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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.

278 pages, Paperback

First published March 1, 2011

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About the author

Martha Wells

90 books14.6k followers
Martha Wells has been a science fiction and fantasy author since her first fantasy novel was published in 1993. Her New York Times Bestselling series The Murderbot Diaries has won Nebula Awards, Hugo Awards, Locus Awards, and an American Library Association/YALSA Alex Award. Her work also includes The Books of the Raksura series, the Ile-Rien series, and several other fantasy novels, most recently Witch King (Tordotcom, 2023), as well as short fiction, non-fiction, and media tie-ins for Star Wars, Stargate: Atlantis, and Magic: The Gathering. Her work has also appeared on the Philip K. Dick Award ballot, the British Science Fiction Association Award ballot, the USA Today Bestseller List, and has been translated into twenty-four languages.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,486 reviews
Profile Image for N.K. Jemisin.
Author 134 books53.6k followers
November 3, 2011
This book was a total surprise. It didn't really look all that interesting to me based on the jacket copy -- stock story, possible last of his kind looking for a place to belong, etc. But where other stories end (last of his kind finds a place) is pretty much where this story started, nearly ended, then started again. Moon finds his people early in the book, and it's not a happy experience for him. He learns that a) he's a member of an especially coveted subgroup within his people, and b) he is simultaneously a member of an especially reviled subgroup. So suffice it to say Moon's homecoming is... complex. Then on top of that, Moon has baggage from a prior encounter with enemy shapeshifters, which comes back to haunt him with a vengeance.

So what looks like a stock story isn't. But that isn't this story's greatest asset; the worldbuilding is. This is a rich, complex, plausibly exotic fantasy world like nothing on earth, described so vividly that I'd love to go visit it. (Except I'd get eaten in 5 minutes.) Moon's people are one of the most intelligently-constructed fantasy races I've seen in awhile -- science fictionally so, though the story manages to retain the wonder and magic of fantasy. Add to that characters who stick with you and whose motivations you really care about, and this is a real winner.

I've read an advance copy of The Serpent Sea, and it's just as amazing.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for carol..
1,535 reviews7,871 followers
February 26, 2013
Tired of the orphan's heroic quest as he ventures into the world to discover himself and claim his birthright? Don't give up yet--Wells has managed a satisfying twist on an old trope by creating species and setting that feel quite alien. Cloud Roads is certainly one of the most original fantasy worlds I've read in months, and the steadfast plot provides familiarity when navigating the strange races of the Three Worlds.

Moon knows he is different; he's been unable to find anyone quite like him since his family was killed. Over the decades, he has tried living in solitude but inevitably ends up seeking companionship, even if it requires hiding some of his racial characteristics and quirks. He's living his dual life in a village of ground-dwellers when his shape-changing flying-form is discovered. Preventing his change, they cast him out of the village and stake him out for the local beasts. A rescue provides a chance to discover and connect with his race, and ultimately tired of loneliness, he decides somewhat reluctantly to follow his rescuer home to meet a colony of his species.

Certainly much more follows; this is the barest introduction to a complex setting and a twisting plot. While Wells does indulge in setting description from time to time, she isn't one to lay everything out in orderly fashion for the reader, preferring to show a little piece of the world, have an action scene and repeat. Because the world is so unfamiliar--giant predators, flying islands, a species bent on universal dominance--the narrative flow helps provide context without becoming overwhelming.

I generally like Wells' writing style, but at times the language is on the less complex side of the scale. Don't get me wrong; its more sophisticated than many, but it lacks the complex beauty of Kay or the sharp imagery of Taylor.

One of the more common reviewer complaints is a feeling of a lack of emotional connection. I wonder if that was intentional character-building on Wells' part. First, because Moon seems to be a very 'watch and evaluate' type of being, which lends itself to emotional distance. I found myself liking him much later when Second, the sense of alien culture and being is very present, and it's hard to create emotional intimacy with the outlandish. Finally, I wonder if the lack of connection also has to do with creating a species that is a little more colony-minded than our own individualistic one. Can land-dwelling mammals really understand a reptilian, avian or bee-like mind?

Personally, I did feel reasonably connected by the end, but it was definitely the (above spoiler) that helped me get there. There also isn't any comfortable earth-like analogy that quite fits their race--not quite bird-like, although they fly; not quite reptilian, although they have frills, spikes and skin covered in scales; not quite bee-like although they have clear social and reproduction castes--so I suspect the inability to comfortably slot them into a preconceived space also creates a challenge.

Once I got over the strangeness of the world and caught on to the plot, I tended to skim a little. But that's me, and how I read, and Wells kept throwing me into new setting so that I ended up slowing down to pay attention. She also created some subtle (and some not-so-subtle) reversal of gender dynamics. I confess, I rather loved it.

Three and a half stars, rounding up for uniqueness and in support of an interesting series. I'll be reading on.

Cross posted at http://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2013/0...
Profile Image for Em Lost In Books.
872 reviews1,758 followers
September 22, 2018
First thing that I noticed about this book was it's cover. It is so beautiful and I had to read what was the story behind this cover. I am glad that I did not let the average rating of 3.96 deter me because the story behind this cover was equally beautiful and mesmerizing.

Moon is an outcast, trying to hide his true identity. He is different and ever since he realized that he was trying to find people like him but failing miserably at his attempt. One day, the people with whom he was living came to know what he and they poisoned him. Somehow he managed to escape only to meet someone like him who took him in and thus began a journey into a world which truly amazing.

I loved this story from the PoV of an outcast who has to show that he was loyal to his own kind. It didn't help that Indigo Cloud, the colony he wanted to be a part of was going through some serious tough times but also was Matriarchal and he was brought in to be a consort to the younger queen while there was an older queen who was not yet ready to give up her throne. At every step Moon was doubted and tested but these hurdles only made Moon stronger and confident of himself.

The world building of this story is simply awesome. I haven't encountered anything like this before and this is so original to me. Different races and how they rule and work to keep themselves in existence, was explained in detail which only added to the sheer beauty of this story.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book because in less than 300 pages it gave me something that I haven't read before.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Mayim de Vries.
577 reviews827 followers
January 5, 2019
Sentient non-humans, belonging issues, and matriarchy.
Just wow.

Whenever I stumble upon books whose authors create original worlds without referring to the ever same mythologies or legends, I grant them additional points at the start. Having read the City of Bones, I know that Ms Wells' worldbuilding is nonpareil and the Raksura Books prove it to be a rule rather than an exception. Granted, the world’s richness and originality are seconded by a tale not so unique. The journey of the main character in search of his roots and his destiny is perhaps not particularly innovative, but in combination with an extraordinary environment, it takes on new colours. There are also interesting protagonists, light and funny dialogues and puzzles to solve. “The Cloud Roads” definitely takes you to the high roads of the fantasy genre.

The lands traversed by the protagonists are dotted with remnants of ancient civilisations - huge towers, giant columns, and various kinds of abodes (also flying!) built by unknown peoples. The extraordinary world (actually Three Worlds) created by Martha Wells is populated by equally remarkable beings. People, or should I write, human beings, do not make an appearance at all. Most creatures are called “groundlings” and come in a variety of several races, differing from each other by the colour of the skin (green, blue, etc.), sometimes sporting horns or fangs, sometimes glittering with scales, sometimes covered with fur. In addition, the world is populated by many other creatures both sentient and not, including shapeshifters, among those: the Raksura.

”We don’t use magic; we’re made of magic, and you can’t run away from that.”

Raksura have two forms: a “groundling” one and another, more predatory, winged body armoured with scales, spikes and fringing manes of many different colours. Raksura can be divided into two groups: winged Aeriat warriors and wingless Arbor among whom you’ll find teachers, hunters, and many other specialisations. I’d advise you to read the appendices at the end of the book before you plunge into the book. Alternatively, the Author also placed a guide on her website.

