Chalice
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Chalice

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  7,996 ratings  ·  1,078 reviews
As the newly appointed Chalice, Mirasol is the most important member of the Masters 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...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published September 18th 2008 by Putnam Publishing Group
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Nancy
This was the type of Robin McKinley book I like -- sweet yet powerful female main character with a job to do, an otherworldly land, and an understated but moving romance. It's not her best book ever, but it's a return to the kind of book she used to write in the days of my favorites, THE BLUE SWORD and BEAUTY, and I enjoyed it. The bees were a wonderful touch.
Nikki
I always rather suspected I'd reread this book, and now seemed like a good time, when I'm doing a lot of revisiting of other books. It stuck in my mind for a long time, in a way not many books do. I found myself still wondering how Mirasol would deal with certain situations, how she and the Master would get on.

I found the worldbuilding fascinating. The idea of a Chalice, the idea of the earthlines, all the roles of the Circle... I still think it would be fascinating to see the Circle functioning...more
Angie
Robin McKinley knows first lines. You read just the first sentence and immediately feel like you've entered a world entirely complete and utterly its own. And you want to sit down and stay awhile. Chalice is no exception to the rule. The world reminded me a bit of the kingdom in Spindle's End, both of them deeply entrenched in a sticky sort of magic with a heritage and weight to it. The characters reminded me a bit of those in Rose Daughter, purposefully a bit vague and left up to your imagin...more
Bonnie Gayle
This book was too much in need of a good editing for me to enjoy it. I sat down with it 6 times, and only got to page 34...and then I quit.

What the book really should have done was have the beginning section, up until she gets burned, and then go back in time and talk about how she becomes Chalice, and then go on with the story.

Instead, there's a line of dialogue, such as "are you warm enough?" Then 6 paragraphs of something that reminded her of, and things she did in the past, and then finally,...more
Mfred
I did not like this book as much as I had hoped I would. Robin McKinley is one of my favorite authors and I was eagerly anticipating this release, as it seemed a return to the types of stories she did with The Blue Sword, Hero & the Crown and her fairy tale retellings.

The story was pretty good, but kind of uneventful. The language was lyrical, but without punch or impact. I was immediately drawn into the connection between Chalice and Master, but didn't see enough of them together over the c...more
Rachel
I love pretty much everything Robin McKinley writes and Chalice is no exception. It is clearly her story with all the original world building, interesting characters, and unique situations we expect of her. But it also has her flaw – which is the long, long, long passages on things that don’t really move the story forward (in Sunshine this was cinnamon rolls, with Chalice it is beekeeping).

Chalice is the story of a beekeeper that becomes second in command of a ‘demesne’ (I’d liken it to a barony...more
skein
Enjoyable - but so confusing and so slow (see: confusing) that I only really had a grasp on the world & its politics after a hundred-some pages. And now that I understand, I feel like I ought to read it again.
McKinley does an admirable job of creating a totally distinct world & immersing us in it, as usual, but I swear at one point I was going to give it up, just to get away from 'but she was Chalice', or 'the Chalice must' or 'this, too, was Chalice'. And then she started on with honey....more
Kathleen
Hoorah for novelty! My first fantasy by Robin McKinley --- another rendition of Beauty and the Beast, but fairly unique. The beast is a human (our hero) who has been transformed almost completely into Fire. For about seven years he's been removed from humanity, learning how to be a Fire Mage. He's got black and red eyes, blackened skin, and a hot body. (Too hot to touch.) ツ He's kind and wise, yet pessimistic about his ability to tend the earth's troubled spirits. Nonetheless, the task falls to...more
Wealhtheow
Feb 04, 2009 Wealhtheow rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: mistful
Shelves: fantasy
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...more
Jeannette
I really enjoyed this book and I think I will enjoy it even more when I read it a second time. The author fills the book with strong images that touch all the the senses: sound, sight, smell, taste. I kept thinking of Tiffany Aching and Granny Weatherwax, but without Pratchett's absurd humor!

