Chalice -- Robin McKinley
Me: Hey, when you stop at the food store on your way home...
Josh: Oh, I'm stopping at the food store on my way home?
Me: ANYWAY, could you pick up some honey? And some good multi-grain bread?
Josh: Are you reading that book with the bees on the cover?
Me: ... ... ... No.
Josh: I'm so sure.
Me: I AM NOT PREDICTABLE!!!
"And Willowlands is in trouble because these rights were not honoured."
"Yes," she said wearily. "Yes." She did not say, And it is why two--lame, faulty, unfit, what do you call a priest of Fire exiled from his Fire? What do you call a small woodskeeper suddenly ordered to be great?--unsuitable, unready people were made Chalice and Master, and why they cannot make a damaged land whole. It is all wrong; and the frame, the pattern, the yoke that holds us all, is not broken, but it is breaking.
It isn't fast-paced, there isn't much action or dialogue and it requires a good amount of work on the part of the reader -- I know that Chalice isn't one that everyone will fall in love with, but I did. I just... this is going to sound lamer than lame, but it made my heart feel bigger. Or something. Not in a Grinch way. It gave me that same feeling I get very occasionally after lying around on the lawn for hours and hours in high summer, not doing anything in particular except listen to the high insect hum -- it made me feel like everything was interconnected.
I'm trying to describe the same feeling, I think, as Emily Byrd Starr's "flash". It was lovely. And I'm not going to yap about it because A) I'm not going to be able to do it justice and B) Chalice is one of those books in which part of the appeal is in figuring out the world and I don't want to ruin it for anyone.