Life would lack an equilibrium if there was not a natural enemy for such mighty creatures. And indeed, meet the Fell, creatures spawned by a nightmare. Mindless destroyers of civilisations, conquering other lands and destroying everything they touch. In many respects, despite superficial similarities, Fell is the exact opposite of Raksura. This thread is one of the axes of the story. And now you can love me forever for this comprehensive visual guide to both species:

Picture: the differences between Fell and Raksura


The Raksura live in matriarchal colonies (courts) ruled by queens. The whole socio-cultural system of Raksura is a merger between a beehive and a wolf pack. Queens and their consorts are born to their roles, and they are not elected. At the court, apart from the ruling queen, there may be a whole bunch of queen-sisters (sometimes sisters, sometimes daughters or granddaughters) and consorts, of whom the queens choose their partners for reproduction. There are many complex rules and customs in the Raksura society and it is fun to discover them all together with the main protagonist, Moon. But before I focus on him, let me emphasise, that “The Cloud Roads” have incredible female characters of which the leading female is one of the most wonderfully feisty heroines in the fantasy genre. And the way she has been introduced was simply ingenious.

”Try your claws on me, why don’t you.”

The main protagonist, from whose perspective the narrative is conducted, grew up outside the court. His loved ones died when he was a mere child (fledgling), and he never managed to find his people or even find out what genre he really belongs to. For years, he lived among the groundings as a loner, frequently changing his place of residence and hiding his true nature. When Moon encounters Stone, an older and stronger Raksura, sick of being alone, he agrees to join him. We have a classic longing-belonging tale of self-discovery.

”Moon felt everyone looking at him, or trying not to look at him, and tried not to react.”

Because the third person narrative is conducted from the perspective of Moon, the reader learns with him about the world of Raksura. This allows for the information to be dosed at a good pace and simultaneously immerses us in the incredible “otherness” of the whole species. There is hardly anything human in most of Raksura behaviours (including a specific way of reproduction or eating - mainly raw meat), and at the same time a lot of reactions, emotions were relatable - loneliness, jealousy, ambition, etc. This mix was extremely intriguing. Moon is a rebellious young male, but there are hardly any human characteristics about him. He is both shy and predatory, caring and killing without remorse, appreciative of beauty but impervious to death of civilisations. Normally, this kind of inconsistency in the character irritates me, but here it strangely suited the world so different from the typically “human” fantasy setting. It's hard not to like Moon. Straightforward, distanced, maybe a little too often cranky, but also able to take responsibility for his own actions. I admit that I liked the fact that when he had nothing to say, he simply remained silent. Certainly, there are no lengthy or unnecessary dialogues in the novel.

”You are certainly a handful, aren’t you?”
He shrugged, defensive and uneasy. “I can’t help it.”

Without betraying too much - the structure of the plot is extremely well thought out. At the end of the novel its various elements, information, comments, and suggestions, intertwine into a logical whole. Of course, not all puzzles are explained. “The Cloud Roads” opens the series, so some threads, including the mystery of Moons origins, remain shrouded.

And I can not wait to learn more about them all.

Also in the series:

2. The Serpent Sea ★★★★☆
3. The Siren Depths ★★★☆☆
4. The Edge of Worlds ★★☆☆☆
5. The Harbors of the Sun ★★☆☆☆
Profile Image for Mimi.
694 reviews191 followers
January 14, 2022
4 stars objectively
5 stars for enjoyment

The audio is superbly read by Christopher Kipiniak, and I enjoyed every moment of this reread.

Now onto the next one because I can never reread just this book. Gotta follow Moon on his journey across the Three Worlds and reread the rest of the trilogy. And then I'll need to take a peak at the short story collections, and before I know it, I'm rereading them too. Then I'm sure I'll be in the mood for the last two books. Might as well complete the whole series since I've come this far.

* * * * *

Rereading on audio with:
Beth (review),
MrsJoseph (review),
and the Flight of Fantasy group

* * * * *

Great world, lots of adventure, and so many interesting creatures.

The Cloud Roads begins with a solitary Raksura (shapeshifter) named Moon, who had been living among various groups of groundlings for most of his life but had never been able to fit in anywhere. He doesn’t even know what he is or where he came from. The rest of the book is about him finding his people, learning about where he came from, and helping them fight off a predatory enemy that destroy all civilization in their path.

This is high fantasy unlike anything I've ever read before, and it's a breath of fresh air. Martha Wells' writing pulled me in right from the start and didn't let go until I finished the whole trilogy in a matter of days, which was unusual for me since I often struggled with high fantasy but this particular story is just so wonderfully written.

Complete review of the first three books at https://covers2covers.wordpress.com/2...
Profile Image for Ivan.
417 reviews279 followers
December 28, 2019
. There are books where shapeshifters take spotlight but not like this. Raksura, flying shapeshifters, feel like unique specie with their own culture, way of reproduction and hierarchy that isn't based on humans. That goes for the rest of the world as well although worldbuilding is done in broad strokes without forming coherent picture. While it lacks big picture it has bunch of small details that add to it. Like Raksura themselves it's alien world that doesn't correlate to ours.

In the age scale I would place this book in new adult shelf. That is age of protagonist (in Raksura age ), there is more casual mentions of sex and procreation and there are some darker moments that is normal for YA genre but it's still miles away from grimdark. Unfortunately that makes this book's biggest sin less forgivable.

Big problem for me where some very naive and childish moments. Especially regarding main antagonists, Fell. There was so much potential there but author decided to make them stereotypical villains . And what is worse is that she keeps reminding you of that ever so often.
*pulls at sleeve *Remember how evil those treacherous Fell? Well they are cannibals too.
*pulls at sleeve again* Remember how evil those treacherous cannibal Fell are? Well there is more.
I'm not asking for a lot just characters that have motivations other than malice.

3.4 stars overall but it could have been more eaily.
Profile Image for Kristalia .
383 reviews611 followers
February 11, 2017
Final rating: 5/5 stars
He spoke the thought that had become increasingly obvious all day long, with every interaction he had had. “I don’t belong here.” (...)
Stone made a derisive noise. “You’re afraid you don’t belong here. There’s a difference.”

This book is the prime example of how to do world building. If there is something exceptionally strong in this book, it's completely alien-high fantasy world building where there are almost no humans barely normal Earth like humans at all. The closest thing to humans are so called groundlings, and there are more than 10 species of them, and only a few look similar to human due to coloring of their skin and their build (but most of them have horns, shells, and so on and on).

The closest thing to humans are the shapeshifters, called Raksura, who in their groundling form look like how normal human we are used to should look like, and in shifted they look like dragon humanoid. But their race, and race of their enemies, the Fell, is so strongly done, with different ways, customs and setting, especially social norms.

This is high fantasy, with setting including courts, queens and consorts, rulers and minions, flying islands, dragon like creatures, flying ships and boats, and unique flora and fauna, that this world resembles barely the world of humans. The flyer, as well as groundling species are usually different from the common which is what I loved.

Then again, more details on the world building later in my review.

There is also this thing in this book called reversed gender roles. Females here are very strong, badass, hold everyone in check and are terror in the sky. Yes, being the Queen is almost next to terrifying. Not to mention female warriors... when they get together, heads roll. So, girl power here, but men kick ass as well. But social norms, especially in the later books, tell you that male side of the nobility of their race should be shy, timid, avoiding fights, and women strong, competitive, ready to rip the heads of their enemies' shoulders, dominant in relationships and as for queens - no one should anger them... at all... ever. So basically, females on the highest position and matriarchal regiment - nice. Also, the Queens of the Raksura race being the strongest, most powerful and most deadly of them all. Once again, nice. Their female warriors are not to be underestimated as well.

There is also this thing of bisexuality. Their whole race is bisexual (as learned in other two books).

There are 3 conditions for me to love the story:
- World building (when it comes to fantasy or sci-fi)
- Characters and my ability to feel something for them and their perils
- Story that is captivating and doesn't let go, nevermind if it had been seen before.

Sometimes I give 5 stars to the books that don't have the good world building but have amazing characters and story. Or have lack of world building and story, but have highly developed characters, that in the end I didn't even care for world building and story, just for them.

This book has all three conditions.

Wonderful, imaginative world building and very unique with different cultures, races, sometimes settlements from humans. It was all explained in stages, and quite believable, and it's not hard to understand which role is which in which species. The world building is maybe the strongest point of this book. Also, flying islands and flying boats. Literal yellow sea. How cool is that?
The book is told from 1 point of view in third person - our very, very distrustful and guarded protagonist Moon who doesn't know what he is. All he knows is that he is shapeshifter, and that his previous attempts to find his people ended up traumatic to the point he gave up on them. And I felt so much for him and everything that happened to him. And despite being in only 1 POV, it was well done and everything was balanced.
Story was captivating, in every chapter something happens and it's fast paced.
◈ And also -bonus- clear sentences and understandable writing. I was surprised at how much details I remembered while reading and I could easily repeat the whole book, including the details, to someone who wants to listen but can't read English (yeah, this I do).

