The initial book of the Hidden Sea Tales comes to a very satisfying conclusion, but there’s a number of dangling threads.

Sofie gets to go back to Stormwrack, and pick up the investigation of this world which isn’t—and is—Earth. She’s been preparing for this, so now she’s in better shape (and was a fairly active woman already).

We get a decent amount of her investigations this time, sprinkled all throughout the book. But the plot still has other, more personal, ideas and takes precedence. Her (birth) mother is still imprisoned for… lets call it fraud, and much of the book is about getting to know her father better.

A lot of plot manages to hang off this one desire. Nothing is simple about it, and the strong points of the series are again on the very personal side. Cly has certain cultural expectations that don’t mesh well with an independent 20-something 21-century woman, and the two manage to be thoroughly infuriated with each other even while trying to reach out.

Adjacent to this part is Sofie’s work to get to study Stormwrack, which ends up as a continuation of the climax of the first novel. Cly suggests starting an office to bring the idea of forensics to Stormwrack to help out the judiciary system. This ends up driving a good chunk of this novel, especially towards the end.

The biggest failure here is that you don’t get as much a look at the internal politics of the Fleet, even though it’s important again. Most notably, the ending shows a rupture of the Cessation looming again, but the immediate drivers are all off screen. You don’t know who is making these confrontational decisions, but some have certainly been made. Short of that, it’s another very good book, but while I think there’s enough intro for a new reader, certainly go for Child of a Hidden Sea first.