Book Review | #whoaretheclan | “Riders of the Storm” by Julie E. Czerneda Jorie reads #TheClanChronicles for #RRSciFiMonth!

Posted Monday, 9 November, 2015 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I was chosen to participate in Julie E. Czerneda’s #timeandstarstour on behalf of the seventh volume of The Clan Chronicles ‘This Gulf of Time and Stars’. Ahead of reading that installment, I reached out to the author to sort out a way to read her entire series spilt between two trilogies: a prequel and the inaugural trilogy which launched the series as a whole. She offered to have DAW Books send me the series in paperback editions to help me sort out the hours I would need to read them as I could only use inter-library loan which has a built-in delay from receiving books via your local library.

Thus a book parcel from her publicist at DAW arrived forthwith and gave me the two trilogies ahead of ‘This Gulf of Time and Stars’. I received a complimentary copy of ‘Riders of the Storm’ the second novel of the prequel trilogy better known as Stratification. I was not obliged to post a review or share my impressions or opinions on behalf of these stories. I am posting my thoughts for my own edification and to help encourage new readers to meet the characters Czerneda created especially if like me, they are discovering The Clan Chronicles for the first time!

Continuing onward inside The Clan Chronicles:

As I disclosed on my review of Reap the Wild Wind this is my first reading of the works by Julie E. Czerneda. This is my continuing journey deep into the heart of The Clan Chronicles whilst conversing on Twitter via the tag #whoaretheclan.

One of my favourite moments when reading serial fiction is slipping back inside a world I’ve become comfortable exploring with such an ease it would appear no time had shifted off the clock since my last visit. Thus, I happily found myself quite entrenched inside Riders of the Storm due to how Czerneda carefully took up the strings of where the last tapestry of this saga left off and stitched me inside the very next chapter of where our small band of Yena were gathered together. They might have been exiled together, but the eclectic nature of the Yena of whom were following Aryl wherever she felt they could live in peace spoke volumes to her ability to unite her Clan.

Notation on the Cover Art: I haven’t been this excited about original cover art for a series in quite a long time, as the artwork for The Clan Chronicles is such a wicked sweet gift to the reader! Each cover is a bit of an insight not only towards the story within the pages of the novel but a bit of clue towards understanding the Clan as a whole. They are portraits of a moment in the ‘life’ of the Clan as true to form as if someone took a photograph and caught them just as they were. It’s such a clear picture of Cersi and the Clan, that I look forward to putting the images and the story together each time I pick up one of the volumes!

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Book Review | #whoaretheclan | “Riders of the Storm” by Julie E. Czerneda Jorie reads #TheClanChronicles for #RRSciFiMonth!Riders of the Storm
by Julie E. Czerneda
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Luis Royo
Source: Direct from Publisher

Synopsis on the Back Cover:

Julie E. Czerneda's Trade Pact Universe trilogy introduced the Clan, refugees from the world of Cersi who built an empire few people even knew existed.

Reap the Wild Wind and Riders of the Storm return to an earlier point in the Clan's history, before they left Cersi. Known as the Om'ray, they are divided into widely scattered tribal Clans, constrained from advancing beyond a certain point by two powerful races - the Oud and the Tikitik.

Then Om'ray Aryl Sarc - gifted with a forbidden Talent - upsets the long-maintained balance between the three species, and she and her supporters are exiled from Yena Clan, taking with them Enris Mendolar, a young man who left Tuana Clan on the ritual journey to find a mate. When they finally find a new home in the mountains, it is the ruined, deserted village of Sona, a forgotten Clan. And this seeming haven soon becomes the focus of conflict.

First Aryl discovers that the Oud who destroyed Sona haven't left. Instead they are hunting for relics of a long-vanished, legendary race with the aid of Trade Pact agents. Then the Tikitik deny the Oud claims that Aryl's people are the Sona Clan, insisting the territory now belongs to them. When blood is spilled, Aryl must become Clan Speaker to try to negotiate for peace.

