Review Blog

Apr 28 2009

Chalice by Robin McKinley.

cover image

G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2008.
(Age 11+) Recommended. I have never been disappointed with a book written by Robin McKinley and this is no exception. Mirasol is a humble beekeeper, who tends her bees and sometimes hears the earthlines speak to her. She is astounded when she is chosen to become the Chalice, a very important member of the Master's Circle. It is her role to bind the Circle together with its new Master and keep the Willowlands and its people healthy. But Mirasol has not been trained for this important duty and the new Master is a priest of fire whose very touch burns. How can she give the Master his chance to lead his lands to prosperity?
McKinley never repeats her plots. Each book is a new and unique experience and Chalice brims with originality. Her heroine is a strong young woman who must contend not only with bees that are making huge amounts of honey and goats who are producing bounteous milk but the enigmatic Master who burns beneath his cloak and who also has doubts about his ability to lead.
This is not an action packed fantasy with sword wielding characters and wicked sorcerers; rather it is a rich and rewarding story about duty and love of the land. The tension revolves around whether her heroine and hero will be able to overcome their doubts and fears and reach their full potential.
The beautiful language ensures that the reader will remember the images of Willowlands, the earthlines and most of all the healing power of honey.
Intelligent readers who want their fantasy laced with intricate language, wonderful images and a quiet romance will need to go no further. This book is a keeper.
Pat Pledger

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