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Julie E. Czerneda
book cover

The Trade Pact Universe Book 2
1999, October DAW
Buy from Amazon.com (mass market paperback)

Who recommends: Barbara, Lori, Linda, Preeti, Leila
Who discommends:

Well, being of short attention span, this one was bit long for me - almost 500 pages. And I got somewhat irritated when I was distracted from the plot by the first person alternating with hero POV - occasional other POV, and then rolled my eyes when The Great Separation occurred early on. So about 300 or 350 pages is Trying To Resolve The Problems and Distance That Separate Us while saving the universe.

That makes it sound worse that it was. I got irritated at both Sira and Morgan at times, but see them grow from the start to the end of the book. We have a lot of loose ends left tangling, one very big one from Morgan's Evil Past which is bound to show up in the next book. And we still have to contend with Jared and his scheming. If anything, I mourn that I couldn't find a really nice character to root for - virtually everyone had flaws and it was just a matter of being repulsed by the really horrible evil done by the true bad guys that you swing to the good guys who reluctantly realize being good is the only way to go.

That said, you have a fascinating alien culture that is intriguing, you get some comic relief in alien beings and a realization that you shouldn't accept aliens at face value according to human standards. And some pretty evil reptilian creatures also not to be taken at face value.

Not as good for me as A THOUSAND and I also liked BEHOLDER'S EYE better but I'll pick up the next one.
--Barbara (02 Nov 99)

The chapters alternate, one first person Sira, the other, third person someone else. And sometimes that alternate chapter (interlude) was only one page long. It took a while for me to get into the rhythm of the book. I think I also had a few unanswered questions from the end of the previous book, which were addressed but not quite directly. (Hey, I'm an impatient modern reader! I don't want to figure things out myself, or wait to see. <g>)

I found some of the characters sympathetic, even with their flaws. But then again, I'd probably find some villains sympathetic, if done properly from their point of view. I used to expect books to be standalone, so it's kind of interesting how we now expect continuations if everything isn't completely tied up<g>.

I definitely like her aliens. Yeah, her books aren't perfect, but there's definitely something that resonates with me, so I'll definitely be picking up her books. Heck, I read this one pretty quickly, which I don't always do.
--Lori (06 Nov 99)

TIES OF POWER wasn't quite as romantic as the first one because the h/h are separated through a lot of the book, but I still loved it for Czerneda's aliens.

Just because Sira's Power of Choice didn't kill Morgan, it doesn't mean everything's okay. She fears that joining with him totally will bring him at risk from her clan, so she she's been training him in defense. When she is attacked and medically traumatized, in a moment of anger she sends Morgan on the path of revenge. Unable to reach him to let him know her change of mind (because he's got his mind closed off to prevent a clan attack on it) she has sent him toward an ultimate confrontation with the clan--something she had never wanted to happen.

While trying to find him, Sira gets involved with an alien people called Drapsk, who pretty much take up most of the book for me. Plus she finds out more about the M'hir than she had ever realized. I never thought an alien that sounded kind of gross looking could end up being so cute. Like when they are upset, they suck their tentacles in their mouth. LOL. Oh well, you probably have to be there to realize how cute they can be.<g>

I sure hope Czerneda doesn't end the series without Barac getting to have choice. I've really gotten to feel for the guy!! I hadn't noticed before but, in this book, she writes very short chapters that seem to take turns from Sira in one, Morgan another and than maybe a protagonist in every few. Morgan's adventure was very slow, while Sira's was so interesting that I hated to keep going back and forth. Though things did finally speed up for Morgan in the last third.--Linda (3 Jun 02)

I've finished the second book of Czerneda's "Clan" universe, TIES OF POWER, and am almost finished with the third. Our hero & heroine are separated for most of these two. The action continues to be riveting, with the various alien cultures (truly original stuff), and their relationship to the M'Hir, this unknown space that exists on mental power & talent. As Preeti mentioned, the alien Drapsk steal the show.--Leila (20 Aug 03)

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