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A friend of mine as a child lent me a sci-fi book that I enjoyed at the time but lost track of. I've tried searching for it over the years, but having only a few scant details of the story (and no title/author), I haven't had much luck.
The story takes place on a planet that is a sister planet or moon of the main colonized planet in the system. It is/was used as a prison planet and is completely colonized by exiled families from the main planet. The main character in the novel is on some kind of path of discovery, trying to find out the origins of the planet that have been lost in antiquity, if I remember correctly.
I remember that he travels to different portions of the planet, meeting with various inhabitants and picking up pieces of their culture, tech and/or powers. One such culture teaches him to communicate with the living planet, allowing him to bend the 'earth' itself to his will. He learns this skill by jumping off of a cliff and allowing the ground to 'swallow' him, cushioning his fall. In one scene he is taken prisoner and is unable to escape, even though the cell is made of stone, because the shaped stone is no longer 'alive' in a way that he can communicate with it. At another point he uses this power to sink an entire island or continent, killing everyone on it, (to what end I don't recall) and the sounds of their dying haunts his head afterwards.
Unfortunately, these specific pieces are about all I can remember other than some vague impressions. Hopefully they're recognizable to someone!