Acquired Book By: I was invited to participate in Julie E. Czerneda’s #againstthedark wherein I am continuing my readings of The Clan Chronicles where I left off last November. I participated in the #timeandstarstour on behalf of the seventh volume of The Clan Chronicles ‘This Gulf of Time and Stars’ and the #futurespasttour on behalf of the eighth volume: ‘The Gate to Futures Past’. I reached out to the author to sort out a way to read her entire series spilt between two trilogies: Stratification (the prequel) and The Trade Pact (inaugural trilogy) which launched the series as a whole. She offered to have DAW Books send me the series in paperback editions which I was blessed to receive. I have spent the past three years reading about the Clan and happily conveying my ruminated thoughts on behalf of the series.
This year, I participated on the third blog tour to conclude the series with a finale tour by featuring a guest feature wherein Ms Czerneda wrote such a wonderful topic for me to share with my readers and the followers of the blog tour itself. In the hours since her Guest Post went live, I’ve been spending time with the Clan one last time – sorting out my feelings and trying to understand how the truth of #whoaretheclan affects us all.
I received a complimentary ARC copy of ‘To Guard Against the Dark’ the final novel of the final trilogy of The Clan Chronicles known as Reunification; in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein.
On where we left off into 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. Occasionally alternating with #TheClanChronicles and #againstthedark.
I cannot even fully put into words how difficult it was to finish reading The Gate to Futures Past because there are so many shifting tides erupting out of the flow of the narrative! You’re simply not expecting everything which happens ‘here’ to be the living reality of those characters you’ve left behind in ‘Stratification’. I think that was the hardest pill to swallow at the time; of realising how difficult it is to return back to a ‘beloved space’ of fiction – only to find it completely terraformed into a new ‘entity’ of existence. At least, this is at best, the most I can do to express what my reactions were as I read about the dichotomies of differences between ‘then and now’; to say more would spoilt it for you! If your finding yourself coming through the series – prequel to Trade and onto Reunification, you’ll gleam a bit of what I’m trying to say without really saying anything which would elude to much at all.
One of my favourite bits to The Gate to Futures Past is how alive Sira’s hair remains a vocal representation of her emotional state – the ways in which her locks invade her own murmuring thoughts for a chance to be ‘seen’ and ‘heard’ on their own is something which gives me a jolly jolt of the giggles because her ‘hair’ rarely shows tact in making its ‘points’! I even like how Morgan has grown accustomed to how the ‘hair’ likes to entangle itself around him – nestling close to his skin and re-affirming how much Sira loves him in the gentleness of its touch. I might have mentioned previously but this is also why I love the cover art for GATE because it electrifies the hair as a full embodiment of how Sira is a fusion of thought, power and emotion.
Whilst the intrepid few Clan colonists (as they embarked to travel where no Clan had previously visited) survived their ordeal, it was the waves of uncertainty in trusting their newfound ‘first responders’ who came to their aide after the Oud left them unceremoniously to live or die at their feet which gave them the most pause for thought. It was here where Sira and Morgan started to dissect their options and where the rest of the Clan started to sort out how they would move forward. No one felt entirely ‘settled’ nor ‘safe’ but they were being cared for and it was more than they could hope to expect.
It was the miniature Oud who fascinated me – how Tap Tap came to meet Sira and Morgan but also its demure size which was not to be overshadowed by its insight for Oud were never to be trusted as short-sighted in both knowledge or depth of understanding. There was something different and unique about this one – especially how the Hoveny acted around it and how Sira felt more than slightly unnerved by its presence & understanding of who she really was in the greater ‘scheme’ of things. My skin started to stand on alert as there was something most foreboding about this ‘place’ they had landed – ever since they first disembarked from the ship, I sensed it. Now, as they drew closer to engaging with the Hoveny who lived here – something inside me twitched.
Alisi Di on Brightfall was such a heroic character to be placed at this crucial timeline of the Clan; how she reminded me of Sira in her own right. She was a leader, bourne of instincts others didn’t have within them – not just to lead but to guide, to understand and to prevail. She saw the fuller picture when others only saw what was in front of them. I had hoped I’d see more of her – I would have loved to known her longer than the time she had to give the Clan.
