Tuesday, February 2, 2016

This Gulf of Time and Stars (Reunification #1), by Julie E. Czerneda (author), Allyson Johnson (narrator)

Audible Studios, November 2015

This is the first book of a trilogy, but that trilogy is the third trilogy in a larger series. Despite that, while it's a bit confusing at first, enough backstory is salted in along the way that even coming to it cold I was able to catch up and enjoy the story.

We begin with a very dark scene, with individuals of some power and status within the various races of the Trade Pact meeting in secret. They're there to plot the destruction of the Clan, a race newly invited to join the Trade Pact. The Clan are a mysterious race, who can pass for human and live in secret among humans--and can "port" themselves and objects from one place to another. They can also control the minds of others, and erase memories. Terrifying, right?

And then we switch, in the next scene, to the first person perspective of what turns out to be our protagonist--Sira Morgan, a woman of the Clan, married to Jason Morgan, trade ship captain and pilot. They're preparing for a "baby rainshower," Jason's plan to celebrate the coming birth of the child of Sira's cousin Barak and his Chosen, Rudy, at a restaurant run by a turtle-like alien called Guido, an old friend of Jason's.

This is, of course, where everything hits the fan.

The Clan has, due to some extremely bad political decisions and a desire to breed them selves to ever-increasing levels of power, in fact bred itself to the edge of extinction. Barak and Rudy's baby is very important--and the secret plot to destroy the Clan by some within the Trade Pact doesn't wait on family parties. It's not long before Sira is reeling from the deaths of hundreds of the already-endangered Clan, while scrambling to get the survivors, including Barak and Rudy, to someplace, anyplace, safe.

And this involves navigating some very stormy family and political waters, and being willing to try something very, very dangerous.

Along the way, they find more questions than answers, and more new problems than solutions.

This is a very fast-paced story, and Sira, Jason, and many (not all!) of their family and friends are likable as well as interesting. After nearly bouncing off that first chapter, I was really drawn in by the rest of it.

Structurally, the story alternates between chapters seen from Sira's first-person viewpoint, and "interludes" told in third person from other characters' viewpoints. It's nicely layered and very enjoyable.

Standard disclaimer when reviewing audiobooks: In many cases, I'm guessing at the spellings of names.

Recommended.

I received this book from Audible free in exchange for an honest review.