My Review of The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells
My summary: Moon has two forms he can shift between at will, one that looks humanish and one that is a humanoid flying reptile. He’s been on his own for a long time and uses his humanoid (groundling) form while keeping his other form a secret, and moving on whenever his secret gets out.
When his current home finds out his secret they nearly kill him, but he is saved by another of his kind who takes him back to his colony, where Moon finds out he’s more special than he thought, and his people are dying out.
Why I picked up this book: I saw the second book at World Fantasy Con, and I loved the look of the flying reptiles, but that wasn’t enough to get me to pick it up. I later read about it in an article about books the meld magic and technology. That was enough to get me to order the first book.
What I knew going in: Flying. Reptiles. (But not dragons.) Also, I was looking for the meld of magic and technology.
My response: I really liked the characters in this book, especially Moon, and the way he interacts with the other Raksura. Because they’re a different race, Martha got away with playing around with how the characters interacted with each other outside of normal gender norms in a way I found interesting and surprisingly refreshing.
The world she created also had a rather profound effect on me. It was so open and varied. It inspired me to look back at my own immense fantasy world, Feldoor, that’s been sitting in the trunk for years, and to do far better with the world building. It’s quite the book that I not only enjoy but makes me want to write more.
Do I recommend this book?: Yes. I read that this book series almost didn’t get published because it doesn’t follow normal fantasy tropes, so the publisher didn’t know how they were going to market it, and I can see why, but that in itself makes it so refreshing.