(cover image from Amazon.com)
Rift in the Sky (2009) is the final volume in Julie E. Czerneda's Stratification trilogy, and part of The Clan Chronicles. (See my previous reviews of Reap the Wild Wind and Riders of the Storm.)
I don't know what to say about this book, partly because I want to avoid spoilers and partly because... I'm just not sure what to think. Certainly, it's an entertaining and fitting conclusion to the story, an easy read that's hard to put down. But I must admit that I was left somewhat disappointed.
Partly, that's because this is a prequel. If you've read her Trade Pact Universe trilogy, you'll know where this one has to end up. And that's precisely where it does end up.
It uses an unexpected mechanism to get there, and that's both admirable, because I didn't see it coming, and disconcerting, because I really didn't like it much. But it does serve to explain the situation at the beginning of A Thousand Words for Stranger.
And that's the problem with a prequel. It has to end up where the previous books started - or, at least, set up that situation. This might have been better as a standalone story, free from that necessity.
The other reason for my disappointment is, I think, because the previous two books were just so good. Reap the Wild Wind introduced a fascinating planet with a unique ecology, and Riders of the Storm showed us more about the Oud and the Tikitik and hinted at the consequences when a people can't remember their history.
But Rift in the Sky didn't really fulfill that promise, at least for me. We didn't learn much more about the aliens, and we didn't learn much more about the Om'ray, either. The huge puzzle of the Cloisters also remained unexplained, though we learned enough to know that it was a puzzle.
It was still an entertaining read, but the first part of the story seemed to promise much more than that. After the first two books, which I loved, this one was... disappointing. I can't say that Rift in the Sky was bad, though. It's more that the first two books were exceptional.
And I really can't say much more about it than that, not without spoilers. If you haven't read the previous trilogy, they would be big spoilers, too. So I'm going to leave it at that. I do recommend these books, even if I was a bit disappointed with this one.
And I certainly recommend Julie E. Czerneda. She's become one of my very favorite authors.