I just finished Robin McKinley’s newest book, Chalice, and now I want bees. Well, I’ve always wanted bees, since my formative years were warped by Alas, Babylon – I’ve even 3/4 trained myself to enjoy honey, and have a killer honey granola recipe here – but now I really want bees. I realize that hers are romantic magical bees,  but bees! Pollination of orchards! Honey from horehound blossoms that contains the plant’s medicinal properties! Wax for candles!


And someone’s come up with a sensible way of housing them that will prevent the majority of modern diseases! Hooray for offering Warre’s Beekeeping for All as a free .pdf. There is no way I would be able to do this in town, now, but this is high on the list for when I get my hypothetical acres. For now I shall just knit skeps


Bee hives in Minot, ND 
You can see them in the air!

I was going through some back catalog of Diana Wynne Jones that I had never found when I was younger, and found The Year of the Griffin, a sequel to The Dark Lord of Derkholm which was itself quite good. I’ve noticed that in a lot of her later work, there always seems to be some tidy romantic pairing-off. A Sudden Wild Magic did that too, and it rather annoyed me at the time. But with Griffin, the Entire Last Scene is EEEEverybody getting a romantic interest, including an “I’ve seen you from across the room for 10 minutes, let’s get married!” which… grr. It’s kind of a shame, because otherwise I loved her characters. The stuff explicitly said for kids, like her Chrestomanci series, is much better. Maybe that’s why these are marketed as young adult. I likely would have been pleased that everything wrapped up nicely back when I was 12. Compare that with Chalice – it doesn’t matter whether or not the main characters get together, because the rest of it is full of sufficient emotion that it doesn’t need that to wrap up the ending. (God, and Dragonhaven? Bliss. Finally someone tells what happens AFTER the big climactic scene everyone else would end with.)


2 thoughts on “Chalice

  1. Eric says:

    How do you know she’s from the city?

    When she asks “Why are all those dressers out in the middle of that field?”

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