Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Chalice" by Robin McKinley

Robin McKinley writes young adult novels that don't feel like they're aimed at teens.  While her characters are smart and witty, they have a maturity about them that is hard to find in contemporary books for the under 18 crowd.
Summary:  Bee keeper Marisol is Chalice and therefore is responsible for the well being of her people and demense until a new Master can arrive to set the land and magic back to rights.  The new Master will need to rely heavily on Marisol as Chalice so he can attune himself to the land and coach it to respond as it should.  There's only one problem...the new Master is a third level fire priest and nobody knows if he is fit to live among humans, much less save the demense from self destruction.

What I Liked:
  • Chalice has a clever plot.  McKinley has created a whole new world with a rich and well thought out history.
  • The characters are excellently developed.  Even the most minor character has a back story that adds to the richness of the plot.  The main characters are likable, brave yet have enough human vulnerability that the reader can relate to them with ease.
  • This is a fresh take on magic.  The normal fantasy plot lines are included in the tale, but there are enough twists and unique ideas to keep even the most avid fantasy reader interested.
What Drove Me Nuts:
  • The end of the story felt thrown together, almost as if the author had to keep the book under a certain page limit and therefore ended things much too quickly.
  • I thought Marisol was uncharacteristically negative towards the end of the story.
  • The climax of the story wasn't that climactic.  Perhaps I was expecting just a little more.
Rating:  This young adult book can hold its own against any mainstream bestseller written for adults.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Also Read By This Author:  "Shadows", "Sunshine", "The Hero and the Crown" and "The Blue Sword"

Reviewed By:  Tami

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