Chalice

Chalice

4.2 100
by Robin McKinley
     
 

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Beekeeper Marisol has been chosen as the new Chalice, destined to stand beside the Master and mix the ceremonial brews that hold the Willowlands together. But the relationship between Chalice and Master has always been tumultuous, and the new Master is unlike any before him.See more details below

Overview

Beekeeper Marisol has been chosen as the new Chalice, destined to stand beside the Master and mix the ceremonial brews that hold the Willowlands together. But the relationship between Chalice and Master has always been tumultuous, and the new Master is unlike any before him.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Fans and new readers alike will greedily devour McKinley's latest, a high fantasy as perfectly shaped and eloquently told as Beauty and The Hero and the Crown. Humble beekeeper Mirasol has been chosen to take on the key ceremonial role of Chalice, the woman charged with maintaining the province's well-being by communicating with the (sentient) land. She is keenly aware of the suffering brought on by the misrule of its former Master: "[The province] Willowlands was restless, hurt and unhappy... delirious as a child with a bad fever." Hope flickers when the former Master's brother returns and assumes the role; but because he is now an Elemental priest of Fire, he may not be able to perform the duties. Mirasol and the new Master are drawn to each other, even though she suspects their union is prohibited, and their smoldering attraction-plus the gorgeously evoked magic and the escalating threat that Willowlands will be usurped-gives this tale its sizzle. In the best McKinley fashion, the fantasy realm is evoked in thorough and telling detail, with the energy of the narrative lending excitement to descriptions of even the most stylized rituals. A lavish and lasting treat. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)

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Booklist
. . . a narrative that is a sensory delight, laden with tangible tastes and scents.
VOYA - Mary Arnold
McKinley's latest high fantasy is another winner. The well being of the demesne of Willowlands depends on maintaining balance for its populace and the sentient land they call home. Each member of the Master's Circle plays a crucial role, none more than the Chalice, whose ceremonial rituals bind the Circle, the land, and its folk under the Master. Young, orphaned, beekeeper Mirasol struggles to rise to the task following the sudden deaths of the former Master and his Chalice, under whose dissolute rule Willowlands is nearly destroyed. To ensure success, the former Master's younger brother is recalled from his training as an Elemental Priest of Fire, but his touch burns and it is apparent that he may not be equal to the task. His young Chalice is determined that together they will find a way to thwart the villainous plots of the Overlord and preserve their beloved Willowlands. Rich and complex in characterization and description, McKinley's entire world is filled with rituals and nature lore, steeped in cultural history and tradition but with room for new responses and new roles for both Chalice and Master. It is a coming-of-age tale of a thoughtful, honest, and committed young woman, a true heroine whom readers will cheer. Reviewer: Mary Arnold
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up

The demesne of Willowlands is in a state of upheaval-great fissures in the earth have opened and swallowed livestock, fires have broken out across the land, the earthlines rumble in disquiet, the people are unsettled. The former Master of Willowlands, a reckless tyrant who reveled in his power and neglected his role, died heirless. His younger brother was sent away many years earlier to become a fire priest-a calling from which none return to the mortal realm. Yet, he is one year from completing his apprenticeship, and the Circle sends for him to heal his troubled land. Mirasol is the young beekeeper called to become Chalice, to bind together the Circle, the people, and the demesne into a unified entity. She has no training or experience, and the realm is so fractured that uniting it under the rule of a Master who is no longer completely human, and who can touch nothing without burning it, seems an impossible task. As delicately structured as the chambers of a honeycomb, this novel begs to be read slowly. The people of Willowlands are interesting and well crafted, and despite a conclusion that seems rushed and incomplete, this novel is a delight. Because this story is slow paced and does not happen in complete chronological order, reluctant readers will struggle with it. However, mature teens who long for beautiful phrases and descriptive writing will find themselves drinking in this rich fairy tale as if it were honey trickling down their throats.-Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO

Kirkus Reviews
This may not be Innisfree, but Yeats would recognize the "bee-loud glade" within its pages. McKinley's latest depicts vividly a rural world rooted in the earth and its powers-forces that are regulated by the concerted efforts of an estate Master, his Chalice and their Circle of advisors. In this world, the role of the estate Chalice is to provide balance to the earthlines and to bind Master and Circle to serve the land. Mirasol, a beekeeper, has assumed this role on an estate that's been driven to the verge of destruction by its former Master and his weak Chalice-with a new Master who is no longer fully human. McKinley is a master of fantasy writing: Elegant prose and lyrical descriptions capture reader interest while an increasingly tense plot maintains it. Primary characters, especially Mirasol and the new Master, are limned with care. The narrative's climax and resolution are satisfying and not at all pat. This tale will go down with fans like a spoonful of honey while attracting new readers to McKinley's previous works. (Fantasy. 12 & up)
From the Publisher
-High fantasy as perfectly shaped and eloquently told as Beauty and The Hero and the Crown. A lavish and lasting treat.+ -Publishers Weekly, starred review

-Readers who long for beautiful phrases and descriptive writing will find themselves drinking in this rich fairy tale as if it were honey trickling down their throats.+ -School Library Journal

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399246760
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/18/2008
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.40(h) x 0.98(d)
Lexile:
1070L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Robin McKinley has won various awards and citations for her writing, including the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown and a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword. Her other books include Sunshine; the New York Times bestseller Spindle's End; two novel-length retellings of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and Rose Daughter; and a retelling of the Robin Hood legend, The Outlaws of Sherwood. She lives with her husband, the English writer Peter Dickinson.

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