Sunday, March 11, 2012
Chalice by Robin McKinley
Chalice by Robin McKinley fits the bill for me today -- as a nice, soothing read, it was a good antidote to the violence of my last book. This is my second time reading this book, and I enjoyed it just a much this time as last time. McKinley's writing has its flaws (it tends to wander a bit) but for me, her books stand up well to rereading.
Mirasol is Chalice, a member of the ruling Circle of the Willowlands demesne, second in importance only to the Master. All is not well in her demesne, though -- the previous Master and Chalice died in tragic and somewhat shocking circumstances, so Mirasol never had the chance to apprentice and learn the work of the Chalice. The Master's younger brother has been called home from the Elemental Priesthood to take his place as the new Master of the demesne, but it's rumored that he went so far into the Elemental Priesthood that he is somehow no longer human. Moreover, there are those, both with and outside of the demesne, who would like to see the new Master fail, and Mirasol with him. Can an inexperienced Chalice and Master work together to save the demesne -- or did their respective positions come to them too soon, or too late?
There's not a lot of action in this book, and while there's definitely conflict, it's generally interpersonal and running under the surface. The world-building is really interesting, though it can also be just a little bit confusing at times. I wouldn't necessarily recommend this as a point of access to McKinley's works, but for fans of hers, it is certainly a worthwhile read.
(Reviewed from my personally purchased copy.)