To Trade the Stars – Julie E. Czerneda

To Trade the Stars

Summary

Sira Morgan has finally settled down a bit, leading the Clan Council and handing off the appealing Drapsk aliens to other Clan members. But the Drapsk have plans of their own, and the reappearance of a dark figure from Jason Morgan's past throws everything into confusion.

Review

For all that it was my welcome introduction to Julie Czerneda’s writing, this reread of the Trade Pact* trilogy has been a bumpier ride than I recalled, and this last book proves no exception.

As with the other books in this trilogy (and unlike those in the prequel trilogy), To Trade the Stars suffers from poor balance. There’s less (and more interesting) political chicanery and the endearing Drapsk continue to feature. But many of the most intriguing mysteries – about the M’hir, the Drapsk, and other M’hir-sensitive species – are crammed into the final pages and resolved quickly. It’s unsatisfying, with plot threads hanging loose all over the place, despite what seems Czerneda’s attempt to tie them all off. To my mind, it’s a book that fails to recognize what it (and the trilogy) has really been all about.

I liked this better than the previous book, Ties of Power, overall, but for different reasons. Both are fairly muddled. Ties introduced the Drapsk, whom I like. This book muddles the Drapsk picture a bit, but relies less on tedious political machinations. Both provide some interesting tidbits about the M’hir – though it looks quite different, seen through the eyes of the prequel Stratification trilogy. Overall, a decent book, but Czerneda’s later work is much more balanced and self-assured.

* Technically, this is listed as the Trade Pact Universe trilogy, but since Czerneda has many other books set in the same universe, I’m using a shorter version.

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