I do wish the relationship between Mirasol and the Master could have been developed a little further, but there is definitely an opening left for a sequel.
Jackie
Despite it's intriguing premise, the first half of McKinley's book struck me as rather confusing and not at all engaging. The book opens with the arrival of the new "Master," who, because he was given to the priests of Fire as a young man, is no longer quite human. The opening sections then move back and forth in time, in the third person but limited to the point of view of the main character, Mirasol, who has been thrust into the role of "Chalice," adviser to the Master and second authority in...more
Nioniel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shomeret
As I read, I compared McKinley's approach to Stephen Donaldson's in the Thomas Covenant series. I think that Donaldson portrays the land as an object that is acted upon and magic as largely dependent on artifacts that must fall into the proper hands. In Chalice McKinley portrays the land as alive and reacting to human events. Magic in this novel involves speaking directly to the land. Donaldson's heroes are forever fighting villains over artifacts. McKinley's fight villains with their minds and...more
Kate
Let me first say that I love Robin McKinley. I think she is an excellent writer. I loved Beauty and many of her other works. I don't know if it was my mood, but I just couldn't get into this book. I kind of felt that the editing was not clean enough- first of all, the whole setting is a new world, and was explained so slowly as to be excruciating. I felt the book kept going from present to past in a way that was distracting. I wish that the world would have made sense quicker and that the book o...more
Rachael
I gave this four stars not because it was the best Robin McKinley book I've ever read, but because I was so pleased to see her returning to what I think of as "classic Robin McKinley." I hated Dragonhaven--it was this rambling mess. And I really didn't like Sunshine either. But this--it made me hope for another Damar novel. The only thing that frustrated me is that it felt a little too light--there wasn't really as much substance to it as I would have liked (and she did that frustrating thing wh...more
C.E. Murphy
Oh, my. I knew early on how it would end, more or less (Robin McKinley is, after all, the writer who said perhaps we all have only one story to tell, and everybody knows which one is hers), but that didn't stop me from devouring CHALICE. It's up there with THE BLUE SWORD and SUNSHINE for me.

Also, as a writer, I admire the passage of time: the book takes place over a year and a bit, and she moves through weeks and months at a time with a few elegant sentences. It's not easy to do well, and I lov...more
Lindsay
Yeah! Robin McKinley is back in fine form after the disappointing Dragonhaven. I loved this story. Sort of a Beauty & the Beast but with a lot more fire and honey.
Hayden
I loved McKinley's The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword. They were fun fantasy adventures starring badass warrior ladies. But I really hated Chalice.

For one thing, the first 100 pages (and most of the rest of the book) are all about the intricate rules and procedures of a magical, medieval-ish government. In those first 100 pages, there is only one conversation. I guess this is what separates the real fantasy fans from people like me, because I was bored out of my gourd.

But my real criticis...more
Cait
So, don't get me wrong, I am all about the girl-power-plus-magic genre, and this had added beekeeping, so extra points, but I've discovered that I have a problem with Robin McKinley.

She builds these fantastic worlds... populates them with interesting and well rounded characters... there is a dramatic build up... and then the book is over.

It feels like once she sets everything in motion, she feels it can all be concluded in, you know, four pages. While this is technically true, it feels like a...more
Nikki
I was quite doubtful about Robin McKinley's Chalice, initially. It took a while to really get going, and while it did, there was a lot of skipping around between time periods, which I found a little confusing. I read it on my ereader, which made it a little more difficult to just turn back a few pages and reread stuff to connect up the dots and sort out my confusion, which might have helped -- but at the same time, I should've been able to read the story linearly.

I did enjoy it quite a lot, thou...more
Debbie
Mirasol was raised to be a beekeeper and to care for her family's small plot of land, so she is completely unprepared when she is chosen as the next Chalice, the position second only to the Master of the land. Not having had the usual apprenticeship, she has to figure out her role as Chalice on her own, learning what she can from books. She can't even be helped by the new Master, who, banished years before by the old Master, his brother, has gotten so far into his training as a priest of Fire th...more
Margaret
Mirasol used to be a simple beekeeper; then she was unexpectedly chosen to be Chalice, part of the mystical Circle which governs Willowlands. She feels very unready for her role, and it's even worse when the new Master arrives, and together they must face a dangerous threat to their land.

