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Rift in the Sky (Stratification, Bk 3) Mass Market Paperback – July 6, 2010
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About the Author
Julie E. Czerneda is a biologist and writer whose science fiction has received international acclaim, awards, and best-selling status. She is the author of the popular "Species Imperative" trilogy, the "Web Shifters" series, the "Trade Pact Universe" trilogy and her new "Stratification" novels. She was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Her stand-alone novel, In the Company of Others, won Canada's Prix Aurora Award and was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award for Distinguished SF. Julie lives with her husband and two children in the lake country of central Ontario, under skies so clear they could take seeing the Milky Way for granted, but never do. You can find her at www.czerneda.com.
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They found an abandoned town in which the Sona Clan had dwelled. They also found the remains of the former residents. Apparently the Oud had tumbled the homes, destroyed the bridges, and diverted the water. Yet they did find stored food and supplies.
In this novel, Aryl Sarc is an Om'ray, the daughter of Taisal di Sarc. Aryl was the first to teleport through the M'hir darkness. Now she is Speaker for Sona. She recently Chose Enris and is pregnant with their first child.
Enris sud Sarc is an Om'ray. He is the Chosen of Aryl. He was an unChosen of Tauna, but joined the exiles from Yena. He is very proficient with M'hir skills.
Naryn S'udlaat is an Om'ray. She was a Choser of Tuana, but joined the exiles in Sona. She had Chosen Enris, but he rejected her. Now she is pregnant without a Chosen.
Yao Gethen is an Om'ray, the daughter of Oswa from Grona. Yao does not have the Talent to feel other Om'ray, except through the M'hir. The Sona Clan are worried that others will be born without the ability to sense their neighbors.
Oran di Caraat is an Om'ray from Grona. She is an Adept and Healer and the Choser of Bren sud Caraat. Their attempts to force Aryl to divulge the secrets of M'hir are the reason for the flight of the Yena exiles from Grona.
Marcus Bowman is a Human. He is First Triad on Cersi, responsible for all the Trade Pact archaeological sites. He has been a friend of Aryl since they met in Yena.
In this story, it is springtime in Sona. The exiles have rebuilt homes for everyone. Now they are planting the seeds found in storage. Since few are familiar with the local plants, there are questions about which is a weed or a useful plant.
Aryl and Enris are watching Yao and the other children play 'port and seek. One child 'ports and then the other searches for the first. The kids have been playing the game since they learned to teleport through the M'hir.
Enris goes to get something to eat and Aryl goes to weed the crops. She is poking at a purple plant with thorns when Naryn appears with a problem. Oran was seen coming out of the Cloisters.
At first Aryl doesn't see any problem. Then Naryn states that Oran unlocked the doors. Only Aryl has been able to do so previously and only since she became pregnant. Maybe Oran is finally pregnant.
So Aryl 'ports to the Cloisters. At first, she can't find anyone, but she feels other Sona presences within the building. She waits and Oran comes to her to admit that the Adepts are having an argument.
Aryl accompanies Oran to their concealed location and finds that the Adepts are not dreaming as they should. Although Hoyon had been appointed Keeper, he cannot dream. Aryl suggests that Oran be selected as his replacement.
Later Aryl returns to Yena and finds that the Adepts there are dreaming of Sona. She returns to Sona to find the Oran IS dreaming and that her dreams are being broadcast to every Cloister. Aryl wakes Oran and informs her of the extent of her dreams.
Then Ael sud Sarc vanishes into the M'hir. Apparently he was trying something different and couldn't return. His Choser Myris is Lost with his disappearance.
This tale eventually brings all those capable of teleporting through the M'hir to Sona. Offworld pirates raid Bowman's sites. Then the Oud start violating the Cersi Agreement.
This is the last tale in the subseries. The next volume by internal chronological order is A Thousand Words for Stranger in the Trade Pact sequence. Read and enjoy!
Highly recommended for Czerneda fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of power politics, alien cultures, and true romance.
-Arthur W. Jordin
I have to buy her books because I really enjoy reading them again and again, there are very few books you can say that about.