Other Om'ray arrive, including some determined to learn the secret of Aryl's Talent. And even as she struggles with the perilous situation in Sona, Enris must take desperate measures to try to save his own clan from the destructive power games of the Oud and Tikitik. But will the price of Sona's survial prove too high. . .?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780756405618

Also by this author: Reap the Wild Wind, Rift in the Sky, A Thousand Words for Stranger, Ties of Power, To Trade the Stars, This Gulf of Time and Stars, Julie E. Czerneda Interview (#futurespasttour), The Gate to Futures Past, Guest Post (Web Shifters series) by Julie E. Czerneda, Guest Post: Julie E. Czerneda (Clan Chronicles Finale Tour), To Guard Against the Dark

Genres: Science Fiction


Published by DAW Books

on 7th July 2009

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 471

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Published By: DAW Books (@DAWBooks)
an imprint of Penguin Group USA

The Clan Chronicles:

  • Reap the Wild Wind (Stratification trilogy, No.1)
  • Riders of the Storm (Stratification trilogy, No.2)
  • Rift in the Sky (Stratification trilogy, No.3)
  • A Thousand Words for Stranger (Trade Pact Universe, No.1)
  • Ties of Power (Trade Pact Universe, No.2)
  • To Trade the Stars (Trade Pact Universe, No.3)
  • This Gulf of Time and Stars (Reunification, No.1)

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Julie E. Czerneda

Julie E. Czerneda Photo Credit: Roger Czerneda Photography

Since 1997, Canadian author/editor Julie E. Czerneda has shared her love and curiosity about living things through her science fiction, writing about shapechanging semi-immortals, terraformed worlds, salmon researchers, and the perils of power. Her fourteenth novel from DAW Books was her debut fantasy, A Turn of Light, winner of the 2014 Aurora Award for Best English Novel, and now Book One of her Night`s Edge series.

She began her first fantasy series: Night’s Edge with A Turn of Light, winner of the 2014 Aurora Award for Best English Novel. A Play of Shadow followed, winning the 2015 Aurora. While there’ll be more fantasy, Julie’s back in science fiction to complete her Clan Chronicles series. Reunification #1: This Gulf of Time and Stars, came out in 2015. #2: The Gate to Futures Past released September, 2016. Volume #3: To Guard Against the Dark, follows October 2017.

An award-winning editor as well, Julie’s edited/co-edited sixteen anthologies of SF/F, including the Aurora winning Space Inc. and Under Cover of Darkness. Her most recent anthology is the 2017 Nebula Award Showcase, published May 2017, a singular honour.

Next out will be an anthology of original stories set in her Clan Chronicles series: Tales from Plexis, out in 2018. When not jumping between wonderful blogs, Julie’s at work on something very special: her highly anticipated new Esen novel, Search Image (Fall 2018).

Biography updated November 2017
Photo Credit: Roger Czerneda Photography

My Review of Riders of the Storm:

Winter is on fast approach, the snow starting to drift and give the travellers a weary exhaustion that they are not used to feeling as their entire spirit and body are used to warmer climes. This mountain is a brutal reminder of how harsh their world (of Cersi) is and how vastly unique it’s regions are to those who are only used to the aerial living situations of the Yena. The Yena (the selected few who were exiled) who are braving this mountain are here not necessarily by choice but they are choosing to venture forward to seek a place where they can live without fear of becoming displaced once again. It has already happened, when they reached the Clan Grona; cast out before they could even appreciate the respite in travel.

Surging ahead is Aryl’s determined will to find a place where her ragtag band of supporters can settle down and start to find any kind of semblance of normalcy this far away from their home. What she encounters is an insidious storm attacking them from every angle possible with a density of cold that could curl any person’s bones into a fit of despair; it cuts that deep. The blizzard (if you can call it that) is a reminder of how much they do not understand about Cersi and how isolated they were as Yena. The snow is thickened beyond sight, the ice shooting down as daggers and the terrain accustomed to the brutality of the storms is turning into an environ that could kill them.

This new landscape was awakening an ancient foreknowledge in Aryl’s cousin Seru; a knowledge which perplexed Aryl in it’s depth of perception and of fright. According to Seru they were walking on sacred ground and ought to become cautious of where they lay their hat. Aryl on the other hand would prefer to stay away from other Clans if it meant they could finally secure their own freedom beyond scrutiny of others. A place where they could begin anew, define their own boundaries and rules (or the lack of order that would pin them down); to take a breath of light and fuell their desires to live without constrictions.