As with Dragonhaven, the balance between interiority and action feels off, but not as badly, or maybe it's just that I liked the main character more. I did like how McKinley starts the narrative in medias res, w...more
Merrie Haskell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Megan Lillian
I know that Robin McKinley fans are absolutely in awe of her writing, and even though I haven't been wowed by her work, I keep reading reviews and being hopeful... She writes books that I want to read, want to love, and secretly want to write myself - she just doesn't write them well enough in my opinion. This book is a case-in-point. The idea is fascinating: a "kingdom" with a council-type ruling structure, filled with pagan-like rituals, a strong female protagonist who makes magic with honey b...more
Hirondelle
McKinley´s Honey book, and such nice thoughtful reflection on magic. Maybe McKinley´s most McKillipesque book ( what would be the reverse I wonder? any combination of either these ladies would be great!), it was such a treat to read this. Not all books I buy hoping they are treats turn out to be so!

I loved the atmosphere, loved the pace, and some of the dialogue. As a quibble perhaps this was too much Mirasol´s book, the romance is too tangential - not that there is anything wrong with the roma...more
Samantha
Chalice was a great book, even if it was slow in the begining. Mirasol was just an ordinary bee keeper and woods keeper in the demesne of Willowlands. After the Master and Chalice die under horrible circumstances, Willowlands is thrown into chaos. Mirasol has problems of her own, her bees hives are pouring honey and her goats are fountaining milk, making her work harder. She was never expecting to become the next Chalice, in charge of binding the lands. The dead Master's younger brother must now...more
hadashi
due to my enduring love for Hero & the Crown and of course the formative-for-young-me Blue Sword, i grabbed this off the library shelf just because it’s Robin. although nowhere near as good as the aforementioned books – not enough passion perhaps?, it was still a nice chewy story, kind of like a big hunk of fresh-baked pumpernickel bread, all rich and complex-tasting but still just simple bread.
Mirasol is Chalice, a position she inherits and inhabits uncomfortably, still preferring to raise...more
Lucy
Mirasol thought that she would be a beekeeper all her life, and spend her days tending to the bees she inherited from her mother, selling their honey, and tending to the woodright she inherited from her father. But when the Master and Chalice of Willowlands died suddenly without leaving successors, everything changed in a flash. The Master's brother had to be called back from exile with the Elemental Priests of Fire. And all augers and indicators declared that Mirasol was the new Chalice, needed...more
Aerin
"Please be as you were. I will try to help you." She hesitated, and pulled out the handflower honey and added a little more to the mixture in her cup. The water was faintly gold against the silver cup; the small stones in the bottom shone like gems. She did not want god and silver and gems; she wanted ordinary things, commonplace things. Trees and birdsong and sunlight, and unfractured earth. "Let the earth knit together againt, like - like darning a sock. Here are the threads to mend you with."...more
Cindy
Jan 18, 2009 Cindy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: 999, teen, blog, fantasy-teen
How many times can Robin McKinley rewrite Beauty and the Beast? Well, if every retelling were as fresh and original as this one, she could keep it up for as long as she wanted and I would keep right on reading them!

Chalice starts with a young woman awaiting the arrival of the new Master of their lands. The young woman is named Marisol, but is called Chalice, because that is her customary function. As Chalice, she is to work closely with the new Master and restore the Willowlands to harmony and b...more
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5339
Born in her mother's hometown of Warren, Ohio, Robin McKinley grew up an only child with a father in the United States Navy. She moved around frequently as a child and read copiously; she credits this background with the inspiration for her stories.

Her passion for reading was one of the most constant things in her childhood, so she began to remember events, places, and time periods by what books...more
More about Robin McKinley...
Beauty (Folktales #1) The Blue Sword (Damar, #2) The Hero and the Crown (Damar, #1) Sunshine Spindle's End (Folktales #3)

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“And if my choice is to sit graciously in my best robes and accept the inevitable or to bail a sea with a bucket, give me the bucket.” 54 likes
“Laughter went on and on, like sunlight and stone, even if the human beings who laughed did not.” 41 likes
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