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?
I've always liked Robin McKinley's books, so when I saw that this one was available, I grabbed it. Unfortunately, it's not going to be a favorite. I enjoyed Mirasol quite a bit as she muddles through becoming the Chalice and trying to keep her land together.
One of the problems with Chalice is the writing style. It jumps back and forth in time and can honestly get quite confusing at times. And you never really get a feel for what the magic in the world really is and where this particular land and people fall in respect to the world as a whole. I also finished the book thinking, "this is it?". It's also an incredibly difficult book to sum up. Most of the action happens toward the end of the book and almost felt tacked on. It's like most of the book is slow and meandering and then rushes to end. Robin McKinley is a beautiful writer, but this is not the way to be introduced to her work. To be honest, I was disappointed. Not sorry I read the book as I did enjoy it, but it really didn't live up to my expectations.