Sunday, January 8, 2012

Chalice by Robin McKinley

Mirasol is the newly appointed Chalice for her village called, Demesne, after the previous Master and Chalice died mysteriously and tragically leaving the House and land in political chaos. A younger brother who was sent to live with elemental priests of fire is called back to the House to run it but he is no longer human. Mirasol greets him as tradition when he arrives but he accidentally burns her with the touch of his hand. Seen as a bad omen, he is not accepted by the people of the village, and struggles to rise above his insurmountable problems.

The story has great details regarding the land, bees, and duties of a Chalice. There is not much dialogue and the pacing is slow as a result. The writing is confusing in spots; for instance when Mirasol’s eating indoors and the faenorn happens she refers to herself as the Chalice in third person and I thought she was talking about the past when she was explaining why she didn’t see the faenorn happen. It was an awkward passage. Also, the bees are critical to the story so the author writes about them in great detail which I found boring. I did find the fire priest intersting but I wished his character was developed more in the story.

The book has some violence. The vocabulary and concepts are going to be difficult for elementary students to comprehend. The duties of the Chalice are to keep harmony with the earth and Mirasol does this using honey and magic by healing earthlines. I would recommend this story for middle or high school students. I borrowed this book from my public library in the U.S. and it isn’t available in our libraries. You can always request it be purchased for the library if you are interested in reading it.

A fairy tale twist of Beauty and the Beast.

Reading Level: Young Adult
:-):-):-) 3 out of 5 Smileys

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