Author: Martha Wells
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Publication date: December 2012
Paperback: 320 pages
All his life, Moon roamed the Three Worlds, a solitary wanderer forced to hide his true nature — until he was reunited with his own kind, the Raksura, and found a new life as consort to Jade, sister queen of the Indigo Cloud court. But now a rival court has laid claim to him, and Jade may or may not be willing to fight for him. Beset by doubts, Moon must travel in the company of strangers to a distant realm where he will finally face the forgotten secrets of his past, even as an old enemy returns with a vengeance. The Fell, a vicious race of shape-shifting predators, menaces groundlings and Raksura alike. Determined to crossbreed with the Raksura for arcane purposes, they are driven by an ancient voice that cries out from . . . .The siren depths.
Stand alone or series: Book three in the Books of the Raksura series
How did I get this book: I bought a copy
Format (e- or p-): e-book (Baen Webscription eBook DRM-Free)
Why did I read this book: Because I loved books 1 (The Cloud Roads) and 2 (The Serpent Sea) in the series.
Oh, what a pleasure it is to return to the Three Worlds and the Raksura! Such a rich world, such an incredibly fun and adventurous story, such a bunch of well-rounded characters!
In this third (and final?) book in the Books of the Raksura series, we continue to follow the long-term tribulations of the folks from Indigo Cloud court as well as the protagonist Moon’s internal struggles.
Indigo Cloud court is still settling down in their new home when news arrive from far away: a rival court has laid claim on Moon and want him back. Moon is not happy about it, he has finally found a home with Indigo Cloud and even though he and its Queen Jade haven’t had a clutch yet (is there anything wrong with him, he wonders), things are looking up. Plus, this other court didn’t want him before, so why bother now. To his surprise, Indigo Cloud tells him to go and they explain that according to the Raksura way of life he must follow the order, that they have no choice and despite reassurances from Jade that she WILL get him back, Moon believes it is the end of the road for him and Indigo Cloud. In the meantime, there is danger in the horizon, as the Fell make their come-back with a vengeance.
This is the book where all threads present in the series so far come to an end. It is here that past and present meet in order to pave the way to the future. Both the Indigo Cloud court and Moon have to face their ghosts so that they can carry on.
For the Indigo Cloud court and even the Raksura themselves, it is time they understand more about their connection to the dreaded Fell and the things they have in common – as unthinkable as this might be. There are surprising revelations here that add an element of learning to the proceedings even as the characters are fighting for their lives in the crudest yet most exciting sequences of the novel.
For Moon, it is coming to grips with his childhood and how his perception of his own history might not be entirely true as well as coming to the understanding about how his life from before is affecting how he responds emotionally to his life now. If there was learning for the Raksura, there is all the more so for Moon. His arc finally reaches the point where he KNOWS everything: who he is, what happened to his family and why; and how this knowledge must be taken onboard to help him decide the person he wants to be.
This is the type of Fantasy series I absolutely love – and highly recommend as a worthwhile series to read and fall in love with. There is a wonderful balance between the personal and the collective, for example, with Moon having to understand the laws the Raksura live by and sometimes even question them; between different peoples and cultures; between character and plot (both drive the story forward). The world-building is unquestionably well-established and thought-through, the Raksura a wholly different species without being completely alien.
It also features a matriarchal society of completely badass women, a different type of Consort that doesn’t mind being protected AND saved by his Queen but who wishes he can be more proactive, friendship bonds, reasoned and negotiated romance, as well as moments of pain and loss mingled with beauty and inspiration.
The Siren Depths closes the series really well – but with scope for more awesome adventures with Moon, Jade, Stone and co. I am hoping for more!
Notable Quotes/ Parts:
“It’s a long way,” Moon said. He walked along the wide expanse of the branch, his heel claws catching in the rough wood. The air was fresh and cool and green-tinged early morning sunlight filtered down through the thick layers of the mountain-tree’s leafy canopy. “I think you’re taking too many Arbora.” He was trying to come up with better objections to the trip, but so far that was all he had.
“I know I’m taking too many Arbora.” Stone was in his groundling form, sitting on the branch, surveying the two flying boats below. “Try telling them that.”
The boats had been tethered to one of the colony tree’s larger garden platforms so they could be loaded more easily. Both were from the Golden Isles, with long graceful hulls made of lacquered wood and sails fan-folded up into the single central masts. Together the two ships had been large enough for the entire Indigo Cloud court to crowd aboard, but on the way back they would carry only four overexcited Arbora, six warriors resigned to their fate, and one impatient groundling.
A small crowd had gathered on the boats and the grassy platforms below the hulls, mostly Arbora carrying provisions aboard or finishing off the last few repairs, or who were saying goodbye to the travelers. Several warriors flew circles around the masts, staying out of the way.
“I can see why you need Blossom,” Moon admitted. Niran, the groundling whose family owned the vessels, had taught Blossom to pilot the smaller ship, the Indala, on the long journey to the Reaches. She would be piloting it again on the longer journey back to the Yellow Sea. Once the two ships reached the Golden Isles and Niran’s family, Stone and the other Raksura would be flying back under their own power, with the warriors carrying the flightless Arbora. “Why do you need the others?”
“Company for Blossom. And Niran.” Stone unfolded long legs and pushed to his feet. His groundling form was lean and tall, like Moon’s groundling form, like the groundling forms of most Aeriat Raksura. He had one bad eye, partially blinded by a white haze across the pupil, and was so old his skin and hair had faded to gray. He also wore gray, pants and a loose shirt. “And for me. I’m not spending this trip trapped on those flying baskets with nobody but warriors to talk to.”
Stone was cranky, moody, and had lied to get Moon to follow him across the Three Worlds, and Moon wanted him to leave slightly less than he wanted to lose a wing. They were the only two adult consorts in the court, and Moon needed the company and the reinforcement. And Stone was the closest he had ever had to a father, or a male relative of any kind. And he thought he had succeeded in concealing all that, but one of Stone’s more annoying qualities was his ability to guess what Moon was thinking. Stone glanced at him, amusement in his one good eye, and said, “I won’t be gone that long.”
Before Moon could retort that he didn’t give a piss how long Stone was gone, Stone shifted, dropped off the branch, and spread his wings to glide down toward the flying boats.
Rating: 8 – Excellent
Reading Next: Indigo’s Star by Hilary McKay
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