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Review: The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

>>Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Title: The Cloud Roads
Author: Martha Wells
Series: Books of the Raksura #1
Format: Paperback
Pages: 278
Genre: Fantasy
Publication Date: March 15th, 2011
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Rating: 8

From Goodreads: Moon has spent his life hiding what he is - a shape-shifter able to transform himself into a winged creature of flight. An orphan with only vague memories of his own kind, Moon tries to fit in among the tribes of his river valley, with mixed success. Just as Moon is once again cast out by his adopted tribe, he discovers a shape-shifter like himself... someone who seems to know exactly what he is, who promises that Moon will be welcomed into his community. What this stranger doesn't tell Moon is that his presence will tip the balance of power... that his extraordinary lineage is crucial to the colony's survival... and that his people face extinction at the hands of the dreaded Fell Now Moon must overcome a lifetime of conditioning in order to save and himself... and his newfound kin.

Why did I read this book? I have seen great reviews for this novel everywhere and on top of that, I’ve been in the mood for a great, straight-up fantasy.

Source: Bought

My Review
I don’t think I’ve read a book quite like The Cloud Roads before. The world building is fabulous in its detail and scope due to the fact that this world is so different from our own. It’s called the Three World, and it’s a vast world populated with any kind of fantastical species you could probably hope for, and no humans to be found. Everything has a touch of magic, from the shape-shifting Raksura to the floating islands and flying ships.

The story follows Moon, a Raksura who doesn’t know he’s a Raksura. All he knows is that he can shape-shift into a creature with spines, claws and wings. He gets by by passing as a regular ‘groundling’ and finds it’s not so hard since there are so many different people in the world. I really liked Moon and at times I was frustrated with him (but that just means he’s a good character). He’s alone in the world, trying to find his place, and when he finally finds one of his own he lets his fear of rejection take over and becomes stubborn and closed off. When Moon finally finds his own people, the Raksura, we meet other great characters. Some of my favorites were Chime, another who struggles with identity, Jade, a burgeoning Raksuran Queen, and Flower, a kindly mentor.

The crux of the story involves Moon’s identity crisis and his quest to find somewhere to call home. There’s also another part of the story, that of the Raksuran group of Indigo Cloud, who are being attacked and harassed by the Fell. The Fell are similar to the Raksura in many ways, except they prey on other intelligent creatures. They insist on blackmailing Indigo Cloud into joining with them so that they can become even more powerful.

Rating: 8
I was delighted while reading The Cloud Roads; the world-building is unique and creative and the story of Moon is endearing. What really synched everything for me were the characters. In less than 300 pages Wells manages to define all the characters that you really connect to them. The prose could have been clunky due to all the information we have to absorb because of the extensive world building, but it’s deftly handled and released to us through Moon, who is learning along with us. Overall, I really loved this book and look forward to reading the sequel, The Serpent Sea as soon as possible. Oh, and I will definitely be picking up some of Wells’ backlist as well.

1 comment:

  1. Now I'm even more eager to read this! I've heard tons of wonderful things about it. Martha Wells has sure received a lot of positive attention over the past year.



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