The hardest revelation for Sira (and myself) was recognising the Clan had been categorically organised like a seed catalogue for a farmer! Their entire understanding of ‘identity’ and ‘ancestry’ were being flipped on their heels for a revelation they were not expecting to be ‘true’. It’s hard to think you’ve spent your entire life believing in a lineage of record only to find out the familial concepts you’ve cherished were invented by someone else for a purpose your still trying to understand. Yet, the most striking realisation came when Sira learnt the truth of who the Clan were and where they actually were from – a truth which held it’s own sacrifices and gutting emotions.
Notation on Cover Art: Originally, when I saw the artwork for GUARD I can honestly say I didn’t quite understand it. Not until I reached the section in the novel which ‘explained’ what this was about – then, it seemed rather fitting to be featured! What I had trouble discerning from the image was what exactly was Jason Morgan holding in his hands?! I knew it was Jason – the key issue was what was he doing? This is the pivotal scene in the novel, the one where certain things ‘change’ and alter everything else which could have been going on – I will explain one thing which reveals nothing at the same time! lol He’s holding a giant bone and those hands? Those are Assembler hands – I should have sorted that bit out before I reached the disclosure in the book – mind you, Assembler’s aren’t my favourite aliens in the series,.. so, I suppose you could say I let the obvious pass right by me! I’ll let you chew on what Jason and these Assemblers could be up too!
To Guard Against the Dark
Subtitle: A Novel of The Clan Chronicles : Reunification No.3
by Julie E. Czerneda
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Matt Stawicki
Source: Direct from Publisher
Synopsis on the Back Cover
Jason Morgan is a troubling mystery to friends and enemies alike; once a starship captain and trader, then Joined to the most powerful member of the Clan, his love, Sira di Sarc, following her and her kind out of known space.
Only to return, alone and silent.
But he's returned to a Trade Pact under siege, The Assemblers continue unchecked. Bowman hasn't caught the Facilitator. Worst of all, members of the First, sensing their time has come, conspire to change the balance of power.
And push humanity aside.
To Morgan, these are small concerns, for he knows there's more than this universe. Beyond the M'hir is AllThereIs, the true home of the Clan. Dwelling there are entities of instinct, able to reach into real space and destroy what they view as threat, as they ended the vast empire of the Hoveny Concentrix. Sira sacrificed their love and her life to prevent another wave of destruction, for the entities demanded the return of all Clan and no further intrusion.
But not all the Clan followed Sira home.
And some who live in the M'hir have plans of their own.
Jason Morgan will have to make a stand.
Little does he realise, he won't do it alone.
Places to find the book:
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Also by this author: Reap the Wild Wind, Riders of the Storm, 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)
Also in this series: This Gulf of Time and Stars, The Gate to Futures Past
Genres: Science Fiction
Published by DAW Books
on 10th October, 2017
Format: Paperback ARC
Published By: DAW Books (@DAWBooks)
an imprint of Penguin Group USA
Cover art by Matt Stawicki | Site | Facebook
Series Synopsis and Overview:
The Clan Chronicles is set in a far future with interstellar travel where the Trade Pact encourages peaceful commerce among a multitude of alien and Human worlds. The alien Clan, humanoid in appearance, have been living in secrecy and wealth on Human worlds, relying on their innate ability to move through the M’hir and bypass normal space. The Clan bred to increase that power, only to learn its terrible price: females who can’t help but kill prospective mates. Sira di Sarc is the first female of her kind facing that reality. With the help of a Human starship captain, Jason Morgan, Sira must find a morally acceptable solution before it’s too late. But with the Clan exposed, her time is running out. The Stratification trilogy follows Sira’s ancestor, Aryl Sarc, and shows how their power first came to be as well as how the Clan came to live in the Trade Pact. The Trade Pact trilogy is the story of Sira and Morgan, and the trouble facing the Clan.
Reunification will conclude the series and answer, at last, #whoaretheclan.
NEW Stories about Plexis | information via Julie E. Czerneda’s dedicated anthology UPDATE Site.
Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback and Ebook
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: