Julie Czerneda ends her Stratification Trilogy with “Rift in the Sky” as she continues to follow the clan made up of those of the Om’ray who can use the M’hir to teleport. Aryl and her Chosen, Enris have survived the upheavals detailed in the second volume of the trilogy “Riders of the Storm” and are trying to eke out a living with the other Om’ray who no longer fit in their respective clans or no longer have a clan to return to. They are all in the precarious position of occupying the less than hospitable area known as Sona but their numbers are too few to make it a viable Clan, especially with the constraints that their neighbors the Oud have imposed upon the waters that flow through the area. The fragile balance that links the Om’ray, Oud and Tikitik peoples is still being threatened, not only by the Sona Clan’s unusual abilities but also by the forces represented by the Triads including the (not Om’ray) Human Marcus Bowman who is studying the artifacts known as Hoveny relics that are in such demand elsewhere among the stars. The insular Om’ray discover that their very existence is about to be threatened and the Sona Clan suddenly expands and morphs into the M’hiray and seeks sanctuary in a fashion that radically alters their entire way of life.
This is another fascinatingly complex Czerneda story that can be overwhelming without the backgroud provided in the first two volumes of the series. Once again, the author stands one’s perception on end and analyzes the elements that make up a society and the effects of insularity using fantastical beings that occupy rigid niches yet must learn to adapt in order to survive. There are a few abrupt transitions that are necessary to move the series along but the reader develops such an affinity with the characters that it is difficult to remember that they are NOT human and have their own system of mores and beliefs that are essentially alien yet entirely understandable. This was a nicely plotted but startling segue into the next trilogy of the Clan Chronicles that began with “A Thousand Words for Stranger”.
Third in the prequel series to the Locus bestselling Trade Pact Universe novels.
Despite all good intentions, the lure of the Talent to move through space using the M'hir dimension is too much for the Om'ray of Cersi to resist. As the awareness of this talent spreads, all those Om'ray who are capable converge on the settlement at Sona. To prevent the disruption of the Agreement and the destruction that it would unleash, the M'hiray, as they now call themselves, agree to leave Cersi forever and try to establish their own haven within the Trade Pact worlds—only to learn that not everybody wants peace.