I didn't really and honestly know what to expect of this book. So I read the short story The Forest Boy, a prequel, that was about the protagonist Moon, a shapeshifter, when he was just a fledgling (a child in other words) who tried to find somewhere to stay, and had very hard time trying to control his shifting. But this short story was told from the POV of one orphan and his sister who found him captured in a trap, bleeding and very, very afraid. Now, when you read it like this you can notice biiiiiiiiig changes between his feelings/behavior early on and now. But there is a reason for that (very unpleasant) and now Moon seems a bit distant, guarded, distrustful and wary. But inside, he is still that kid trying to find a place to belong, where he could be safe and accepted. And he DOES have feelings. Moon was very interesting character for me. If I could describe him in one word it would be survivor, and not just that. There is so much more about him and I love him to bits, especially after reading everything that is out in Raksura series as of the beginning of 2016.

I read this book in 2 days. I just saw the plot, saw it was about shapeshifters unlike the usual ones I read about and said I must own it. I don't succumb easily to ongoing series (and this has 3 books so far and 2 upcoming and 2 omnibuses of short stories), but I just HAD to read it - it was calling out to me and I had to drop everything I read and just read this without stopping. I did not regret my decision even once.

But, there are short story omnibuses as well:
- Stories of the Raksura, Volume 1
- Stories of the Raksura, Volume 2
They contain 9 short stories: 4 prequels and 5 sequels between book 3 and 4. I highly recommend reading these novellas, BUT AFTER READING FIRST THREE BOOKS. For more info on them and their order of reading check out my review for Vol 1 .

Moon is a shapeshifter but he doesn't know what he is. He changes into dragon-like humanoid with black scales, wings and claws. When he was just a fledgling, his family was killed and he was the only survivor. His mother, 3 brothers and sister gone. And through his 35 turns (years) since their deaths, he never found out what he was and had to adjust to this scary world alone.

Through the years he stayed with groundlings trying to make a home for himself. But he knew it would never last forever. Every time he was discovered he was chased out or almost killed. Ironically, this happens whenever groundlings see his other shifter form. His humanoid black scaled and winged form strongly resembles the most vicious predators on their planet - the Fell. But despite the hints, he knows he is not one of the Fell. But explaining that to ignorant groundlings is another matter completely. He got used to being kicked out or worse for being what he is, but he could never stand loneliness and therefore sought company, no matter what the cost.

In the latest settlement, in the village of Cordans, where he was staying for a long while, the rumors about seeing the Fell in vicinity started circulating. As soon as the rumors started he was discovered by the woman he was in relationship with. Not knowing that his cover has been blown, he didn't notice anything strange until they drugged him with the poison that can apparently incapacitate the Fell, which made him unable to shift and trapped him into something between of his forms, and tied him up to be ripped apart and eaten by the other creatures (of course, they didn't believe him that he is not actually Fell, and definitely not the thing they saw, if that was even a Fell).

Just when one of the beasts prepared to kill him, the rumored "Fell" flyer killed the beast, kidnapped Moon and flew away with him. Moon, out of his mind due to terror that he was most likely going to be eaten by this shifter thrice his size, isn't really ready to cooperate. When he calms down, he is told by the flyer, called Stone from the Indigo Cloud Court of Raksura race, that he is shapeshifter being called Raksura, just like Stone. He then asks Moon to join him in his travel to other court to search for the warrior type of their race, because the Fell target Indigo Cloud Court and there is not enough of them to protect it. And Stone didn't really say everything... And Moon isn't ready to believe everything Stone says.


In the Three Worlds, called for the three realms: sea, earth, and sky - there is a vast number of species. More than 10 groundling races, and several flight races, of which Raksura and the Fell are most important. (Although Raksura come from earth.)

For decades, the migratory flying race called the Fell terrorized and ate whatever other species they came across, especially intelligent ones. Always dark colored, they are terrifying predators who are hard to kill. They have 3 main classes (and therefore subspecies) called Major kethel (largest, but with low inteligence), Minor dakti (small, armored and cunning which always fight in swarms) and their Rulers, the only intelligent one who can share their memories and experiences through their bond. They can control other two of them. And lastly, there is the believed fourth class - called the Progenitors.

Their opposites are Raksura - shapeshifting flying species with two forms - one resembling the groundlings and the other of flying dragon-like humanoid with scales, wings, claws and tails. They do not eat intelligent species like the Fell, but Raksuran's biggest threat are the Fell.

They are divided into 2 breeds. The first one is Arbora - wingless race, which includes Teachers (they take care of the young), Hunters (providing the food), Soldiers (protecting the colony) and Mentors (the Arbora born with arcane powers such as healing and sight seeing, and also historians and advisers of the Queens.) All Arbora are fertile and can sometimes birth Warrior caste. They are also on very high positions.

The second, equally important are called Aeriat - they are the winged Raksura and their strongest warriors and defenders, divided in three classes: Warriors - guardians who are sterile and cannot breed and they come in both female and male forms; Consorts - the fertile males, who are stronger than warriors, live longest, get bigger and are the fastest flyers. And lastly, Queens, who are fertile females, quite deadly, strongest and most powerful of them all - they can give birth to warriors, consorts and other queens. One queen rules them all, with the chosen Sister Queen at her side, no matter if they are mother/daughter or anything else. A Queen can enchant others of their race, can shape-lock them so they cannot change in their presence and are quite intimidating and get bigger as they get older. They have arbora shape instead of the groundling form the other classes have.

You don't actually have to remember this now - author explained it so well you will understand it perfectly. (This serves as my reminder for later purposes). I also loved the fact that the injuries to the wing end up more serious if turned to groundling form as it passes the damage on the back, ribs and shoulder and are severe. And, since they are beings of magic, their clothes in groundling form melt with their bodies when they transform, and they can carry small things and keep them safe this way too.


Moon is a shapeshifter who doesn't know anything about his race. Having to survive from the very small age, he managed to learn many languages of the groundlings, but always had hard time fitting in. He is alone and he never even saw any other shapeshifter like him.

He is afraid, skittish, guarded, solitary rogue who is also brave when needed and defiant. And whenever he tries to fit in somewhere else, he has to be wary of their customs, of his shapeshifting and always ends up feeling like outsider. Moon had to struggle to survive every year, every day, ever since he was fledgling. He fears of not belonging, he cannot stay alone for a long time without going mad, even if it means going with another shifter who could be leading him into a trap.

He is cautious, curious, wary and very careful because of his experiences in the past. He doesn't seek the compassion, he is used to being judged for what he is. He usually keeps things to himself and speaks only when he must, a habit he acquired to survive among others.

Moon felt mature already. Most days, he felt elderly. “It doesn’t matter.”
“It does matter.” Flower stood, her shabby skirt falling into place around her. “We don’t use magic; we’re made of magic, and you can’t run away from that.”
Watching her walk away, Moon thought,
I can try.

{And when he smiles, it makes me very happy and glad because he should smile more and deserves to be happy. There was one scene with him and the , which ripped my heart out, made me cry OF HAPPINESS, and it was so damn adorable and cute I was just undone.}

Stone is a member of the Indigo Cloud Court with a mission. He is very surprised when he finds a solitary Raksura who he has no idea what he is. Stone is usually serious and intimidating, but also kind, patient and fierce warrior. Being a line-grandfather, he is highly ranked in the court and is also very, very old.

Chime is a winged mentor warrior (a rarity), who is usually cheerful, adorable and very kind. But he has hard time dealing with the change that happened to him. He lost not only his mentor abilities to augur and heal, he also lost his ability to reproduce in exchange for wings. This change only worsened his situation. But when he meets Moon, he finds out they have a lot in common. And when I say adorable I mostly mean this:
“What did was unacceptable, even if you’re a...”
“Groundling-eating solitary,” Moon supplied.
“Groundling-eating solitary, she shouldn’t have behaved that way. (...) The groundling-eating part was sarcasm, yes?”

