Group Reads of the Raksura - April - The Serpent Sea
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Ah, another lovely cover! I suppose that's Jade front and center? And a land mass that looks suspiciously animal-like...
Moon, once a solitary wanderer, has become consort to Jade, sister queen of the Indigo Cloud court. Together, they travel with their people on a pair of flying ships in hopes of finding a new home for their colony. Moon finally feels like he's found a tribe where he belongs. But when the travelers reach the ancestral home of Indigo Cloud, shrouded within the trunk of a mountain-sized tree, they discover a blight infecting its core. Nearby they find the remains of the invaders who may be responsible, as well as evidence of a devastating theft. This discovery sends Moon and the hunters of Indigo Cloud on a quest for the heartstone of the tree - a quest that will lead them far away, across the Serpent Sea. In this followup to The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells returns with a world-spanning odyssey, a mystery that only provokes more questions - and the adventure of a lifetime.Interesting! Let's try to keep spoilers past the first half of this book behind spoiler tags until late in the month- around Monday the 17th maybe?- but spoilers from the first book are A-OK.
The discussion thread for The Cloud Roads is here, we'll discuss The Serpent Sea here, and we'll be reading the third book, The Siren Depths, in May.
Who's looking forward to this one? I know I'm interested to see where Wells takes things, and hoping for less of the things that bothered me about the first one- from the blurb, it looks like the focus here could be away from the Fell, who were definitely the weakest element of the first book for me, but I suspect they'll show up sometime. The quest plot implies that we might be seeing less of Raksuran society than I'd hoped, but hopefully Moon will have interesting companions on his journey.
I'm only just past a third of the way through, but I'm liking this one a lot better than The Cloud Roads, honestly. No Fell!
It looks like the cover for Stories of the Raksura Volume One is out:
Jade and a cloud-ship? Pretty! Here's the summary:
In “The Falling World,” Jade, sister queen of the Indigo Cloud Court, has traveled with Chime and Balm to another Raksuran court. When she fails to return, her consort, Moon, along with Stone and a party of warriors and hunters, must track them down. Finding them turns out to be the easy part; freeing them from an ancient trap hidden in the depths of the Reaches is much more difficult.
“The Tale of Indigo and Cloud” explores the history of the Indigo Cloud Court, long before Moon was born. In the distant past, Indigo stole Cloud from Emerald Twilight. But in doing so, the reigning Queen Cerise and Indigo are now poised for a conflict that could spark war throughout all the courts of the Reaches.
This book had fewer things I disliked than The Cloud Roads- no Fell with all of their troublesome and seemingly unexamined implications for one- but I'm not sure there was as much I liked in particular overall beyond general enjoyment, so they averaged out to about the same- both good reads.
I enjoyed the earlier parts with a visit to another Raksuran Court, but I agree with the consensus that the trip to the leviathan city dragged- a really interesting setting, but I wanted more of the city and less of the monster, and a number of things about their expedition just didn't really add up to me.
Wearing shoes to pass as a groundling is essential because someone who's seen Raksura before might recognize that Raksura don't wear shoes, but they speak Raksuran in public, are distinctly different from all of the types of groundlings in the area, and fly around town- even to the magister's tower- without considering any of those things as dangerous or needing to be addressed- granted the flying around was at night time or in heavy fog, but still, the city is probably lit up at least a little!
Then Jade comes with the others anyways like a day or two later, so the whole hiding idea is kind of out the window anyways. (I am a little biased on that account, though, because I would have liked more Jade in this book overall.)
I was really surprised when it was mentioned near the end that they were only supposed to have been there for four days- it seemed like a lot more time had elapsed.
I liked Moon and Stone together- their argument about solitaries and subsequent reconciliation where Stone tells Moon that he wouldn't have been as ruthless as Moon feared.
I was, however, afraid when so many parallels were set up between Moon and Rift and then Chime or someone called Rift's relationship with Ardan "creepy" that we were headed for more unfortunate men who have relationships with men = predatory or evil implications, but thankfully that didn't seem to be the case- in the end, both of them turned out to be awful people.
I don't think we got enough to really know what Rift was to Ardan- Ardan's reactions to him seemed to indicate Rift was putting on an act towards him different from both his act with Moon and the other Raksura and how he was with the groundlings.
We didn't see as much of Rift's relationship with the groundlings as I would have liked either, though- they did seem legitimately terrified of him when he first showed up, when they thought Moon was also a groundling, but then both that terror and their fear of Raksura in general seemed to evaporate between Moon and Rift's escape from the tower and Esom and Karsis showing back up and meeting up with them later on.
I think this is why the revelation that Rift was, as I read it, basically a serial killer came out of left field for me. I figured that he was the one that killed Ardan, and it made sense that he did so because he was afraid Ardan knew why Rift was kicked out and would tell Moon and the others, but there was no real foreshadowing that Rift was anything more than a bully who enjoyed the job Ardan gave him terrorizing the groundlings- I expected to find out that he'd been kicked out of his Court because he'd abused his position as a warrior along the same lines.
I don't understand how Moon extrapolated from Rift has a secret, groundlings are afraid of Rift, and Rift killed people for Ardan to Rift has been regularly killing groundlings, but he's unsatisfied with that because groundlings aren't really people, and he wants to get back to a Court so he can kill Arbora, who are groundlings and not really people to him- typing it out now it seems to make even less sense. If killing groundlings isn't satisfying, and Arbora are just like groundlings, wouldn't killing Arbora have also been unsatisfying?
Maybe there were things I missed here?
I thought the whole section with Halcyon at the end didn't really have anything to do with anything. I'm guessing it's more set up for The Siren Depths to put Emerald Twilight into Indigo Cloud's debt for some reason- Emerald Twilight has just been and left where I'm at in The Siren Depths.