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The Siren Depths: Volume Three of the Books of the Raksura Paperback – December 4, 2012
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This was probably the most emotional of the Books of the Raksura, which is probably why it's my favorite so far of the three. Moon -- not the most emotionally together guy at the best of times -- has to muddle his way through a morass of his feelings for Jade, his fears about the future, his anger about his past, other people's hatred of him, and more. As if that's not enough to deal with, the Fell are back with a vengeance... along with something worse. Along the way, though, Wells treats us to the same wonders and horrors that make us love and fear the Three Worlds: amazing ancient cities, magical airships, genteel monsters, breathtakingly badass women, obnoxiously badass grandpas, and truly heartrending moments of pain and beauty.
If you even slightly liked either of the two preceding books, make sure you read this one. Seriously.
One thing I liked about the story was how it tells a tale on two fronts. One one hand there's the immediate story of what Moon is doing and where he's being forced to go. On the other hand, The Siren Depths ties in with the previous novels to finally reveal Moon's full backstory. Readers finally get to find out what happened to him as a kid, how he was separated from his court, the identity of his parents, and more. By the end, all of the loose ends are tied up which gives the book a feeling of completeness. However, the future is kept wide open and there are plenty of major stories that could be explored in future novels.
On its own, The Siren Depths is an enjoyable book. It's certainly not something you would want to dive into without reading the other two books first. A lot of world building and character building is accomplished before hand. While you probably could jump straight into this book and enjoy it, you would be missing out on a lot. Regardless, this book fits in perfectly with the series. As part of the greater whole, it continues the fun, but it also ties things together nicely, answers lingering questions, and pushes the characters in intriguing directions.
Like the previous stories, there is a good mix of various story elements. It explores new, strange places and creatures. There's a new villain who turns out to be the driving force behind the Fell and their desire to crossbreed with the Raksura. There's a new groundling city discovered on the side of a cliff, built into a gigantic statue. It has harbors for flying boats and its citizens are armed with projectile weaponry. There's also a mysterious underwater city full of secrets that's explored. There's a lot of court intrigue as Moon ventures to a new Raksuran court on the edge of the Reaches. Meanwhile the story of Moon and Jade's relationship continues into new territory. The only thing that's not really explored yet is the raising of the Sky Copper royal clutch.
If you're thinking about investing in the series, it's worthwhile. The second and third books are on par with the first. It's also a good way for Star Wars readers to see what Martha Wells' storytelling is like. She does a good job of balancing between characters and plot. The dialog and character development is excellent. She's very imaginative and comes up with some really strange races, creatures, and places. Action is spread throughout the novel with various trigger points and mission points, but it's never drawn out to the point of being tiresome. There also isn't any graphic sex, and while there is violence, she doesn't dwell on it. All in all, it's a great mix for good storytelling that makes for addictive reading.
As to writing. Martha Wells is an amazing writer. Her characters are real, in a way many writers don't achieve, being well-rounded with admirable traits and flaws. Yet no one is obviously the hero, born into obscurity... Her people ARE people.
Seriously folks, this is good stuff.
As in the first two books, the lush descriptions of this highly original world are simply breathtaking. i want to go live in a mountain-tree now. and have wings. of course.