The Silver Pear by Michelle Diener

The Silver Pear by Michelle Diener(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

An unlikely princess . . .

Kayla is determined to master her new-found abilities as a wild magic witch. She’s learning everything she can so she and her betrothed, Rane, can put a stop to the sorcerers who are recklessly gathering their power, building up their magic to take each other on in a war that will destroy the countries of Middleland.

An even more unlikely sorcerer . . .

Mirabelle’s father was one of the greatest sorcerers in Middleland, but when he used the magic in the silver pear to bespell his pregnant wife to give birth to the greatest sorcerer who would ever live, he never thought that child would be a girl. Mirabelle is nothing like a usual sorcerer, confounding every expectation, and when she comes to the rescue of Rane’s brother, Soren, she makes a decision few sorcerers would. She saves him, rather than herself, losing the silver pear in the process.

And using magic always exacts a price . . .

With war not just a possibility but simply a matter of time, there are no neutral parties and no fence-sitters in Kayla and Mirabelle’s new world. Everyone is either an ally or an enemy and there is a price to pay for everything. The question is, how high will it be?

[Full disclosure: Michelle Diener gave me a pre-approval widget for NetGalley so I could receive an ebook in exchange for an honest review.]

I must admit that while I downloaded The Silver Pear in fall 2014, I was so busy that I didn’t have time to re-read the first book, The Golden Apple and so I didn’t actually get to read it until a couple weeks ago in February 2015.  So by the time I finally got to read this book, I was more than ready to slip back into Michelle Diener’s awesome fantasy world to learn Kayla and Rane’s fates.

What makes this book different from the first one is that it’s told from four different perspectives grouped into two main sections: Kayla and Rane get alternating chapters before the viewpoint switches to Soren and Mirabelle for alternating chapters before switching back to the first pair.  In the hands of some authors this would never work but Michelle Diener makes each character’s voice so distinct that it would be very hard to confuse the points of view of the four different main characters.  And the alternating points of view sometimes overlap but they’re never just a recap of what happened in the head of another character just one chapter ago.  That makes the plot move forward constantly at a really unrelenting pace; it’s part of the reason why I stayed up to read this book until way too early in the morning.

As with the first book, the characters are amazing.  Kayla still remains my favourite because I love seeing her grow into her power as a wild magic witch but Mirabelle is an interesting new addition to our unlikely quartet.  She has a fantastic backstory that’s filled with both tragedy and privilege and once she learns to trust Soren she reveals it bit by bit in a natural, very organic way that never slows down the plot.  Both Rane and his wayward brother Soren were excellent characters as well and you can tell that both of them care very much for not only their sibling but for the amazing women they travel with for a large chunk of the novel.  All four main characters are well fleshed-out but Michelle Diener also never neglects her secondary characters, particularly Ylana, the earth witch Kayla froze in The Golden Apple.  Ylana is not all that she appears to be and she definitely plays her cards close to her chest.  At the end of the day, you never really know what side she’s going to choose and that kept me in suspense for a fair bit of the novel.

So here we have a great plot and very believable, realistic characters, but how was the world-building?  Like with the first book, I was blown away by Michelle Diener’s world-building.  Only this time our adventures are not confined to the Great Forest!  We get to see many of the kingdoms that make up the world of The Silver Pear and the toll the feuding sorcerers have taken on those kingdoms.  Battles between sorcerers can get very, very nasty and the politics behind which king backs which sorcerer are complex and often fraught with danger.  Will Kayla and the gang be able to corner the worst sorcerer, Eric the Bold and his companion before they both destroy the kingdoms?  I’ll leave it up to you to figure that part out when you read the book.

Really, if you read and loved The Golden Apple, you’re going to love the second installment in the Dark Forest set.  If you haven’t picked up the first book I would definitely recommend reading it before tackling The Silver Pear but it’s not totally necessary because of the handy summary of events Michelle Diener has at the beginning of the novel.  I can’t recommend both books enough so if you like unique fantasy with three dimensional characters and fascinating worlds, you can’t go wrong with either this book or the first book.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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