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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and entertaining fantasy..., 21 Jun 2011
This review is from: The Cloud Roads (The Books of the Raksura) (Paperback)
Before I write anything else I must say it's great that Martha Wells found a publisher for The Cloud Roads, because it's an excellent fantasy book. Night Shade Books has done a big favour for all fantasy readers by publishing this book, because it's without a doubt one of the best and most original fantasy books of 2011. This rich and well imagined fantasy book invites readers to explore a new world which is inhabited by strange beings. It also offers wondrous and beautiful vistas to its readers, because the world is full of wonders.

The Cloud Roads is an unconventional and genuinely fascinating fantasy book, because Martha Wells avoids clichés and writes fresh fantasy. The Cloud Roads is an interesting and beautiful tale of what it means to be different. It's also a fresh story about love, loss and loneliness. That's partly the reason why this book is charmingly irresistible (when you begin to read this book, you'll soon notice that it's impossible to put it down - I read this book in one sitting, because I loved it).

I think it's fantastic that Martha Wells has written a story about a strange world and non-human shapeshifters (Raksura) and has ignored all the usual fantasy clichés, because there's plenty of room for this kind of inventive fantasy. In my opinion there are too many clichéd fantasy books out there, so we need more books like The Cloud Roads to remind us that there's more to fantasy than young farmboys who grow up to be powerful wizards.

The Cloud Roads is a story about Moon, who in the beginning of the story lives with a tribe called the Cordans. He's a shapeshifter and he hides his ability from others, because he has been cast out of other tribes for being different. Moon has always thought that he's alone and there aren't any other shapeshifters, but his life changes when he meets a shapeshifter called Stone. Stone rescues Moon and promises to take him to Indigo Cloud Court so that he can meet other shapeshifters. When he travels to the Indigo Cloud Court, he learns new things about the Raksura and their enemy, the Fell. He also learns the truth about why Stone brought him there... That's all I'm going to reveal about the story, because it wouldn't be fair to reveal everything.

The events takes place in a world called Three Worlds, which is a vast and wonderful place. Three Worlds consists of three different realms: earth, sea and sky. The world is full of different intelligent races, species and cultures, so there's plenty of diversity, which is intriguing. There are also plenty of other interesting things (sky-ships, floating islands etc). Three Worlds is totally different from other fantasy worlds and that's part of this book's charm.

It was interesting to read about the biology of the Raksura, because they're fascinating intelligent beings. Usually fantasy authors write about humans and elves, so I was thrilled to read about a new and exciting race, which is different from humans and elves. I liked it that the Raksura were able to change their appearance and had two different forms. The Fell were also interesting beings, because their only goal seemed to be conquest and destruction.

The hero of this book is Moon. He's a traditional, but interesting hero, because he's a bit impatient and has lots of things to learn. He's also quite stubborn, but he has a good heart. It's easy to identify with him, because Martha Wells writes fluently about his feelings and makes him an interesting character. Because Moon has lived most of his life among groundlings, who can't shapeshift and fly, he's a lonely hero (other Raksura try to avoid him and don't treat him well, because he's lived a solitary life). The other characters (Pearl, Jade, Chime, Stone etc) were also interesting and added depth to the story. It's easy to see that Martha Wells loves her characters, because she writes lovingly about their lives.

I liked the story very much, because Martha Wells gradually revealed things about the world and the characters. This kind of storytelling has always appealed to me, because it's allows the reader to fall in love with the new world and its beings. This book contains the right amount of drama, humour and action, which is quite an astonishing achievement, because you seldom have a chance to read a book where all the elements are in perfect balance. The plot moves quickly forward and there's never a dull moment. In other words, this book is perfect entertainment for fantasy readers.

The cover art by Matthew Stewart looks beautiful and shows what kind of a creature Moon is.

I have to mention that I'm looking forward to reading Martha Wells' next book, The Serpent Sea (a sequel to The Cloud Roads), because I can hardly wait to see what happens in it. It will be published sometime in 2012 by Night Shade Books.

The Cloud Roads is a masterpiece of imagination and ingenuity, so don't miss it. I highly recommended this book to all fans of quality fantasy. I'm sure that readers, who appreciate good prose, inventive fantasy and entertaining storytelling, will love this book. Go and buy this book!

