice she stood at the front door with the Grand Seneshal, the Overlord's agent and the Prelate, all of whom were carefully ignoring her.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399246762, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:12 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A beekeeper by trade, Mirasol's life changes completely when she is named the new Chalice, the most important advisor to the new Master, a former priest of fire.

» see all 2 descriptions

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