genre: young adult fantasy
With only the Master to answer to, the role of the Chalice is embedded into the life of the demesne. It is her responsibility to ensure that the earth itself, its trees and streams, animals and people are bound together in such a way that there can be harmony and prosperity. Whenever there is a new master, there will be discord and unrest until things can be bound and settled.
As a new Chalice, Marisol is overwhelmed when the new Master of the demesne arrives and he is more fire than human. Her task is made lighter only by the bees over whom she has had keeping since before becoming Chalice - that and her sure knowledge that she must help her strange new master or else ruin will follow for all the demesne.
I really enjoyed this Beauty and the Beast story. I have no complaints about the characters - Marisol is as strong and capable a heroine as I'd expect from McKinley. The bees and their honey make a very intriguing plot devise that really made this story more interesting for me. I liked the world building, too, my only real gripe is that I wanted more from the romance. By the end (which was a bit perfunctory) I felt disappointed and let down by the lack of romantic climax and its abrupt resolution.
Not sorry I read it, just wanted more.