Reap the Wild Wind (Stratification #1)
Riders of the Storm: Stratification #2
Rift in the Sky: Stratification #3
A Thousand Words For Stranger (10th Anniversary Edition)
To Trade the Stars (Trade Pact Universe)
Ties of Power (Trade Pact Universe)
Survival: Species Imperative #1
Migration: Species Imperative #2
Regeneration: Species Imperative #3
Rift in the Sky is the concluding third book of Julie Czerneda's Stratification trilogy which is the second trilogy in her Clan Chronicles series (the first trilogy being The Trade Pact Cycle, a noteworthy collection of novels that not-so-coincidentally includes her breakthrough work, A Thousand Words for Stranger). Okay, that takes care of what this book is in terms of its publishing lineage for those who don't know Julie or her books. (Please go to [...] for the definitive bibliography.)
Then again, what is this book, really? "After all," says the jaded fiction reader, "Aren't series and trilogies simply ever lessening circles of repetitive navel gazing created to bilk a fanbase?"
People like that have never really met the works of Julie Czerneda.
As implied in my tag line above, I read Rift immediately following the latest Weber effort. While I will review that book seperately, the immediate juxtaposition of the two clarified exactly why Ms. Czerneda is an author to be admired and emulated not only for the pure enjoyement of a reader but also as an example of professional speculative fiction prose.
The Stratification trilogy encompasses a prequel story arc that forms the foundation of The Trade Pact Cycle novels. This continuing tale of adventure, danger, and romance provides many answers as to the "Why?" questions asked in the previous works but quite a few new mysteries are added to the mix as well.
As in all trilogies, you benefit most in Reading Rift by having read the previous two books, Reap the Wild Wind and Riders of the Storm. The characterizations created in the earlier works such as the two mains, Aryl Sarc and her Chosen, Enris, have grown and matured through the previous books in preparation for the new challenges presented in the third.
In all honesty, I really can't say that Rift is a "stand alone" kind of book that you can read without having read the previous two. I know that's the goal for publishers and authors when they kick off any book of a trilogy but there's so much that's been built into the first two books that trying to add it in would run the risk of a very Weber-esque case of info-dump-itis. Considering how good a read each individual book is in terms of pacing, character development, mystery, and layering, I think that Ms. Czerneda and her publisher made an excellent choice.
Why are all of these books good reads? Because Ms. Czerneda is, truly, one of the current masters of speculative fiction storytelling. She understands at a core level how the combination of pacing, implication, and believability have to be woven together to create immersive tales. Her attention to plot detail and foreshadowing is singular amongst her current peers. Her characters are all - even the minor ones - well realized and multi-faceted enough for the roles which they occupy. There are no cardboard cutouts in any of Ms. Czerneda's worlds.
In the case of Rift, she addresses a very complex and fluid situation for her characters in a such a manner that, although the reader is never lost, you still can palpably feel the confusion and desperation of those involved. The reader's trance never breaks. One has to keep turning the pages to see how the disruptions and dangers threatening the Om'ray's very existance as a people and species unfolds. Best of all, although you know that the heroine is Aryl Sarc, you never are quite sure she's going to survive it all in the end. There's this lingering worry that she will die or lose her love or her baby or have some other horrific thing happen that twists your heart around until the very end. And horrific things do happen, no two ways about that.
The depths of consideration into interpersonal and interspecies relations are another notable point of depth to the work. "Trust" becomes a by-word for foolishness and a flood gauge for how Aryl and her people fall from their simple, more naive world as the novel goes by. That there can be good and bad creatures within and without, and that the metric for good and bad vary by what serves the various species best provides for difficult challenges to the morals of Aryl and how she sees herself.
Rift, therefore, is a story that addresses a broad range of perspectives of various groups through the lens of Aryl's attempts to understand and survive. The pace of the book is fast but not suffocatingly so. Subtlety in the various details, foreshadowing, and characterizations flesh out the prose into a satisfying whole. Added to this is the attention to various scientific details that are de riguere for Ms. Czerneda that help support the reader's suspension of disbelief by helping keep the whole created universe "believable". The result is a book that satisfies while reading and lingers in enjoyable consideration afterwards.