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Chalice by Robin McKinley

About 15 minutes ago, I finished reading Chalice by Robin McKinley. I am now seriously in love with Robin McKinley and the characters of Mirasol and Liapnir, and I am grateful to Leila at Bookshelves of Doom, who blogged about this book and her desire for honey with bread, and how it made her heart fit to bust. Not that I disagree with her: I am craving honey cake, and will settle for honey in my tea. And I'd really like a cloak of bees, or to just, y'know, pet some. And I have a strong hankering to find some fabric with bees on it to use in my decor. Seriously. Maybe gold fabric, to echo the cover of the book. That is a seriously gorgeous cover, is it not?

As anyone who has read this book and is being honest will tell you, this is a quiet book, and it will not be everybody's cup of tea. It requires a bit of work to sort out, not just at the start but much of the way through. Some of that is because our main character, Mirasol, is also busy sorting things out, and some of it is because of the fairy-tale way it is written, and some of it is because that is how the author willed it, I believe. It is not the sort of book for someone who wants action, now, no - not fast enough - NOW! But if you can be quiet, and if you have a bit of patience - only a bit, you don't need a truckload - this book is magic.

Chalice had me wondering about the natures and identities of characters throughout. The story opened itself bit by bit to pull me in with its offerings of sweetness and pain, and by the end I nearly took my husband's head off when he dared to walk in and try to speak to me with a page and half to go, because I'd been pulled that far into the book that his reminder that there was an outside world was decidedly unwelcome and unpleasant, and besides, the tension that had been twisted up so tight leading up to the ending hadn't been all the way released yet, and I really, really wanted, no, needed, to savour that last honeyed dollop and finish the story in full.

And when I finished, I took a deep breath. And I petted my cat (who makes an excellent reading companion because she is small and quiet and warm). And I burst into tears, because a heart can't be that full without making room somehow, and evidently, squeezing moisture out of the eyeballs made just enough space to accommodate it.

Kiva - loans that change lives

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( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 16th, 2009 01:32 am (UTC)
What a beautiful review!
Feb. 16th, 2009 01:56 am (UTC)
It was a really beautiful book. I hugged it at the end, before hugging and petting the cat. And crying.
Feb. 16th, 2009 01:50 am (UTC)
Wow! It is going on my reading list right now!
Feb. 16th, 2009 01:57 am (UTC)
I think that you will like it. It really isn't everyone's sort of thing, but it really worked for me.
Feb. 16th, 2009 02:03 am (UTC)
If the writing is good - and it sounds like it is - then I probably will like it. I'll let you know!
Feb. 16th, 2009 02:31 am (UTC)
You really make this book sound appealing... I may have to find it!
Feb. 16th, 2009 04:03 am (UTC)
I loved it - and it sneaked up on me and became gripping, even though it didn't begin that way at all. It began with a bit of confusion, in fact.
Feb. 16th, 2009 03:47 am (UTC)
This has been on my to-read list for a while now. I may have to bump it up a few notches.

Have you read any of McKinley's other stuff? I've enjoyed pretty much everything I've read by her, but my favorite is The Hero and the Crown. The heroine, Aerin, is wicked awesome. And also, a redhead. :)
Feb. 16th, 2009 04:05 am (UTC)
Bump it up.

The writing is gorgeous, and I am so in love with the book and its characters that I intend to buy a copy to keep and re-read (it was a library book). I've not read any of her other books yet, and I'm miffed that my library is closed tomorrow, because otherwise I'd be there pulling books off the shelves.
Feb. 16th, 2009 11:21 am (UTC)
wow. some book!
Feb. 16th, 2009 02:53 pm (UTC)
There is much to love about it. Must get my own copy.
Feb. 16th, 2009 02:13 pm (UTC)
I read this last week, and was waiting to send off my revisions before reviewing it. It was the BEST, BEST way to relax after stressing about writing.

McKinley has been my favorite since I was a little girl. I recommend BEAUTY the most, but they're all delicious and comforting. CHALICE is an excellent example of her work. Some of them (SUNSHINE and DRAGONHAVEN) have a very different voice, but the others are exactly the same level of magic and sweetness. *love*
Feb. 16th, 2009 02:56 pm (UTC)
I borrowed CHALICE from the library, but will be buying my own personal copy ASAP for rereading purposes. It was a hugging book (the kind you hug after you close it), and I like to have my own copy of hugging books. To say nothing of me being a re-reader. Will get her other books as I am able - I cannot believe my library had the nerve to close for President's Day!

Ah well . . . gives me time to finish Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock.
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Feb. 18th, 2009 09:53 pm (UTC)
I will be looking for more of her books at the library tomorrow afternoon. And buying a copy of CHALICE for myself, because I want to hold it and pet it and call it George. Or maybe lick it (on account of the honey). In fact, I will buy it very soon, so I can reread it and savour it a bit more slowly.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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