Ties of Power – Julie E. Czerneda

Ties of Power

Summary

Sira has won her freedom both from her controlling Clan and from her dangerous Power of Choice. But plenty of others are still interested in her, and the Clan hasn't given up yet on copying her powers.

Review

I have most of Julie Czerneda’s books listed in my old records as 3.5 stars, a rating that mystified me when I went back to re-read the Stratification trilogy (I found them better than that). However, I’m finding those ratings more accurate for this original trilogy. That’s also odd, since this is the trilogy that built my original interest in Czerneda.

This second book of the second (chronological) trilogy has a rocky start, and to be honest, there’s quite a bit about the book that’s rocky. What I remember most about the book is the Drapsk (or Drapski?), the cute, fluffy, but also wise aliens, and that’s where Czerneda is at her best. The Drapsk are just as cute, fluffy, and wise as I recall, and not in an annoying way. They’re a great creation, and one of the book’s continuing annoyances is just how badly protagonist Sira di Sarc Morgan treats them. She simply refuses to take them seriously and feels no compunction about using them for her own very selfish purposes, regardless of cost to them. It was not only annoying, but it didn’t fit well for me with how her character was developed in the previous book or how it’s built up in this one (there are changes due to the harmonization of her pasts).

The Drapsk aside, the bulk of the book is taken up with political machinations and plot twists that I honestly had a hard time following (and caring about) this time around. While ostensibly what the book is about, it’s just not as interesting as the story of the Drapsk. Happily, the Drapsk do play a central role, and their story is what kept the narrative going for me. The Drapsk ended up being, for me, a the satisfying core around which a relatively uninteresting plot is wrapped. An interesting, but flawed book.

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