Jade and Pearl . Jade is the sister Queen of Pearl (her mother), and is strong, capable and honorable leader who does not judge easily. She is mostly honest and kind, and awkward when it comes to some basic things (like ), for example. Pearl, on the other hand, is very prideful, she hears, but sometimes doesn't heed, she judges and sees the worst first, but generally cares for her race. She is also ruthless and vicious to her enemies, also capable of cruelty to anyone who she doesn't like enough.

Others: There are many other characters, but talking about them would be spoiling enough, so I will skip that and let you find on your own.


Fantastic world building, great main character (your heart will hurt for him, most likely), good side characters, interesting plot, fast paced and overall great. I see no reason to give it anything less than pure 5 stars for the sheer enjoyment of reading. I also read the missing scenes after the book (scene 1 - about , scene 2 - about , and scene 3 - about ). They were wonderful and wish they were in the book themselves. Did i mention absolutely stunning covers???? Also, another plus - no lust or love on first sight!

Also, Martha Wells has put some of the gorgeous fanart on her site, including drawings of the Fell, Raksura and others AND ALSO FANTASTIC FAN MUSIC. Especially Moon's and Chime's songs!

Standalone: No. Part of a series.
Point of View: Third POV, 1 character.
Cliffhanger: No.
Love triangle: No.
Angst: Oh yes.
Supernatural: Shapeshifters and other supernatural beings.
Explicit content: No. Mentions of what happened.
Ending type:
Recommended: Hell yes.
Note: While the plot is for itself in the first book, there are lots of things to do and some to answer.


The Cloud Roads (Books of the Raksura, #1)
The Serpent Sea (Books of the Raksura, #2)
The Siren Depths (Books of the Raksura, #3)
Stories of the Raksura, Volume 1: The Falling World & The Tale of Indigo and Cloud
Stories of the Raksura, Volume 2: The Dead City & The Dark Earth Below
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,222 reviews2,052 followers
May 31, 2020
Martha Wells just fixed herself firmly on my list of favourite authors. Her Murderbot series put her on my list and this new (to me) series confirms it.

She earned five stars straight away for the magnificent world building. Then there was a wonderful magic system. And finally the totally imaginative characters, in particular the Raksura who slightly resemble shape shifting dragons - only slightly though. They are actually much, much better.

The story opens with the main character, Moon, who is like a bird that has fallen out of its nest. He is different from every other creature he meets and has no idea what he is. Over the years he has learned that other races are suspicious of him and he keeps his shape shifting secret. When he meets another of his kind his whole world changes, and initially it seems it my not be for the better.

The story is action packed. Raksura fight like dragons and there is a lot of claw and scale action and the ripping off of heads. The bad guys are called the Fell and they are very bad. It is all good fun. This first book is complete in itself and finishes satisfactorily but with Moon about to enter the next stage of his life in book 2. Very nicely done altogether and I have the next book ready and waiting.
Profile Image for Beverly.
806 reviews293 followers
May 9, 2021
For those who like fantasy stories well told this is a winner. There are many things that make a good story--characters you care about, convincing dialogue and setting. This world is completely made up of strange, wondrous creatures. The Raksura are part bird, part human and part reptile. I like that their go to expression for surprise or anger is hissing. These are not cuddly, cute fantastical creatures, but they are beautiful, kind, and honourable.

They fight in a mortal battle against the Fell, gross, cruel, loathsome beings who in one of their forms look a bit like the Raksura.Moon is a Raksura, but he doesn't know it. He was a youngster when his mother and siblings were killed in the wild. He has wandered ever since not fitting in anywhere he settles. He can transform himself into groundling form, so he goes from tribe to tribe until they find out he is not like them and they throw him out or try to kill him, because he looks like the Fell. The groundlings also hate and fear the Fell who eat them.

Then Moon meets Stone, who helps him out of a tricky situation and wonder of wonders is like him. Stone asks Moon to return with him to his Raksura group. Moon 🌙 wants nothing more than to fit in with his people, but he doesn't trust anyone and wonders what Stone really wants him for. He soon finds out.
Profile Image for Milda Page Runner.
300 reviews235 followers
September 16, 2018
If you are tired of epic fantasy full of tropes in used to death medieval setting and want an original immersive world full of magic and wondrous creatures – read this book. The only thing that comes close to relating this experience is watching The Avatar for the first time in 3D. Except it is not only the blue people: there are myriads of intelligent races in various sizes and colours, with horns, with tusks, with manes, scales, wings, tails – you name it. Floating islands, rotating cities, hive or giant tree settlements, flying ships, pyramids, temple ruins, jungle – from the wide strokes to the littlest of details – like luminous clump of mushrooms that jumps onto the tiny feet and scurries off out of your way or a tattoo parlour that offers to etch designs on your tusks – Martha’s Wells imagination will blow you away.
Elegant prose, capturing and engaging story told from one person perspective and fascinating mesmerising world – makes reading this book a truly fantastic experience. This is how fantasy should be written.
Highly recommended.

Buddy Read with Caro, Alissa and Mayim.
Profile Image for Laura.
1,040 reviews13 followers
May 27, 2021
4.5 stars for an absolutely original and fantastic read

Take one orphaned winged shape-shifter in search for a place to belong - a place where he can be loved that he can call home


Moon by Jessica Peffer

One of the most original non-human races I have ever read about: The Raksura

The Raksura by Jessica Peffer

And a deadly enemy: The Fell

The Fell by Jessica Peffer

That the Raksura need to face in bloody aerial battles:

Cover Art by Matthew Stewart

Add in a queen looking for a consort:


Jade by IvieMoon

Frame it all into an original amazing culture with a light and easy writing style and a fast paced story; add a little feeling and emotion to make the reader smile and laugh at times and there you go!!
The perfect recipe for a fabulous read that will literally knock your socks off!

This is the first volume in a series of books about "dragony-humany shapeshifters in a sprawling, massive, complex world of magic and creatures and cultural politics, complete with extra Feelings."- as Martha Wells herself describes.

The Raksura, are a hive-like society ruled by queens. Just like bees, most of their numbers are born sterile: neither male nor female warriors can have children. They encompass the Arbora – creatures whose dragony-forms are flightless, and the winged Aeriat who can shape-shift into flying winged forms.
Much of the Raksuran social hierarchy is dictated by birth and relies on significant physical and biological differences between individuals. They differ in both strength and size.
And they live in fabulous places, much like this one here:


Moon is a shapeshifter who, in his groundling form, looks like a brown-skinned humanoid and in his shifted form resembles a winged, scaled, “dragony-humany” creature. Orphaned at a very young age, he doesn’t know what species he is or where he belongs.

The realm he inhabits, called the Three Worlds, is huge and diverse, populated with different types of creatures ranging in between groundling, sealing and skyling – some sentient and some not. Moon has spent his entire life without meeting anyone like him and trying to fit in with a variety of groundling civilisations. Rather less successful we might add, as he kept being either thrown out, or attacked and forced to leave from each and every one of them.

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.

I loved Moon's POV. As someone who knows he doesn't belong but yearns to be a part of the society around him, his worry that he will once again not fit even among his own kind is absolutely touching.
If you can’t fit in here, it’s not them; it’s you.
No wonder he is skittish like a wild little young dragon thrown into a fray. Because the stakes are pretty high when love and a place to call home are on the line.

The matriarchal society is refreshing and the ownership-marking-attitude of the queens absolutely fabulous.
She "stuck her claws in Monn's sleeve and hissed at Jade. "Mine.""

The queens fight for their consorts and give them gifts if they accept them. Their possessiveness is an absolute treat and so is the whole behaviour of the Raksura.

The ruffling and puffing up of feathers and the mock fights to show who's the boss, the skittishness and the sweetness of the young will make even the toughest readers smile. You can't possibly not love a little winged baby trying to claw its way up your back and chew on your fingers!

Mrs Wells gives us a great story written in an easy rhythm and with absolutely no nonsense extra info-dump. The mix of feeling and humour is just right! Enough to make you both smile and sigh.

"they're hoping we'll attack like crazy idiots, he thought sourly...The only thing they could do was attack like sane idiots and hope that worked."

Dragony-humany shapeshifters, a complex world of magic, creatures and cultural politics, complete with extra Feelings! Kick-ass warrior queens and bloody aerial battles!
And above all, a place to call home, where you can find someone to love you as you are! A place where you don't have to hide! A place where you can be yourself!