The closer they felt attached to this new area of Cersi, the harder it was for them to feel the dangers lurking out of sight from where they were settling into the ruins. The ruins themselves were left behind by the Sona; a mysterious Clan who were no longer ‘here’ yet a few of them remained buried under rock, stone and ice. Remnants of a past history the Yena were not privy to knowing outright. Contrary to Aryl’s belief she had found a haven for her people, Enris was more focused on reaching the outer laying Om’ray in Vyna. He had a thirst for seeking information on an item the Oud had shown him in the previous story Reap the Wild Wind. It was of ‘old technology’ the Oud believed was made by Others not known to Cersi; Enris knew the moment he had touched the apparatus it was indeed Om’ray but how this was true he knew not. This is what fuelled his quest and his pursuit of going further as a solitary wanderer than anything Aryl could have tried to sympathetically find common ground upon.

The forbidden Talent of Aryl reminds me of a variant of teleportation where at such a high level of fusion with her power source, Aryl can manipulate matter on a higher proportion of difference than her kin. I noticed this at first during Reap the Wild Wind but I was attempting to remember the particular style of teleportation she is using as purported through her stories. There are different kinds of telekinesis and teleportation and try as I might, I am forgetting the methodology I had come across previously that was a near-likeness to Aryl’s. I am sure another reader might have noticed the similarity and quieted mused about how ingenious her Talent truly is; as it gives her an unlimited vessel of opportunity.

As foreshadowed, Aryl’s Talent in both a conductor of curiosity to those who would like to transfuse her abilities to their own will and a forbearance of danger not meant for Cersi. She’s riding the gap between being reckless with her Talent and recognising it’s not easily stablised to control. The only one who is nearly identical to her in this manner is Enris, as his own unique powers have gone unchecked for most of his life. He can manipulate things with his thoughts as readily as Aryl but Aryl of the two, has a conscience that demands her resolve to temper her use of it’s strength. Enris on the other hand finds that it’s innate and organically natural for him to do these things; thereby using them as needed, without remorse. Enris leads more with his mind, forced on tasks and organising his priorities by what he feels will yield knowledge towards what he currently can only speculate about whereas Aryl places priority on the security of her Clan.

I liked how Marcus came back into Aryl’s life at the opportune time of when she’s seeking out the Sona Cloisters (the sacred building where Om’ray are safe from everyone else); as she was properly taken off-guard. Marcus is the human who kept interfering with Aryl’s life, including being the observer in Reap the Wild Wind who set events into motion that turnt out tragic for Aryl’s Clan. He’s a charmer this human, trying to see past his curiosity to understand what is hard to process without a translator as they both speak a different language. His words come out broken and partially on target; it’s hard to know who understands whom the best, as his empathy for her is quite strong. Aryl on the other hand is betwixt whether she should trust him outright or remain weary of his intentions. An interesting paradox for someone who relied on his help when she was in dire need of rescue.

Seeing how Aryl and Marcus had formed a small alliance to where each could learn more from each other did not surprise me; they both needed to talk to someone outside their own species in order to understand what was happening on Cersi. Marcus brought up the questions Aryl was not used to answering but within his curiosity had developed a true friendship where he was willing to risk what was needed in order to keep Aryl safe. It’s a delicate balance, as this is a time on Cersi where Clans were highly distrustful of anyone non-Om’ray; a human complicated everything. I felt perhaps this choice to trust Marcus might favour Aryl in the long run as if the changes that were happening to her and other Clans maintained strength, they would need to start to seek help from outside sources.

There is an undercurrent of rebellion on Cersi, where change is not adaptable but rather frowned upon to accept. This is where Aryl and her supporters are standing alone and choosing to be the difference rather than the standard. They were exiled, yes, but they are not living the life of most who would be found in their position. Rather than blend into another Clan, to own their identity was merged to another, they are determined to find a way to stand strong as Yena. Their need to defend their ancestry and their living histories is dear to my own heart, as each of us who feels the connection to their family should keep a living component of their lives intact. By sharing the stories, we remain whole and connected to the past; without which we only have half of our own story to tell. It is the same way for the Yena, they are striving to mend the disturbances of their Clan by seeking a way to repair their connections to both past and present. The future for the Yena is still precarious to even contemplate. The Yena finding themselves at Sona are willing to reincarnate their identity if it would give them a second chance at finding harmony on Cersi.

