Book review: “To Guard Against the Dark” by Julie E. Czerneda

Series: Reunification #3 [A Clan Novel] Genre: Science fiction The Overview: Goodreads

Book review: "To Guard Against the Dark" by Julie E. CzernedaBook review: "To Guard Against the Dark" by Julie E. CzernedaI 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!

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