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Book Review: To Guard Against the Dark by Julie E. Czerneda

Title: To Guard Against the Dark

Author: Julie E. Czerneda

Series: Reunification #3 [A Clan Novel]

Genre: Science Fiction

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Overview: The final book in the hard science fiction Reunification trilogy, the thrilling conclusion to the award-winning Clan Chronicles.

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, Sira di Sarc, following her and her kind out of known space.

Only to return, alone and silent. -Goodreads

The Review:

I laughed, I cried, I loved the journey.

The main things I look forward to in Czerneda’s novels are: awesome aliens, great relationships, and situational humor. To Guard Against the Dark had a perfect combination of all three and, in my opinion, was a fitting way to bring the saga to an end.

Series-enders have a tendency to take themselves too seriously, getting so caught up in building a good story arc that they sometimes forget all the little things that make them special. Czerneda couldn’t have delighted me more with her inclusion of all of my favorite elements (Drapsk, more Drapsk, and Huido) in this novel. It was so much fun! The balance of sentimentality and humor was phenomenal. She got it right. :-) Venturing in, I was worried the story would get too existential, focusing on my least favorite elements of the series, the Watchers and the M’hir (usually represented in the Interludes). Even though those elements played a significant role in the finale (and are the basis behind the entire saga), I found them much less ambiguous than in past novels. Finally we get some answers! 

The publisher is advertising that you can jump right in this series without having read anything else, but in my opinion what makes it special and interesting is that it’s a true merge of stories from her Trade Pact Trilogy (to be read first) and her Stratification Trilogy (which I think needs to be read second even though it’s a prequel trilogy). The whole saga is a great journey with incredibly memorable characters; very well worth reading. I’d recommend it if you like sci-fi that focuses more on characterization and aliens than space exploration, military, and technology (for the record, I like both). My recommendation is especially strong if you like aliens because no one does creature creation better than Czerneda! Side note: I would like a stuffed animal Drapsk for my Birthday, please.

I want to thank Berkley Publishing Group, DAW, and Julie E. Czerneda for a chance to read and review an early copy of To Guard Against the Dark. What a fitting end!

Other books you might like (including more Czerneda):

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: To Guard Against the Dark by Julie E. Czerneda

Title: To Guard Against the Dark

Author: Julie E. Czerneda

Series: Reunification #3 [A Clan Novel]

Genre: Science Fiction

Release Date: October 10, 2017

The Overview: The final book in the hard science fiction Reunification trilogy, the thrilling conclusion to the award-winning Clan Chronicles. -Goodreads

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Nik’s Notes:

I’ve been a long-time fan of Czerneda, even going so far as putting myself through a grueling (but fun) competition to become a beta-reader for this trilogy. Alas, I didn’t win, just missing out on being an alternate by one spot. I didn’t mind too much, though, because it gave me the opportunity to re-immerse myself in Czerneda’s Clan novels before diving into this Reunification Trilogy. To Guard Against the Dark is the trilogy-ender, and quite possibly the saga-ender. I’m not so sure how I feel about the cover, being a huge fan of Luis Royo’s work for previous books, but I am definitely excited for its contents in October!

Who else is excited for this one?!

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: This Gulf of Time and Stars by Julie E. Czerneda

This Gulf of Time and Stars by Julie E. Czerneda

Title: This Gulf of Time and Stars

Author: Julie E. Czerneda

Series: Reunification #1

Genre: Science Fiction

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Overview: …I’d lived on a starship long enough to value the small sounds the Fox made: the whoosh of air through vents, the bone-deep growl of lift engines, and the reassuring almost-whine that meant not only gravity, but that we were moving through subspace under power. Sound meant we were safe and all was well.

Silence meant the opposite…

The Review:

I’d like to start out by saying that Julie E Czerneda is my favorite science fiction writer and This Gulf of Time and Stars is just one of the more shining examples of why I enjoy her books so much. There’s a few reasons why I highly anticipated this book in particular, but one stands above the rest:

At the very back of A Rift in the Sky (the final book in her Stratification Trilogy), almost as an afterthought, Czerneda conveyed the following in her Author’s Note:

I hope you enjoy the first six books of the Clan Chronicles. Once you have, I hope you paid attention and have questions.

Because I promise…

You ain’t seen nothing yet.

I was excited before, but coming across a documented promise from the author that she will soon delve into one of the coolest mysteries I’ve come across made me practically dance with excitement!

This Gulf of Time and Stars was a compelling start to a new chapter in the Trade Pact Universe (and Sira & Morgan’s lives). It started with a ton of nostalgia that reiterated all the things I loved about the characters. Then it proceeded to rip out my heart and take me on an emotional roller coaster all the way to the end, where I sat there exhausted, elated, and eager for more. I can’t wait to have more questions answered and see what Czerneda has up her sleeve next!

If you’re a fan of the Trade Pact Universe, this continuation is ESSENTIAL to your reading repertoire. If you just enjoy a good old sci-fi/space opera love-story with great characters, loads of action, and badass aliens, I’d recommend starting with A Thousand Words for Stranger (or Reap the Wild Wind, if you want to go chronologically). Heck, you might as well pick up Migration (#1 in the Species Imperative Trilogy) and my personal favorite: The Beholder’s Eye (#1 in the Web Shifters trilogy) while you’re at it. ;-)

I’d like to thank Penguin Group Berkley, NAL / Signet Romance, DAW, Julie Czerneda, and NetGalley for the chance to read and review an early copy of This Gulf of Time and Stars!

Other books you might like (besides ALL THE THINGS Czerneda):

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: This Gulf of Time and Stars by Julie E. Czerneda

This Gulf of Time and Stars by Julie E. Czerneda

Title: This Gulf of Time and Stars

Author: Julie E. Czerneda

Series: Reunification #1 [A Clan Novel]

Genre: Science Fiction

Release Date: November 3, 2015

The Overview: First in a new science fiction trilogy, set in the same universe as the Clan Chronicles, by the Prix Aurora Award-winning Julie E. Czerneda. [I’m a little underwhelmed by this description… Basically, if you’ve read anything in the Clan world, or more specifically, the Trade Pact Universe Trilogy beginning with A Thousand Words for Stranger, this is a continuation of Sira and Morgan’s story.]

Waiting on Wednesday
Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Czerneda is my favorite sci-fi author, and I recently entered (and lost) her Beta Reader competition to have the chance to check out an early copy of this very book for consistencies. I “studied” for the competition for about two months, but in the end just missed the mark (but would totally do it again if the opportunity presented itself – how many people get to say they beta read for one of their favorite authors?). Anyway, I think it’s safe to say I know this series a lot better than the average reader and am tickled pink to finally get my hands on This Gulf of Time and Stars in November. It’s a continuation of Sira and Morgan’s story, so I’d recommend reading the Trade Pact Universe first at the very least and  the excellent prequel series, Stratification, at the most. I loved them all!

What book are you waiting on?

by Niki Hawkes