A path divides where Enris is now spending time with a Thought Traveller; another of it’s kind was responsible for giving Aryl her introduction to the Humans via Marcus and his Triad within the pages of Reap the Wild Wind. One of the delights of reading The Clan Chronicles is how interconnected the series is as a whole; the continuity is bang on brilliant as each installment of the series moving forward shifts backwards uniting tethers of the story from the previous novel(s). Herein, we are seeing a Though Traveller once again aiding someone you might not think the Tikitik would take time to broach a conversation; except to say, he’s uniquely different from his race. Thought Traveller is a neutral ally (or so he claims) to the Om’ray, as he seeks to understand what causes ripples of distrust amongst the Clans, the Oud and the Tikitik. Cersi is a world where there are overseers at every turn; some of whom you are aware of being present and others who remain shrouded to keep the advantage on you. I’m undecided if I would trust a Thought Traveller if I were Enris or Aryl; yet without his help, something worse would claim your life. Choices on Cersi are fraught with complications.

I was proven correct in my sense about a Thought Traveller, as to me they like to muddle things for those who are on a quest; they seem to like to cause chaos and unravell peace. They meddle into affairs that are not theirs to control as if this is the only way they can learn. (hmm, now this realisation reminds me greatly of ‘Q’ from ST:TNG!) Enris arrived to find the Vyna are not quite the Om’ray he was expecting to meet, nor would they be a welcome sight for any Om’ray to be honest! It’s an interesting twist, as despite their differences most Clans are willing to meet new Om’ray; the need to exchange information and gather reconnaissance is too great to bypass. The Vyna should have a sensor around their region that forbades travellers from having to visit as they are a sinister Clan whose heart runs black. Their isolation clearly has gone against them, turning their instincts to molten and collide with fear. I did not warm to Vyna and I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to know more about them; except of course, to find a measure of empathy for why they were the way they were. Except I am not sure I even would tempt fate in order to understand; Enris surely did not!

So much of what I had hoped might happen by the end of this chapter of Cersi’s history became shaped into light; an afterglow of spirit and renewal. Czerneda has moulded such a spirited history of the Clans, where all is not ever truly lost nor is everything truly conceptualised until a point where what needs to be known is known. This chapter had an undercurrent of romance budding between two souls who never felt they could find their true match due to how different they are from the Clans. They each have their own set of quests to challenge their will and set their mind afire on securing the future of their species. Neither of them could ever truly unite with anyone else, they are too alike and yet, their differences compliment each other well. It was with a smile of joy I welcomed their union! Behind this good tiding of life seeking life, is a hard-hitting solemn truth of Cersi’s origins. Not how the world formed but how the species of Cersi: Oud, Tikitik and Om’ray all share an equal biological and spiritual history. I found the ruminations on this score most curious and dearly connective to a larger metaphor of origin, identity and self-perception. Czerneda doesn’t just paint a world inside your mind, she strengthens your mind to noodle out the concepts and precepts of how her world is alive.

The Oud and Humans on Cersi:

The Oud remind me a bit of the tunneling dwarves from Lord of the Rings where they are best suited to working under the ground than on the surface. They find great comfort in being under the terrain of their world and snake a network of arteries that only they would understand how to recognise. They are craftsman with a precise tenacity for creating materials that are best served by metalworkers and smiths. It’s an interesting connection, how the raw materials from tunnels can be used to create weapons and tools; yet the Oud are not an approachable race on Cersi.

The Humans by contrast are perceived to be nefariously intent on keeping their true intentions unknown to most except for when a certain member of one of the Triad’s (Marcus) finds he cannot let go of protecting Aryl. The Humans do not understand the order of how Cersi maintains it’s balance out of war and strife between the Oud and the Tikitik; seeking instead to find their elusive ruins of the Hoveny Concentrix – which at this stage is reading to be the origins of who the Om’ray were before their generations shortened in length. It’s a curious notion how the past lived on Cersi did not give a method of disclosure to the future generations of whom might stumble across where their communities lay in ruin.

Part of this reminded me of my own past interest in Archaeology and Anthropology; as clues towards understanding the origins of any subculture and grouping of people is only dependent upon what can be unearthed centuries lateron. It’s how to knit together the whole of the story out of what remains that is the tricky part for researchers and historians; further still difficult for the archaeologists and anthropologists who are striving to understand something more than what can be yielded by their artifacts.

