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Posts Tagged ‘Martha Wells’

Once upon a time… Okay, until about two years ago, this blog was totally focused on dragons. So today I’m returning to my roots and reviewing a book that’s all about… dragons! How did you guess?

The Cloud Roads is the first in a series, Books of the Rakshura, about a race of shape-changers who can shift between humanoid (groundling) form and something more like a bipedal dragon. Rakshura can easily be mistaken for a much more malevolent race called the Fell, and this causes constant friction with other groundling societies.

Moon is the main character. Orphaned at a young age, he knows that he’s different from other groundlings, but doesn’t even know the true name of his species. Soon after the book begins, though, he’s found by another Rakshura named Stone, and recruited to join Stone’s community. Naturally, it turns out that Moon has rare gifts that make his presence both hotly resented and desperately needed.

As an outsider, Moon is confronted by a lot of unknowns. Finding his way gives the reader a chance to get acquainted with Rakshura life. This is a device that a lot of authors use, and in some ways, Moon’s situation is not much different than Harry being bullied by Malfoy in the Harry Potter books. Since this book is for older readers, there’s an added spice of romance and some complicated political intrigue. But still lots of dragon battles!

Wells creates a really interesting world where groundlings come in all shapes and sizes. It’s kind of nice that they don’t judge each other (except for the Fell) based on physical differences. Wells also hit one of my sweet spots by littering her Three Worlds with relics of past civilizations. Not just assorted ruins on the ground, there are sky islands drifting around, their origins lost to history. This seemed like a callback to Hayao Miyazaki’s seminal animated film, Laputa. As a Miyazaki fan, I enjoyed that.

The Cloud Roads was first published in 2011, so I’m coming a bit late to this party. On the other hand, the series is already complete. No fear of waiting for the next one to be released. There are five books in the main sequence, with a number of story collections and side stories focused on individual characters. If you’re a dragon fan, this series is worth a look.


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