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3.81  ·  Rating details ·  13,423 ratings  ·  1,439 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 265 pages
Published September 18th 2008 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
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Elizabeth Dragina I would definitely suggest this book! It was my favorite of all of her books! I didn't like beauty as much as this one..... Chalice is definitely more…moreI would definitely suggest this book! It was my favorite of all of her books! I didn't like beauty as much as this one..... Chalice is definitely more exciting!(less)

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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  13,423 ratings  ·  1,439 reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Mar 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Upping my rating from 2 stars to 3 on reread. Chalice is a YA fantasy that has distant echoes of "Beauty and the Beast," a favorite theme of Robin McKinley, but only in the most general sense: a young woman has to figure out how to save a worthy man who is caught in a magical bind.

Mirasol, a beekeeper, is the "Chalice" for the Willowlands demesne. The Chalice is one of the most important roles of the Circle, the group of people endowed with magical powers to protect their land. She binds the
Jun 22, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
Mar 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favourites
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
Sep 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, good-uns, ya
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 ...more
Rosamund Hodge
This book is basically the most delightful and heartwarming fever dream I have ever had.
Nov 28, 2008 rated it did not like it
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,
Apr 09, 2013 rated it liked it
I'd go 3.5 stars, with a big buzz for novelty! My first fantasy by Robin McKinley, this is a unique rendition of Beauty and the Beast.

Mirasol, humble beekeeper, newly promoted to the position of Chalice, who nurtures the lands.

"She thought, I need no cup. I am Chalice. I am filling with the grief and hurt and fear of my demesne; the shattered earthlines weigh me down; I am brimming with the needs of my people.”

The "beast" (our hero), is a human who has been transformed almost completely
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I don’t know why I keep coming back to this book — one I originally gave just three stars — but I think this is probably the fourth time I’ve read it. This time, because I saw a copy for three euros in Dublin and just had to, had to, had to; up to now, I didn’t actually have my own copy, which you can imagine was annoying and of course I had to rectify it.

I think the thing is, it’s such a warm story. Mirasol and the Master’s relationship is so tentative, so careful; their attempts to reach out
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favourites
For a book that I originally gave three stars, and found somewhat... disappointing, it probably seems weird that I've come back to it for a second time. But actually, I've grown very fond of it. I love the fact that it isn't just a generic medieval Europe, but something that has some of those aspects while having rules, rituals, histories and roles of its own. And yet at the same time, it's still rooted in the earth: in the common elements, in water and milk and honey, in the straightforward ...more
Jan 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
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
Elizabeth Dragina
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memorable
Alright after my second reading I have determined to give this book the review it deserves! ;)

Mirasol is the type of character that I admire and respect. So getting to read this whole book from her detailed and backtracking personality was amazing. I felt sorry for her responsibilities that had been shoved upon her, and I loved her loyal bees.

Lipinar was definitely a creepy, but lovable male character and being that he was dealing with similar things as Mirasol I liked him immediately. As
Oct 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: youngadult
A beautiful book. The simple, yet lyrical style of the writing reminded me of McKinley's "Door in the Hedge" stories, or her phenomenal "Beauty." I loved every minute of this book, which was romantic and suspenseful, with her trademark humor as well. Charming.
Aug 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-books
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
wanderer (Para)
Another buddy read with Keikii of Keikii Eats Books, this time gone much better than the last.
"It is a strange Mastership and a strange Chalicehood," he replied. "The last Master and Chalice died ill, and without Heir or apprentice. We are making new ways because we must. We have had one burning between us. Let us have the sweetness now."

Beekeeper Mirasol has recently been chosen as Chalice, the second most powerful person in Willowlands, whose task is to bind the land and its people together.
Oct 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
You know that one author whose books you reach for when you need the equivalent of a reading hug? Or maybe it’s just one book, but the prose somehow exudes cozy? Yeah. I have a whole shelf of those, and the name on the spine is Robin McKinley. Her books are great for anytime (they’re almost all about girls doing things), but I find my eye catching on that particular shelf most often whenever I’m in a rough patch. I’m in the midst of one right now – first I fractured my face playing hockey, then ...more
May 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Sherwood Smith
Oct 18, 2008 added it
Shelves: fiction
I so looked forward to this book, but it was so disappointing to me. Yet another iteration of Beauty and the Beast, this one with the Beast character even farther away, so we rarely hear him speak, just get pages and pages and PAGES of Chalice talking to herself about him, and asking herself questions she couldn't answer. What little action there is gets mostly fed in flashback form.

It felt like a short story stretched out over endless paragraphs of verbiage that never quite added up to more
C.E. Murphy
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 24, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Alyssa Nelson
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
In Chalice, McKinley crafts a world in which the ruling class has a deep connection to the land and keeps the kingdom stable by using that connection to calm the land and encourage it to flourish. Mirasol has been appointed as Chalice, second only to the Master himself, and it is her job to keep the Master’s Circle (his team of advisers), the land, and the people united. However, her Master is different, since he has been chosen only since his brother died, and nobody knows if he is quite human ...more
Feb 02, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Jan 20, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
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 ...more
Sep 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen
Dec 19, 2018 marked it as on-hold-maybe-finish-later
I just couldn't do it...I tried to 30% but it just dragged.
Jul 29, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-star
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.
Jan 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Selah Pike
Aug 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
Robin McKinley doing what she does best—building an entire magical system around something simple, every day, even mundane. I’ve always been a honey fiend, so reading about all the different kinds and flavors was just enchanting!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
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 ...more
Oct 05, 2008 rated it liked it
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
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Bees! And magic. [s] 4 37 Sep 03, 2017 08:39PM  

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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
“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.” 76 likes
“Laughter went on and on, like sunlight and stone, even if the human beings who laughed did not.” 53 likes
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