“The Cloud Roads” by Martha Wells | Book Review

His heart sank and he wondered if this is what Sorrow had felt, this need to have companionship so intense that it made you willing to do anything.

The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

SERIES: The Books of the Raksura (Book #1)

LENGTH: 278 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, Romance, Fiction

PUBLISHER: Night Shade Books

RELEASE DATE: 1 March 2011


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 himself… and his newfound kin. 

My Verdict

She was giving him that look again; he couldn’t tell if she believed him or not. She said, “So if you don’t think about it, it’s as if it never happened?”

Moon shrugged helplessly.  “It worked until now.”

So like, I really, really adored The Murderbot Diaries. Like, so much so, that I pre-ordered Martha Wells’ new fantasy novel Witch King when it was announced last spring. And I wanted to get acquainted with some of her other work, in preparation for Witch King’s release in a month and a half.

So, I decided to try reading The Books of the Raksura series, as I’d heard good stuff about it. And I read The Cloud Roads.

And it was a perfectly fine book.

Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely adored Wells’ world building here, and her descriptions, and all of the different species of flora and fauna she created. I just don’t think it was a book for me, is all.

To me, the story beats felt slightly off. I dunno, some stuff felt like it dragged on slightly too long, whilst the opposite was also true. (It feels odd to say, as this is a relatively short novel.) This was pretty much only in the middle though; the beginning and end were fine.

The romance kinda sucked. Moon and Jade definitely had some chemistry, but this is another case where the beats were off, and the relationship felt like it was progressing too fast. (Especially with what happened with Moon’s last relationship.)

The platonic relationships, however, completely soared. I think that this is the type of thing that Martha Wells excels at – as the platonic relationships in Murderbot were also amazing.

It’s interesting to read an earlier work by an author you love, too. I noticed a lot of similar dialogue to TMD, and Moon is essentially a Diet SecUnit in terms of levels of sassiness. Also, the dialogue and quips between characters absolutely rocked. A lot of it was just as shameless as TMD.

Moon didn’t move. He still found Stone nearly impossible to read. Not that he had been able to read Ilane, either. “I’m not sleeping with you.” If this was going to be a problem, he wanted to find out now, before he spent any more long, miserable days fighting headwinds.

Stone lifted a brow, deeply amused. “I have great-grandchildren older than you.” He pointed to a white seam on his elbow. “You see this scar? That’s older than you.”

Moon’s eyes narrowed in annoyance, but he wondered if that was true. He hadn’t been keeping close track, but he knew roughly that it had been around thirty-five turns of the seasonal cycle since his family had been killed. That made him old for some groundling races and young for others. If Stone was really that old, and Moon was really the same species…If this doesn’t work out, you’re going to be spending a lot of time alone.

He edged over and eased down next to Stone. The blanket looked shabby but it was thick and well made; it didn’t soften the rock but it kept the cold at bay. Rolling on his side, facing away from Moon, Stone said, “I’ll try not to molest you in my sleep.”

All in all, I thought this book was just fine. Maaayybe slightly above “fine” and edging into “pretty good” levels of star ratingdom, but not any higher. Like I said: well written and interesting but probably not for me. I’m unsure at this time if I’ll continue the rest of the series, so the answer to that is a definite maybe at the moment.

I think that fans of interesting and inventive fantasy books might enjoy The Cloud Roads, especially fans of nonhuman POV characters. I’d also encourage fans of Martha Wells other works to give it a shot, too.

Thank you for reading, and have a great day/night!

See ya ~Mar

My review of The Murderbot Diaries

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