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The Pearl of the Soul of the World: The Darkangel Trilogy    by Meredith Ann Pierce order for
Pearl of the Soul of the World
by Meredith Ann Pierce
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2008 (1989)
Hardcover, Softcover

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Pearl of the Soul of the World completes Meredith Ann Pierce's stunning Darkangel Trilogy. In the first book, The Darkangel, former slave girl Aeriel was abducted and wed by vampiric darkangel Irrylath, but was able to return him to mortal form. In the second episode, A Gathering of Gargoyles, Aeriel journeyed through Westernesse, seeking the meaning of a riddle and gathering gargoyles to her entourage.

Now, in The Pearl of the Soul of the World, an army has been raised against the White Witch, Oriencor, who has 'beleaguered the whole world with drought.' But Meredith Ann Pierce never makes it easy for her young heroine - as this episode opens, Aeriel is a wandering amnesiac pursued by monstrous weasel-hounds, and with a silver pin stuck deep into her head. She encounters dwarf-like duaroughs and is helped by them. Together they flee monsters and follow a Call to a dome-enclosed City, where Ancientlady Ravenna extracts the pin - allowing Aeriel to recall what passed before.

Ravenna completes a final riddle for Aeriel. She also passes on to all her own vast knowledge of what runs this world in the form of a pearl, destroying herself in the process. Ravenna tells Aeriel the identity of the White Witch and the history that led her to evil, and assigns her the task of bearing the pearl to the world's heir. So, as Irrylath and the great army approaches, Aeriel once more travels on her own. She makes her way to the Witch's Mere and confronts Oriencor, who sends her horde of monsters against Aeriel's friends.

It's the truth, as enclosed in the pearl, that ultimately wins the day and allows the restoration of the world to begin. Aeriel learns her fate - and it's not one she would have chosen. But when she's alone once more, she discovers that she still has her shadow for company and comfort. If you haven't discovered this remarkably imaginative fantasy series yet, then I recommend it to you and suggest you begin at the beginning with The Darkangel.

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