Julie E. Czerneda's 1997 debut, A Thousand Words for Stranger, was the first novel of the Trade Pact Universe-an instant best-seller, Science Fiction Book Club Editor's Choice and Locus Recommended First Novel. Book two, Ties of Power, further established the author's reputation as a master of vivid alien worlds-and had fans clamoring for the third book in the trilogy. Now comes the final chapter: To Trade the Stars.
The stage is set for a possibly cataclysmic confrontation in non-space-and the Speaker for the Clan Council and her human mate are about to find themselves in the heart of the conflict.
©2002 Julie E. Czerneda (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
This book is about as boring as listening to someone read the phone book, and the narrator makes it feel like she's doing just that. After listening to Ties of Power, I knew I was in for more of the same, but like a sucker, I had gone ahead and bought this one in advance, so I forced myself through the torture of this listen.
I dislike just about everything about these last couple of books. I don't like Czernida's writing style, her dialogue, the aliens she comes up with, the silly cultural things that are forced into the plot, and I don't even care about the characters, for crying out loud. Sira gets kidnapped again - of course - because she is so completely helpless and clueless about everything, in spite of being something like 70 years old and the leader of her entire race, not to mention the most powerful member in the Clan's entire history. Her husband takes his sweet time getting to her, engaging in pointless side plot stuff that nobody cares about and alien stuff I couldn't even understand.
This is average Star Trek-style 90's-2000's level sci fi. There's no real sense of a living galaxy outside of the main few characters and their concerns. The aliens, as I mentioned before, are so unrealistic as to be laughable compared to today's standards. "Clan" are so obviously human-derivative yet they think themselves far superior and completely foreign, while a crab-type alien thinks to itself expressions such as "on the other claw...". Come on, seriously? Throw me out of the story, why don't you!
If you read the first book in this series and enjoyed it, please, please stop there. It only goes downhill after that.
Not my favorite of Czerneda's stories, but fun nonetheless.
I do have to wonder how many times can one woman be kidnapped before she learns from her mistakes? The plot also seems too dependent on communication failures, with main characters continually running around, just missing each other because of impatience or refusal to carry a means of communication with them. Especially since when it isn't a critical plot point, characters have no trouble placing 'calls' across solar systems to summon enforcers, etc.
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