You'll find all of these and more in Martha Wells Raksura Series!
Happy reading! :)

Find this review and more on my book review and cover art blog The Magic Book Corner
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,030 reviews2,604 followers
October 28, 2016
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2016/10/28/...

Finally making good on my promise to go back and read The Books for the Raksura from the beginning, I decided to pick up The Cloud Roads with the SF/F Read-Along group. Up until this point, I had only read one volume of the Raksura short stories as well as The Edge of Worlds which is formally the fourth book of the sequence but can also be read as a jumping-off point for a new era of the series. As such, I started The Cloud Roads with the advantage of being already familiar with the characters and the world, but being able to go back and read the first book to see how everything started was a great experience nonetheless.

Here we are first introduced to Moon, an orphaned shapeshifter with no idea who he is or what he is. Long ago he had tried looking for others like him, but gave up after years of no luck. Since then he has been living among the terrestrial races in their villages, disguised in his groundling form to look like them. However, one day he slips up and inadvertently exposes his flying form to a village girl, who mistakes him for a member of one of the malicious enemy races called Fell. The groundlings incapacitate Moon and eject him from their community, but that very night he is rescued by another winged creature that looks like him, a creature who is also a shapeshifter with both flight and groundling forms. And thus, Moon soon learns he is a Raksura and begins his journey of discovery to find out where he really comes from.

Any hopes Moon has of finding a new home are soon dashed though, when he is met with hostility among the other Raksura. His rescuer is part of a court named Indigo Cloud, a colony which has been suffering a lot of hardships as of late, including having no breeding pairs and having their existing clutches and young dying. This has made them especially suspicious of strangers, especially a lone Raksura like Moon. Raksura are gregarious creatures by nature and thrive in large social groups, so a finding an individual living in solitary in the wild usually means bad news. However, Moon happens to be a Consort, a special type of fertile male Raksura able to provide a Queen with new clutches, and that means things are more complicated than they appear.

The first thing that struck me was how different Moon was from the later version of Moon I had gotten to know from The Edge of Worlds. This Moon here was younger and less experienced of course, but his attitude was also so much more cynical and aloof. For someone who knows he doesn’t belong anywhere and yet still yearns for being a part of a community, this makes sense. His nomadic lifestyle of moving from one groundling village to another is a temporary solution, one that I think he is aware of, but since there are no better options for the time being Moon has no choice but just to accept this reality. It’s a very lonely existence, one that would make even a young Raskura feel world-weary and pessimistic.

Moon’s introduction to Indigo Cloud court was also an interesting process. I had known that he was an outsider and that he didn’t grow up with the colony, but the extent of Indigo Cloud’s initial hostility towards him in this book was a surprise to me. Also, Raksuran culture and politics are complicated, but because Moon was completely new to all of it, his gradual exposure to the court also allowed the reader to learn everything along with him. Not going to lie; navigating the strange and wonderful world of the Raksura can be a little daunting, given the massive amount of information to take in, but Wells does a phenomenal job presenting her unique setting and characters without completely overwhelming her readers. Furthermore, it’s always a challenge when a book’s main characters are predominantly or a hundred percent non-human, but in spite of the Raksuran���s “otherness” I still found them easy to relate to because of their very human emotions.

As an introduction to the world of the Raksura, I have to say The Cloud Roads was as tantalizing and eye-opening as I had thought it would be, though given this is Martha Wells I would have expected nothing less. I’ve always been curious about the circumstances behind Moon’s arrival at Indigo Cloud court, and I’m glad I finally got the chance to read the full story. This book sets the stage nicely for a lot more to come, and I’m looking forward to continuing with the next book.
Profile Image for Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany).
2,046 reviews3,444 followers
May 24, 2023
Video discussion/vlog: https://youtu.be/G2MbTclUBHI

This was so good! First time reading fantasy by Martha Wells and The Cloud Roads is incredibly inventive, not quite like anything else I've read, and it has great characters.

Our main character is Moon, an orphaned Raksura coming to know his own kind for the first time, amid a whole lot of political and military conflict. The Raksura are a sentient species with communal and sexual biology similar to colonies of bees (i.e. only a queen is fertile, only some kinds of Raksura can mate with her and create offspring, others fulfill different rolls. It's also a queer & polyamorous norm society. Super interesting setup, but also interesting, fleshed out characters, danger, and political intrigue. There's a lot that could be said about this, but I ended up very invested and the twisty plot took some surprising turns. I need to read on in the series.
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 59 books8,113 followers
April 27, 2022
A highly engaging fantasy in a vividly developed world with many races of intelligent non-humans. Moon, alone since childhood, doesn't know what he is and is just trying to survive among groundlings and hide the fact that he can turn into a flying beast. When he discovers he's not just a raksura but a highly desirable and relatively rare one, he's plunged into learning about their society, biology, politics, and very urgent problems with the Fell who are trying to kill them.

This felt quite old-style fantasy, somehow--the very specific demarcations of different creatures, and castes within the Raksura (hunters, consorts etc) has a slightly schematic D&D quality, and the Fell were evil for the sake of being evil without any nuance (this is of course a book 1 so that may change in the series). Notwithstanding it's immensely readable and very involving, and I liked the matriarchal society--Moon is the POV character and has a lot of physical prowess as well as literally being the only potent male around, but he's still very much not the boss here, or going to be. Great aerial battles and a really alien-feeling society with its own morals and rules.
Profile Image for David.
Author 18 books336 followers
November 2, 2014
The Cloud Roads is a fairly traditional fantasy novel with worldbuilding that at first seems fairly original. It took me until I was about halfway into the book before I realized why it felt derivative. Of course saying a fantasy novel is derivative is not necessarily a bad thing; I think fantasy readers sometimes overrate originality. Very few great fantasy novels are great because their worlds are so unique and different: it's the characters and the sweep of the story that makes them great.

The biggest "hook" for The Cloud Roads is that it is a world completely devoid of humans. This is truly an alien secondary world. There are a seemingly infinite number of humanoid "groundling" races, distinguished by various configurations of fur, scales, feathers, tusks, etc., and the implication that they are probably mostly from related evolutionary branches. The world (referred to as the Three Worlds) is a low-tech fantasy one in which some groundlings build cities while others are nomadic tribesmen, but there are (as yet) no empires or significant technological development beyond basic stone and metalworking. Magic exists in the world, but it seems to be found only in the natural abilities of various creatures and some elements; there are no "spells" or wizards.

Moon, the protagonist, has been living among groundlings for most of his life, but he is not a groundling. He does not know what he is, only that he can magically shift from a humanoid, groundling-like form to a much larger winged, reptilian form. He keeps this hidden from groundlings, because unfortunately the apex predators on this world are demonic creatures known as the Fell, who come in several varieties and castes, but among other things, can shift into immense reptilian winged predators.

Eventually, Moon discovers that he is actually of a race called the Raksura, who have been warring with the Fell forever. Much of the middle of the book is about Moon being brought back to a Raksura "court" and trying to find his place among them. Because of his feral upbringing, in complete ignorance of Raksura ways, he finds that he is a consort — one of the most important castes, naturally — in a court that has two rival queens in need of consorts, but he has no idea how to negotiate the situation the way a Raksura-raised consort would.

The last third of the book brings us back to the Fell, and their plans for the Raksura, and the climactic battle between Moon's court and a Fell hive.

There is a lot to like here, and if you're looking for an epic fantasy that's a little offbeat, I can recommend it.

I have referred to the Raksura and the Fell as "winged and reptilian," and while the word "dragon" is not used, The Cloud Roads reminded me a lot of the Dragonriders of Pern, and perhaps even more strongly of the Harper Hall trilogy and its twee fire lizards and its misfit misunderstood protagonist who is the most Special GirlRaksura on PernThree Worlds. Raksura and Fell do not breathe fire, but they are divided into castes, described by color, and have telepathic powers, and there are all kinds of weird caste/gender politics.

Secondarily, The Cloud Roads reminded me of Elfquest. Yes, Elfquest, the Wendy and Richard Pini comic, with its cute but bloodthirsty elves living in magical savagery, pursued by more monstrous creatures, and when not fighting for survival, having soap-operatic romantic feuds with lots of hissing and baring of teeth and swords, or in the case of the Raksura, claws.

So once I realized I was reading a 21st century fantasy novel in the spirit of Pern and Elfquest, I was caught between nostalgia and snickers.

