Saturday, December 24, 2016

James Review -- The Clan Chronicles: Reunification: This Gulf of Time and Stars

This week I decided to review The Clan Chronicles: Reunification: This Gulf of Time and Stars by Julie E. Czerneda. Long before the story takes place, there existed the Clan, members of a race identical in appearance to humans with strong telepathic powers and the ability to travel at FTL speeds using a dimension known as the M'hir. They lost all of their memories of their origin world during the journey but brought with them a large supply of highly sought-after artifacts created by the ancient Hoveny Concentrix, the most advanced civilization in known history. Since their arrival, the Clan has used their mental abilities to manipulate humanity when they felt it was necessary. However the Clan has also been breeding its Chooser females to try and increase the strength of their M'hir-related powers While this project succeeded, it may also doom the Clan. When a Clan female Chooser mates with a Clan male there is a backlash from their power which kills the male if the female is too strong and Sira di Sarc, the strongest Chooser is so powerful that no clan male can safely mate with her. She eventually mates safely with Jason Morgon, a human starship captain and telepath, then becomes Leader of the Clan. Seeking help in solving its reproductive crisis the Clan reveals itself to the Trade Pact, a very fragile alliance of many species including Humanity.

The book opens with a meeting among a number of Trade Pact representatives forging a secret alliance to destroy the Clan for motives ranging from fear and vengeance to greed. Then the story shifts to following Sira through Clan social occasions and her exiled father's attempt to contact her shortly after Trade Pact Enforcer Sector Chief Lydis Bowman, whose family ties to the Clan predate the Clan's arrival in human space, tries to meet with her but is rebuffed. Sira's exiled father also seeks to meet with her, and while he is initially rebuffed as well, she agrees to meet him. But their meeting is interrupted when the assaults intended to eradicate the Clan begin, inflicting heavy damage on the Clan, their friends, and any bystanders nearby, with Clan losses made worse by the fact that when one member of a bonded couple dies the other follows swiftly. Reeling from the loss of over half their population, the Clan soon decides that the only way to survive is to launch an investigation to locate their long forgotten homeworld, aided by their remaining non-Clan allies, and return there. The Clan and Jason eventually do locate the Clan's world of Cersi and journey there. But three sentient species inhabit Cersi, The Om'ray, which the Clan members belong to, the Oud, and the Tikitik with the latter two species each controlling their own clans of Om'ray. And soon after arrival, the Clan gets caught up in the struggles between local factions eventually leading them to discover the true history of their world and the ancient origins of their species...

I give this book 7 out of 10. Fans of action in stories will find little to like here, though I'm not letting that effect the score. While the general storyline is interesting, I feel that there were several parts that could use more detail and others that could be trimmed or cut without harming the story. Also there were a few parts of the story which seemed like failed attempts to be humorous. In particular, I feel that the Cersi portions could have used more detail. In fact, combined with the shift in tone that accompanied the shift to Cersi, I feel that it might have been better if the story had been divided into two books with the second beginning with the arrival on Ceri and being a greatly expanded version of the Cersi sections.

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