I’ve previously covered the first two books in Martha Wells’ Books of the Raksura series – The Cloud Roads and The Serpent Sea. I’ve finished reading the third installment of the series, and I want to give my thoughts on that.
Well, in short, if the Books of the Raksura series ended here, I’d be okay with that – not because this book is bad, or because I’m not interested in more stories with these characters. It’s because this book really ends with a satisfying feeling, with a sense of closure, though with some new questions, while also answering some of the major questions from previous books.
The Siren Depth starts off with Indigo Cloud getting further settled in their Mountain Tree a few months after retrieving the seed in the events of The Serpent Sea, with protagonist Moon attempting to have a clutch with Jade, sister-queen to the court, and who has claimed Moon as her consort. However, to the surprise of almost everyone -word comes a neighboring court that they have discovered Moon’s home court, Opal Night, (which he had presumed was destroyed when he was a fledgling), and when they found it, Moon’s court announced that they want him back. Further, they turn out to be kind of a big deal, so Jade can’t do the Raksuran equivalent of telling them to take a flying leap, without going through steps to contest their claim.
Before that can happen, Moon ends up getting to know his birth court, and ultimately finds out what lead to the destruction of his home and his abandonment. However, a chain of events will also lead to a discovery on why the Fell have been breeding cross-breed Fell/Raksura (as we saw in The Cloud Roads).
The Siren Depths, much as The Cloud Roads, puts a lot of narrative focus on Raksuran society, which is probably why it makes for such a satisfactory book-end to this first trilogy of books. In The Cloud Roads, Moon knew exactly fuck-and-all about not only Raksuran society, but Raksura as a species, and his journey of discovery mirrored that of the reader. By this book he’s much more familiar with Raksuran society – and so are we as an audience, but our familiarity is through a smaller court, and though we’ve had glimpses of larger courts (as we had in The Serpent Sea), we – and Moon – have no experience of those family dynamics. Thus, we get to see those political dynamics played on a much larger scale.
Wells paints an incredibly vivid picture of Opal Night, building on what we’ve learned from the last two books to set up the dynamics of a court which is both familiar but also very different. We also see a bunch more about Fell “society”, with a climax in an environment that, much like the Mountain Tree and the Leviathan in The Serpent Sea, I am probably going to have to yoink for an RPG campaign at some point.
I absolutely enjoyed this book – I already have the fourth book in the series and fully intend to read it, but had Wells chosen to stop here, I would have been okay with that. While everything isn’t tied up in a nice little bow or anything, there’s a sense of closure here that makes this a good place to wrap up.
The Siren Depths is available in print, Kindle, and Audiobook editions from Amazon.com.