(By the way, if you've never read Martha Wells before, you should read her books, because you'll fall in love with their freshness and originality.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written Unique Adventure, 21 Jun 2013
By 
Ginny (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cloud Roads (The Books of the Raksura) (Paperback)
See my review of this book, and many more, at TalesfromtheGreatEastRoad.wordpress.com

Review:

After hiding in his human form and constantly travelling between different races of humans, Moon is finally caught out. Having been spotted transforming, Moon is discovered for what he really is: a creature who can shape shift from human to a being with black scales, wings, claws, and a tail. The group of superstitious humans he has been living with mistake him for a demon race known as the Fell. Poisoned, tied to a post in the middle of the forest and left to die, Moon is rescued by a stranger, named Stone, who turns out to be a shifter like him - not a Fell, but a Raksura, the people he has been searching for his whole life. But when Stone takes Moon back to his court, it's not the happy homecoming Moon has always hoped for. Tensions rise at his arrival between two Queens, the ruling Queen Pearl and her sister Jade, while other court members are trying to discover why all their new born children seem to be dying, and what is causing the court to sicken. Moon must help strengthen his new home and defend his people from a Fell invasion.

Books like The Cloud Roads remind me of why I love fantasy. The world building and detail that are included are simply beautiful, and after reading it I still want to know more about the many different races of creatures mentioned. The way the world was presented was both skillfully done and revealed slowly in an almost frustrating way. Martha Wells teases her readers with glimpses of one race/culture that you can't help but want to know more of, only to then show you another, equally as fascinating. I hope for many more books in this series, just to see every part of the Three Worlds - sea, land and sky. One of my favourite parts was the flying islands, but I would also love to see more of the sea creatures, as this was only briefly touched upon in book one.

As for the story itself, I liked Moon from the beginning and loved Stone. In fact, my only complaint with this book was that Stone wasn't featured as much as I would have liked. There wasn't one character I disliked, and found them all to be detailed and three-dimensional. Even the arrogant, slightly unstable Queen Pearl had an understandable motive for her actions. I enjoyed the growth of Moon, as this is a coming-of-age story, though a more mature one that usual, as the protagonist is about 30 instead of an adolescent. This creates an interesting mix, as Moon is learning who he is, but in some ways he already knows. The other members of the Rasksura court have to adjust to him as much as Moon adjusts to them.

As I have said, I sincerely hope that this series continues beyond the two books already written (The Cloud Roads and its sequel The Serpent Sea), and will grabbing a copy of the sequel as soon as I can.

I truly loved this book and will now automatically buy any more in this series a.s.a.p.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something different in fantasy, 6 Dec 2012
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How great to see the start of another Martha Wells' series. She eschews the cliches of fantasy in both plot and characterisation and, in doing so, keeps you guessing as to where the story's going; a refreshing change from much of the current fantasy market. Her world-building is worthy of special mention; detailed, intricate and robust. No cod medieval borrowing here. She peoples the world with a large cast of well-realised characters and handles them deftly, never losing sight of her protagonist, Moon. I understand there are further books in the pipeline and, having enjoyed this one tremendously, I shall definitely be reading the following ones.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stranger in his own land, 4 Jun 2011
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This review is from: The Cloud Roads (The Books of the Raksura) (Paperback)
Growing up amongst the different races of the world, Moon has never quite known what he himself is. He only knows that if anyone learns his secret, it's time to move on fast, because sooner or later there'll be a howling mob outside the door...

Charming, fast-moving coming of age tale, with Martha Wells' trademark sympathetic characters and intricate world-building. Highly recommended to anyone who's looking for character-driven light fantasy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read, 18 April 2012
This review is from: The Cloud Roads (The Books of the Raksura) (Paperback)
An original, smart story set in an interesting world and filled with characters who aren't gormless (I'm tired of shouting at gormless characters, so this was a relief).

Highly recommended, as are Martha Wells' other books.
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The Cloud Roads (The Books of the Raksura)
The Cloud Roads (The Books of the Raksura) by Martha Wells (Paperback - 22 Feb 2011)
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