I did not find Moon endearing. He wallows and angsts and dithers. Because he has spent much of his life hiding his true nature from groundlings who will kill him if they find out what he is, even as he sleeps with them, taking some of them as wives (hmm, allegory anyone?), he is mistrustful and prepared to run even when he finds himself among his own kind. At a certain point I wanted to slap the boy and say, "Look, quit whining. You've found your people." It takes him many chapters to get to the "Stand and fight" moment.

Then there is the, I don't know what to call it, omni-bisexuality between Fell and Raksura? The Fell are described as foul, demonic creatures with a stench that repels Raksura from miles away, yet some of them can assume groundling forms that are sexy-hawt enough to have Foe-Yay sex with them. What is this even. In fairness, it ends up being a significant part of the Fell's long-range plans, but there were some scenes that made me think they'd been tossed in there as fanfic-bait.

Other things I did not like:

17 instances of "lifted a brow."
5 instances of "rolled his/her shoulders."
and similar writing tics that were frequent enough to be annoying.

So after raking this book with my claws (there is much raking of things with claws in this book), I give it 2 stars. It was not bad, it has definite original elements and lots of action, I just found it to be written perhaps for a slightly more female demographic. At a certain point I found myself skimming, which is a pretty good indicator that the rest of the series will not hold my interest.
Profile Image for Charlotte Kersten.
Author 3 books431 followers
September 18, 2022
So What’s It About?

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.

What I Thought

I took some time to fully acclimate to this book. In the beginning, it took me some time to adjust to the characters’ many animalistic qualities and I disliked having such a decidedly non-human protagonist. The beginning was also very heavy on description, and I struggled to differentiate the many Raksura characters who we were introduced one after the other because of how similar their names were.

As I gradually adjusted, though, I came to appreciate just how inventive the world-building was and how thoroughly Wells put me in the head of a character who is something other than just a regular “groundling.” The world-building is truly unique and fascinating with its inclusion of so many unique societes, cultures and species (for lack of a better word), and I’m ultimately so impressed with Wells’ ability to write the Raksuras’ abilities and instincts in a way that makes them clearly relatable and non-human at the same time. If the popularity of Murderbot speaks to anything, it might be to the fact that this author is as successful at achieving this with sci-fi as she is with fantasy - I can’t say for sure yet, but I’ll report back!

Moon’s struggle to trust people while wanting to belong and thinking he won’t is well-done, and I loved seeing him start to realize that he could make a place for himself with Indigo Cloud and decide to fight for them after a lifetime of being an outsider, having to hide who he is and flee from communities over and over again. I can’t wait to see the found family dynamics blossom as the story continues.

Other than the struggles I had in the beginning, the only other thing I didn’t fully enjoy was the fact that Moon revealed at the very end of the book that he had been raped by the Fell before- it felt like we barely had any time to process this because so much was happening at that point, and I wish that there had been more exploration of this experience over the course of the book because it sort of felt like it came out of nowhere to me. Overall, though, I’ve never read anything quite like this and I’m glad there are so many other books in the series. The only question is whether I’ll keep going with Moon or meet Murderbot first.
Profile Image for Sad Sunday (Books? Me?!? NEVER!!!) .
357 reviews175 followers
October 22, 2018
I didn't DNF it at ~50%. I simply gave up. I gave up.


Rant coming in 3...



I think I am done with Martha. I just don't get the idea why everybody finds her so amazingly special. I really don't feel the vibe at all. The style in TCR is so laconic, so simple. And while sometimes simple sentences and words scream tons of emotions, TCR is just dull. My jaw is rolling on the ground in surprise of how many people truly loves it. There is such an amazing alien world, with outstanding nature and interesting alien race that whenever heard before and all we get is - "clean sweat", "-Why not? -I don't know.", and tons of "they traveled", "they talked", "they slept". TCR is so straight forward, that I missed some details, descriptions, more complex words, goddamnit. It reminded me a little of Rain Wild Chronicles, but it had emotions, depth and alluring magic, and there was none of it.

This character Moon is an a**hole. He annoyed me so much. His like Chad from Saturday Night Live - whatever happens, he just shrugs and says "Okay". Seems like everyone wants to please him and he just wanders off somewhere in the middle of conversation because he is just not bothered. Okay. People try to befriend him and he just like, "I want to be alone, dudes". He lacks the inner motivation to justify all of his action. He does things just because somebody asked him. Okay. Yes, he's been an outcast all his live, but his behavior is just cocky and arrogant. Okay. He just flies, eats and tags along. That's it.

All other characters seem not to do much as well. All they do us travel, talk, sleep, eat, do some minor fighting with some very scary (nah) monsters. If it's epic fantasy, I miss something truly epic. For me it seemed that all story was about sex - they have a female that can reproduce and Moon seems to be the male that can reproduce, and the whole story is just about how Moon is an a**hole for everybody in the process of his penis entering her vagina. There are courts, evil monsters, more traveling but Moon is just not bothered.

Once again, I don't know what is so special about this book, but I am ending this torture of my own choice.
Profile Image for Lindsay.
1,262 reviews222 followers
September 25, 2018
An unusual fantasy with an entirely non-human cast set in a world with a rich history and many intelligent humanoid species.

Moon is living with a group of "groundlings" although he secretly lives another life where he can transform into a reptilian flying form. He's caught and his tribe try to kill him because of his resemblance to another marauding species of fliers called the Fell, but he's rescued at the last minute by one of his own people, the first of them he's seen since childhood. Stone, the Raksura that rescues Moon, takes him back to a Court of his people, but there's an ulterior motive that he doesn't reveal and Moon may be far more important than he ever dreamed, to his people and to the Fell.

I've come to these books after the wonderful experience of the Murderbot Diaries to see what else this author has done. I'm not disappointed. There's clear signs of the author's background as an anthropologist here with multiple cultures of non-humans and the various ways in which they live. Having Moon as an outsider to his own people and ignorant about his own basic biology is a great introduction to the world and a clever trick for delivering exposition.
Profile Image for Spencer Orey.
540 reviews123 followers
February 15, 2022
I love the world and the diversity of peoples. The story didn't surprise me, but the raksura are really compelling.
Profile Image for Mitticus.
1,005 reviews208 followers
February 4, 2022

2022: 5 stars
2017: 5 stars

Awesome fantasy world with a male protagonist, where the male consort is supposed pampered and delicate , and well... Moon didn't get the memo, but the queens still can be terrific. Tons of races of all colors and forms, no humans, and strange psychic powers.

“Three realms: sea, earth, and sky. Everyone remembers the sea realms, but they’ve forgotten the sky realms. It’s been so many generations since the island peoples fought among themselves. They’re mostly gone now, with no one left to tell the stories.”
Moon wondered if he had been right about the sky-islands all along. “Is that where we’re from?”
His gaze distant, Stone said, “No. We’ve always come from the earth.”

La historia comienza con Moon, viviendo en una comunidad de cazadores/recolectores. Él siempre ha vivido con el miedo a ser descubierto -tiene 35 años- y expulsado por todas las comunidades donde ha pasado desde que era apenas un niño. Es diferente. Se transforma en una especie alada y nunca ha visto a nadie más como él desde que perdió a su familia. Sus temores se ven confirmados, pero esta vez parece que la conclusion será muy diferente, porque Moon por fin a re-descubierto a los de su propia raza, ¿o no?

La soledad tremenda de Moon marca todo el libro, y su miedo al rechazo.
He had never lived with anyone long enough to truly trust them, to tell them what he was. But living alone, even with the freedom to shift whenever he felt like it or needed to, wore on him. It seemed pointless and, worst of all, it was lonely.

People like him. It was wonderful and terrifying.
And seeing it let him articulate the thought that had been plaguing him since Stone had asked him to come to a shifter settlement: If you can’t fit in here, it’s not them; it’s you.

Todo esto en medio de un mundo fantástico lleno de selvas y rios, en lo que parece ser despues de una era mucho más formal, con carreteras y ruinas de ciudades inmensas, torres y bibliotecas destruidas... ¿por una guerra, una catastrofe, epidemia, todo lo anterior? Nunca se habla de esto en toda la historia.
Lo que sí hay es peligro a cada paso, los depredadores de este mundo son voladores, zapadores y escaladores; voraces y hasta canibalisticos.
La raza de Moon, los raksura son una especie de lagartos alados, omnivoros, aunque los encuentro más parecidos a una gárgola como el clan de Goliath (sin la parte de convertirse en piedra)

El recorrido de Moon por saber quien es, como es su raza, y su lugar en ella, la hacemos con él.

