Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Book Review: Chalice by Robin McKinley


Robin McKinley

Publication Date: September 8th 2008

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons

Pages: 265

Genre: Fantasy

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?

A captivating tale that reveals the healing power of duty and honour, love and honey.

Reading Chalice was a lot like sinking into a warm bed with a cup of tea, comforting and simple. Chalice marks my first McKinley novel, who, from what I have been hearing around from other authors, is a classic in fairytale retellings. Of course Chalice is not a fairytale retelling but its own book but I did enjoy it quite the same.

The beginning felt a bit rough, the timeline jumps all over the place, but once you get settled into the book it is easy to follow. It is a lot like a meandering river, getting to the places when it needs to and feeling no need to hurry the plot.

The book is simple and short, feeling more like a novella than a novel and made up of four parts and no chapters. The true problem for the characters to overcome doesn't pop up until the fourth part, but the exposition about the characters and world they live in that fills up the first three are very important so that the fourth part flows nicely.

What surprises me is that, when I was beginning the book I wasn't sure I was liking it all that much, but after finishing it I have a sense of comforting happiness about it. I have a feeling that this is a book I'll reread when I need something just to distract myself from the world, that doesn't deal with serious real world problems when I need to escape.

I recommend this book to lovers of McKinley, I do think that possibly other books she has written might be a better introduction to her, but I did enjoy this one enough that I'll pick up other ones.



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