Title: To Trade The Stars
Series: Trade Pact book 3
Universe: Clan Chronicles
Author: Julie E. Czerneda
Genre: Space Opera
Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Daw 2002
The third and final novel of this series opens as Sira, now speaker for the Clan Council, and her life partner, the human telepath Jason, try to forge a life free of the Clan and the Drapsk, a race determined to claim Sira and their Mystic One. Their hope seems to vanish when they are caught in a conflict between the Drapsk and a mysterious race that dwells in the M’hir.
This is the final part in the Trade Pact Trilogy which is the middle trilogy in Julie E. Cezerneda’s Clan Chronicles. The prequel The Stratification Cycle doesn’t have the same protagonists and it was written afterwards. The Reunification Cycle is Julie’s next writing project and it will continue the story of Jason and Sira, the protagonists of this story. Jason is human telepath and independent trader and Siras Choosen. Sira is now speaker for the Clan Council and the Drapsk claim her as their long awaited savior.
There is an abundance of alien planets and worlds in this one but it also resolve some of the mysteries with the M’hir. As usual in Julie’s books the alien biology is quite well thought out and their behavior makes sense in that framework.
Different Drapsk groups are in conflict over how to resolve their ancient conflict and Sira becomes personally involved again. This was quite entertaining and surprising. I didn’t see that end coming.
There is also a bunch of clan children dispersed in secret by a rebel clan group. But someone is preying on those children and Sira becomes involved when one of them walk into Huido’s restaurant. It is Jason Morgan’s old nemesis at it again. That resolution also surprised me in a good way; it is nice to see an author thinking outside the ordinary toolkit.
This is a story that focuses on the characters and their relationships. Julie has added species survival and alien mysteries to that mix making it a story about something bigger. Jason and Sira is well presented and made easy to love. With all their powers they are still not superhuman heroes without any weaknesses or vulnerabilities, rather the opposite. And that makes them more real.
There are quite a few other interesting characters both human and alien. Huido is my favorite though, he brings comic relief with his a-matter-of-fact attitude and open minded view on food ingredients.
To Trade the Stars is a thrilling conclusion to the Trade Pact Trilogy. It got believable aliens with a foundation in hard science, romance and suspense. I am a sucker for a good love story and this is one. The Clan’s powers and the mystic M’hir are close to magic which makes this a good book to start science fiction with if you are into urban fantasy. I would recommend you read the series in order though. The next trilogy will continue Sira and Jason’s story according to the author’s homepage.