The Oud in this installment were out smarted by the Tikitik, grieving Aryl for their inhumane approach to resolving a change in the wind. As this was the greatest solemn truth of what was happening all around them: Change. The more change that started to take stock and hold of Cersi, the more heart-wrecking those changes affected everyone around Aryl. She was trying to decide her feelings about the Oud when the Tikitik gave her a hard lesson about who was stronger and who was superior to the other. At each turn, Aryl was tested beyond where she should be and taken further off her own path as an Om’ray towards a future course that was far different than an Yena had yearned to have as their own.

My thoughts on how The Clan Chronicles back-story sets the reader directly inside this mysterious world:

I appreciated seeing how elements in our world are translating inside the world of Cersi, as hail and snow are turnt into such a deepening misery of weather through Czerneda’s eyes, it begs to wonder if anyone can handle being in such a cold and hardened environment long-term. She curated this narrative of resonance straight down to the environment markers that give us a tangible glimpse into Cersi; we can relate well to weather because whether your on Earth or another planet entirely, weather can become an obstacle that you have to learn to live around. Her weather patterns are as rugged and raw as some of the more isolated places on Earth where man is limited and nature has won the right for dominance. It’s this kind of imbalance and fight for solitude within the fray of a storm that paints the picture the brightest.

Czerneda has etched inside her Om’ray people the distinction of surviving in the face of unknown odds – to pull back destiny and fate to allow a third option where the Om’ray would decide what would become of themselves. One comforting bit to The Clan Chronicles, at least thus far inside the prequel trilogy is the acknowledgement of the hours being rung into sight in such a fashion as to remind me of The Study of Murder and Murder by Misrule wherein each hour that is most important to the Clan is reverently observed. In the novels I read previously it was a tradition of 14th and 16th, where they would purposely arrive at ‘an hour in time’ by observing what that hour represented to them. In Czerneda’s trilogy, Cersi appreciates their observation of time to denote certain passages of the day to alert them of both the dangers of being out at that hour and/or the necessity of working during daylight. I found it quite clever how Czerneda developed this system of reverence as she made it her own. The Clans are definitively tied to the cycles of their environment, not only by hour of day but they are in full respect of every inhabitant they share space with even if they are the more naughty insect species who plague them with bites.

The deeper I dig inside the history of the Clan, the more I want to understand about them as a whole. Each new installment leads me further into the heart of their legacy but also, to the brink of understanding how they have risen thus far forward out of a past that very few ever had the chance to realise existed. They are a Clan of secrets and of life lessons interwoven into adventures of experiences; they approach life with a fierce dedication to protect self and kin whilst endeavouring to continue their species forward in time. It’s a wonderful eclectic ensemble cast of intricately connected communities who become further illumined with each story I read of them.

It’s a joy to read their chronicles, and I know now I will be quite saddened to let go of them!

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This book review is courtesy of:

Julie E. Czerneda and DAW Books

which I am happily posting during:

Sci Fi November 2015 badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Sci-Fi Month 2015 is a month long event to celebrate science fiction hosted by Rinn Reads and Over the Effing Rainbow. You can view the schedule here, follow the event on Twitter via the official @SciFiMonth Twitter account, or the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

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Reader Interactive Question:

What do you think would be the hardest obstacle about living your home, community and family in search of a better fit for those like you who seek a better future than your present? Would you be able to adapt to a harsh climate and hostile neighbours whilst forging this future you hope to find?

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NOTE: there is a limited time frame on this announcement

As you know, I do not host bookaways/giveaways on Jorie Loves A Story; however, oft-times authors or their publishers run concurrent bookaways/giveways with the reviews I am featuring as part of a larger event than my review. I always opt to host a review or guest author feature in lieu of them, however, I do like to offer my readers the chance to click-over to where they can seek more information if it is known.

Kindly visit an interview between Ms Czerneda and her betareaders!

RT this tweet of mine to read your own followers or other members of #RRSciFiMonth!

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{SOURCES: Permission to use the book summary for this novel off the back cover was given to me by Ms Czerneda’s publicist who also sent me the book cover for “Riders of the Storm”; all of which is being used with permission of DAW Books. The author photograph of Julie E. Czerneda and author’s biography were sent to me by the author and used with permission. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded due to the codes provided by Twitter. Sci Fi November badge created by Jorie in Canva. Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.}

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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