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Setting on a planet divided between a primitive human culture with emerging psi powers, an insectoid (ecological, biological) hive race and a "digger" (underground) race. Keeping balance by attrition (war, raids and invasion). I can't remember the type of "digger" race, not sure if it was reptilian based or other.

Main character is a young female who finds herself developing powers that are out of the accepted norm. Secondary character is a human space explorer (scientist, scout).

I read two books in this series a while ago. The first presented the girl, her society, the balance with the aliens and was involved in her rejection by her society; the consequences to her tribe for not keeping balance; her flight with the survivors; meeting the scout and leaving the planet via psi powers.

The second book was about hiding on a human world; learning to fit in; using and abusing psi powers and rise to power; with a hint that the third book might be returning to the original planet.

I vaguely remember that this book may be written in an open universe, but am not positive.

  • That sounds very like the Stratification Trilogy, by Julie Czerneda - czerneda.com/sf/stratificcycle.html. I read the first two books earlier this year, and your first couple of paragraphs describe them very nicely. The third part, about hiding in a human world, isn't from those books, but there were hints it might be coming in the third book. – andrewsi Dec 2 '13 at 19:14
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Having just finished reading the final book of the trilogy, I'm almost sure that this is indeed the Stratification Trilogy by Julie Czerneda.

In the first book, we meet Aryl. She's a member of the Yena Clan of the Om'ray, who live a subsistence existence on a planet called Cersi. They share the planet with two other species - the Tikitik, who are insectoid and whose technology is based on the use of animals and plants; and the Oud, who live under the ground.

The Om'ray have psychic powers, but conceal them to keep the balance between the three races. Aryl is starting to develop new powers, which her Clan want to suppress, as they're a danger to the balance.

She meets Marcus Bowman, who is a human explorer from the offworld Commonwealth, hunting for artifacts from a long-dead culture, and strikes up a friendship with him.

In the second book, she is

exiled from her Clan, and founds a new one (well, more accurately, they take over a village abandoned by an now-extinct Clan)

In the third book, her Clan

move to the Commonwealth, where they quickly insinuate themselves into a position of influence by selling a cache of artifacts that Marcus found, and learn how to hide the fact that they're not human.

The next trilogy is the Reunification Cycle, which is set hundreds of years later, and covers the Clan's return to their homeworld.

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