My rating: Liked the place, but the food was bad (2/5)
The Silver Pear is the second in Diener’s Dark Forest series. I had read the first installment, The Golden Apple, and I’m happy that I got to read the ending of the story, since I was left feeling that the central conflict was unresolved. Sorcerers were bent on gaining more power than they had a right to and Kayla, the heroine of The Golden Apple, was just gearing up to use her new found affinity for wild magic and take on the big bads. The Silver Pear shows readers how Kayla does this, and introduces another young heroine with special abilities of her own.
The Silver Pear picks up right where The Golden Apple left off with Soren’s story. Soren has been magically transported to the dungeons at Halakan, where he meets a beautiful sorcerer, who happens to be the only women sorcerer in existence, Mirabelle. Mirabelle is a different sort of sorcerer, she’s not bent on destruction and aside from her powers, she has more qualities to those generally held to witches. When Mirabelle helps Soren escape, she loses a valuable source of power, the silver pear given to her by her father. Soren desperately wants to find his way back to his brother and resume their fight against the dark sorcerers; however, Mirabelle is a complication he didn’t count on and he feels compelled to also help her reclaim the silver pear.
At the same time, readers also return to the narrative of Kayla and Rane, the main characters from The Golden Apple. Kayla and Rane have returned to the home of the earth witch Kayla enchanted. Kayla needs to develop her magical ability if she has any hope of defeating the dark sorcerers that threaten her people. Rane, while supporting Kayla, also wants to find his brother. Both goals ultimately converge with Soren and Mirabelle’s storyline leading to the final showdown.
I have to admit that I was disappointed with The Silver Pear, and I had a difficult time getting through it. What I really liked about The Silver Pear was the introduction of new characters, Soren and Mirabelle. And I do enjoy series that continue featuring new characters in each subsequent book, bringing in a new perspective that takes the narrative in a new direction. What I did not like about this addition here was the jarring changes in character point of view. Readers spend some time with Soren and Mirabelle and then just as things got interesting, Kayla and Rane were the focus. I found this technique a little abrupt and I had a hard time recalling events that had happened when different points of view were returned to.
The inclusion of multiple points of view also had a negative impact on the romance in The Silver Pear. Soren and Mirabelle were set up immediately as a couple, again this is something that I like, but I found the bouncing to an alternate storyline made their romance lose momentum and feel less well developed. There was no real emotional connection between Soren and Mirabelle, so once again I’m left feeling as though the story will continue.
At this point, I do not know if the author is planning on additional installments, although I do feel that the book was set up to allow for this. If there are further books about the Dark Forest, I’m not sure that I will be committed to reading them. Ultimately, I have a hard time connecting with the characters and I find that the books seem to be geared towards a younger audience. I’d be much more likely to recommend this to a teen than I would an adult.
*Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
If you like the writing style in In the Silver Pear, I also suggest that you check out Mercedes Lackey’s Five Hundred Kingdoms series. Lackey’s series re-imagines familiar fairy tales and re-packages them. Like The Silver Pear, Lacey’s series is easily accessible to younger readers. My favourite is The Fairy Godmother.
Another novel that I think has a similar feel to The Silver Pear is Sharon Shinn’s Summers at Castle Auburn. Again, this one is appropriate for young readers and I think the pacing will appeal to fans of The Silver Pear.
Lastly, I recommend The Prince of Ill Luck by Susan Dexter. A cursed prince wins a maiden that doesn’t want to be won, together they set off to break the curse. The anamosity between the prince and the maiden is more similar to The Golden Apple, but will still appeal to fans of the atmosphere of The Dark Forest books.