La Corte de Indigo y Cloud tiene sus propios problemas. Enemigos.

Desconfianzas, y algo de intriga como en toda corte.

Hay buenos factores para leer este libro:
-Wordbuilding. (sin infodump).

-Sociedad Matriarcal. Las mujeres son las guerreras más grandes y fieras. Las reinas comandan los clanes, y sus reinas-hermanas.
-Resulta original leer de diferentes tipos de razas y colores. Los hominidos de este mundo vienen en todos portes y colores, con crestas y escamas.
-La gente de edad mayor es respetada. De hecho todos le temen a Stone, el tatatabuelo del que descienden las reinas, es un tipo duro y conoce de todo. Tambien Flower quien es la especie de shaman.

La sociedad esta dividida en Reinas y Consortes; Alados (soldados); y Arbora (sin alas - artesanos y cazadores y escolasticos)
(Stone:)“I told you, the Arbora run the court. They find food, raise the clutches, help fight, make everything we need. They don’t like it if queens fight too much, or if consorts are unhappy.”


Hasta ahora no he visto cosas de religion mayor, ni supersticion. Prejuicios si hay, como en todas partes. Ah, y otra cosa, la mayoria al parecer es bi, y el hecho ni siquiera es mencionado sino que lo ves, o lees al pasar. Además es cosa hecha que tienen amantes y consortes (aunque no hay sexo explicito en el libro).

Moon , a pesar de su edad es algo...
(Selis:)“You’re stupid about women.” After a moment of thought, she added, “You’re stupid about men, too.”
Moon couldn’t argue with that. “I know.”


Tengo un nuevo fandom ^_^
Profile Image for Caro the Helmet Lady.
763 reviews344 followers
September 29, 2018
First of all, I have to thank Mimi for the rec. Thank you, Mimi! I haven't enjoyed a book that much since I was a teen. I mean of course, I have enjoyed many books of many genres since then, but this feeling of getting sucked into some new unknown world with new rules to learn and discover and understand how it works - this feeling of getting into something fresh and unseen - was genuine and amazing. Martha Wells wasn't lazying around and created this absolutely different world of Three Worlds, full of flying shapeshifters, alien races and their own cultures, customs and well, biology.

So this is how I imagined the protagonist, Moon...

Ha, just kidding! He's more like a Batman... OK, OK, I'm going to be serious now.
Moon isn't that much different from author's other novels main characters - as well as her Murderbot, or Maskelle from the Wheel of Infinite, or Khat from the City of Bones - he's an outsider, with his own story and with his own mystery, a bit grumpy and sarcastic towards the world he's not fitting into. As the story rolls out he's going to find his people and something to keep him busy a big deal - a lot of adventure and struggle. This all seems pretty simple but as always with Wells - not that simple.

And the world building is just fan-tas-tic!!! I'm not going to get into details - you just simply have to read it, if you're at least just a bit into stuff like this. Also there are many great reviews - if you don't believe me, check those.

Already reading the next one and definitely making friends with this series.
Profile Image for Lata.
3,598 reviews191 followers
September 14, 2018
Really interesting start to a complex world, with multiple non-human races, two of which are the focus here: the Raksura and the Fell, both of whom are flying shapeshifters. The Raksura live in large, complicated groups and are made up of the Arbora, who run everything (feeding, teaching, etc.) and the Aeriat, who are the warriors, and out of whom the Queens and Consorts come from.
Enter Moon, unbeknownst to him a Raksura, who has been living for years mostly in his groundling form, and trying to to fit in with groundlings. He's had to hide his shapeshifting and has been moving from one groundling settlement to another to preserve his secret. This hasn't been going particularly well, until it goes really badly with the latest group of groundlings he's with; he's mistakenly thought of as a Fell, drugged and left for predators. Moon is rescued by Stone, a shapeshifter like himself, who tells Moon what he is, and encourages Moon to come with him to Indigo Court.
Moon, having been on his guard and having no one to rely on for many years, is reluctant, mistrustful, reserved, cynical and misanthropic, but does go with Stone to Indigo Court, where he receives a less than friendly reception. Raksura are wary of lone Individuals, and Moon doesn't make it easy for the group to like or trust him. Coupled with this is that the group is under threat by Fell, suffering declining births and the main queen and her heir are not getting along--the whole situation is tense.
I had no idea what this series would be like, but figured Martha Wells would not let me down, and she did not. She delivered a story with a terrific world (I figured James Cameron stole her flying islands), multiple fascinating nonhuman races, longstanding conflict and plenty of danger, and a main character who has to learn to open up and trust and work with others. There is so much more I want to know about the Raksura and how Moon integrates with Indigo Court, and what they'll do next about the Fell, so on to book two.
Profile Image for Майя Ставитская.
1,328 reviews133 followers
April 3, 2022
This spring, Fanzon is launching a large-scale project to publish the "The Books of the Raksura" cycle, numbering almost two dozen volumes. I don't see myself among the fans, because of both the initially small love for the author, and the lack of tenderness for dragons and ants alike.

I know that dragons have a great many fans, otherwise Ursula le Guin and George Martin would not have become cult writers. I know that Bernard Werber's ant stories are appreciated by many. I don't count myself among either of them.

In business relations, expressing a point of view that goes against the expectations of a partner, it is customary to say: "Nothing personal." In contrast to business etiquette, book reviews are "Mostly personal." I do not understand the popular love for the cycle about a sentimental robot-a fan of TV series, a part-time fighter against vile megacorporations, as well as a defender of the humiliated and offended by the vast universe.

I don't understand the abundance of awards that prestigious science fiction awards showered on this book series year after year. There must be something wrong with me. But fans of the Killerbot will be surprised and pleased that Martha Wells can not only play hard SF, but also fantasy.

Ты знаешь, сколько существует летающих тварей, помимо сквернов?
Посмотри как блестят
Бриллиантовые дороги.
Послушай как хрустят
Бриллиантовые дороги.
Смотри, какие следы
Оставляют на них боги.
Чтоб идти вслед за ними нужны
Золотые ноги.
Чтоб вцепиться в стекло
Нужны алмазные когти.

Этой весной Фанzon начинает масштабный проект публикации цикла "Книги Раксура", насчитывающего почти два десятка томов. Среди поклонников себя не вижу, по причине как изначально небольшой любви к автору, так и по отсутствию нежности равно к драконам и муравьям.

Гибридом которых представляются мне герои "Воздушных дорог" Знаю, что у драконов великое множество фанатов, в противном случае Урсула ле Гуин и Джордж Мартин не стали бы культовыми писателями. Знаю, что муравьиные истории Бернарда Вербера ценят многие. Себя ни к тем, ни к другим не причисляю.

В деловых отношениях, высказывая точку зрения, идущую вразрез с ожиданиями партнера, принято говорить: "Нич��го личного". В противоположность деловому этикету, книжные отзывы - это "В основном личное". Я не понимаю народной любви к циклу о сентиментальном роботе-поклоннике сериалов, по совместительству борцу с подлыми мегакорпорациями, а также защитнику униженных и оскорбленных необозримой вселенной.

Как не понимаю обилия наград, которыми престижные фантастические премии год за годом осыпают этот книжный сериал. Должно быть, что-то не так со мной. Но поклонников Киллербота удивит и порадует, что Марта Уэллс умеет не только в твердую НФ, а еще и в фэнтези.

Однако умеет, да еще как. Цикл "Книг Раксура", повествующий о драконах-оборотнях, чье внутривидовое разнообразие и социальная иерархия напоминают муравейник или пчелиный рой - этот цикл насчитывает почти два десятка книг.

"Облачные дороги", первый роман об одиноком крылатом скитальце, который уже почти отчаялся встретить себе подобных, и вдруг это случилось. Но вместе с обретением приходит множество проблем, которые надо срочно решать, опасных приключений, ежечасной необходимости утвердить и отстоять свой статус среди своих, и смертельной угрозы от чужих.

В исполнении Игоря Князева аудиоверсия книги о консорте Луне, (с ударением на первый слог), его титанических усилий по спасению Гнезда и непростых отношениях с королевой Нефритой на фоне перманентной угрозы со стороны гадких сквернов много выигрывает.

Profile Image for Andreas.
482 reviews131 followers
January 11, 2020
Thrilling, exotic, interesting. A perfect page turner for a pool side vacation. Most outstanding is the world-building with its ecosystem of flying shapeshifters. Also, the main protagonist is very relatable with his sometimes stupid, sometimes willfull, sometimes heroic actions.
It is a wonder in these 1000page Sandersonian days that a novel can be written far shorter. I love that!
4.5* and I think it was far better than her murderbot novella.
I just grabbed the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Olga Godim.
Author 12 books71 followers
February 12, 2013
I was not enamored with this book although I realize that some of the points that caused my dislike might be exactly the same points that attracted other people to this unusual novel.

The story is entertaining, although not very original, and the pacing is okay. Most of the 3 stars go to the story. A young shape-shifter Moon is living with a tribe of hunters, camouflaging as one of them. He’s been an orphan for a long time and he doesn’t know what race he is. He knows he is different but he has stopped looking for his own people long ago. As far as he is aware, he’s the only one of his kind, so the camouflage helps him to blend in. Kind of. Not very well.
Eventually, the tribesmen found out that he is ‘other.’ Angry and afraid, they drag him into the wild and stake him to the ground to die. One of his own species rescues Moon and takes him to his colony. From that moment on, it should’ve been a happy reunion, a tale of Moon finally bonding with his own people, but the reality is much grimmer.
Moon discovers an unfamiliar community with a number of confusing traditions and puzzling interpersonal dynamics. Some of the members of the community accept him. Others reject him as an ignorant savage, an interloper. There are further complications: the colony is under attack by the bad guys, Fell, and Moon’s experience and abilities are desperately needed.
He is not sure if he wants to stay. He doesn’t feel that he belongs here any better than he’s belonged anywhere else. He is an outsider everywhere. Still, he can't abandon his people in trouble. He promises to stay and fight until the crisis with Fell is resolved. Obviously, a hero in the making, albeit a bit surly.

Moon and the other main characters are Raksura, a race of flying shape-shifters. From the author’s description, they resemble an amalgam of humans and reptiles with wings. I don’t think I’d like the appearance of any of them. Their emotions and reasoning are also alien. The characters in the story behave more like social animals or bugs than humans. They are too exotic to evoke real sympathy in my human soul, and the cold, slightly distant style of writing contributes to my emotional withdrawal. While intriguing on the cerebral level, no character touched me, and their plights felt more intellectual than visceral. It’s like watching a herd of antelopes on Discovery Channel or visiting a zoo. Fascinating animals, cute babies, curious facts, no heart involved.
There is also an incongruity with the protagonist Moon. He grew up a lonely orphan, kicked out of cities and settlements again and again, as soon as the people discovered that he was a shape-shifter. Often, he was on the run, forced to fend for himself on the outskirts of civilization. He should be a half-feral creature. Instead, he is a highly literate man who can speak and read several languages. He can even read maps. This is so incredible, I just discarded the fact.

The villains, Fell, are also contradictory, unbelievably so. On one hand, they are swarms of filthy beasts, a race bent on destroying all others. They don’t build, don’t create, and don’t have much of a culture of their own. They’re cannibals and even eat their fallen ‘comrades’. On the other hand, they devised a very sophisticated scheme for their future evolution as a species: a scheme involving interbreeding with Moon’s people and many-years-ahead planning. Only a well-developed society should be able to accomplish such a long-term project. My suspension of disbelief snapped at this contradiction.

The world
The world is interesting, purely imaginary, captured somewhere after the primitive tribal age but before the era equivalent to ancient Greece on Earth. All manners of different races live in this world, seemingly at peace with each other, except Fell. The abundance of ruins indicates that there were more before, but they have disappeared by now. During his travels, Moon encounters people with green skin and blue skin, scales and wings, fur and tusks, and everything in between. I don’t remember any other fantasy book with so many different species. Unfortunately, their sheer number makes my interest in any one of them rather mild. Like a kaleidoscope: the patterns are attractive, but each piece of glass on its own doesn’t have much value. The descriptions are absorbing though, both in their variety and their vividness. I think the descriptions are one of this author’s fortes. The book would transfer well into a Manga comic, preferably in color, or an anime feature.

All the problems mentioned above severely curtailed my enthusiasm for this novel. Nonetheless, it was a captivating story, hence – 3 stars.
Profile Image for Justine.
1,132 reviews310 followers
September 24, 2018
An excellent fantasy made non-standard by incredibly creative worldbuilding featuring numerous non-human sentient races.

The theme of the outsider seeking a place in the world is neatly told within this context, with a fast pace and lots of bloody hand to hand (or claw to wing) action. I can see why this series has garnered so much praise. Wells is such a strong storyteller I suspect you can't go wrong with anything she writes.

A very strong start to the series, and one I plan to continue.
Profile Image for Noelle.
373 reviews246 followers
March 5, 2012
Martha Wells, you had me at disemboweling claw.

The Cloud Roads is high fantasy and by that I mean NO HUMANS ALLOWED. Instead, there are all kinds of interesting species--those of the air, those of the land and those of the sea but the main character Moon has never met any that are like him. When he was very young, Moon's family was killed and ever since he’s been searching far and wide, hopping between tribes of groundlings, in search of who and what he is. Even more troubling, the closest species resemblance he has found is to the completely horrible Fell--basically Enemy #1 of the entire world and for good reason. They massacre entire species and destroy cities. They are not exactly the folks you want on your Christmas Card list.

Moon is a shapeshifter with two forms: a groundling form that let’s him almost but not quite blend in with most groundling tribes and another form that involves a tail, spikes, dragon-like wings and the aforementioned disemboweling claw.

Moon knows he's not meant to be a solitary creature and he is continually driven to surround himself with a tribe. Just as inevitably, he cannot help but eventually reveal his other form resulting in the groundlings assuming he is going to eat them and promptly kicking him out.

The latest tribe takes it a bit further by poisoning him and leaving him to death by large carnivore. Luckily, his species knows how to time a family reunion and swoop in to rescue him. Moon decides to make the journey to Indigo Cloud, an outpost of his kind, to see if he has finally found somewhere to belong.

Good news: He’s finally found his people--the Raksura.
Bad news: He still doesn’t fit in. Many of his people distrust him, consider him a feral stray and a rightful outcast.
Good news: He is a special kind of Raksura, one that his people desperately need.

Bad news: Moon is not so sure he wants to have those special responsibilities--or any obligation to Indigo Cloud at all.
Worse news: The current Queen has kind of gone off her rocker and seems to be negotiating with the despicable Fell, putting the Raksura of Indigo Cloud in danger.
Worst news: The Fell have plans of their own for the Raksura. Plans worse than just eating them.

The rest of the book follows Moon in his quest to finally find a place to belong, exploring what obligations he feels to his newfound people and whether it's worth it to join Indigo Cloud or if he is better off on his own after all.

Martha Wells has built a beautiful world with some truly fascinating details. I particularly enjoyed learning the respective power structures of the Raksura and the Fell. The hive-like hierarchy of the Raksura with the queens and the clutches was really interesting. Wells can also write one helluva fight scene. All of the action sequences were very well done.

Moon is an immensely likable protagonist. It's easy to become invested in his struggle to find a place in his world and a pleasure to go along for the journey. I really enjoyed The Cloud Roads and I'm looking forward to the sequel.

This review originally appeared on Young Adult Anonymous.
Profile Image for Allison Hurd.
Author 3 books697 followers
November 25, 2018
This was fun, a popcorn read with a novel concept. I don't think she hit her stride in this book, but the world is rich for future attempts.

CONTENT WARNING: (no actual spoilers, just a list of topics)

Things to love:

-The world. So cool. Lots of humanoids, no humans. Races of all sorts of intelligent life just beginning to find each other. Ancient ruins--apparently this world is in more or less constant flux.

-The Raksura. So different from us and yet easy to see how they would see the world.

-Moon. I mean, if you like broody, sarcastic men with chips on their shoulder, please allow me to introduce my good friend Moon.

Things that left me wanting something more:

-The plot. It was very linear. Several things were very deus ex machina and or improbably bent to make the next part make sense. There was a lot of "that makes sense" commentary to suggest to us readers that this was just the way the world worked and not something that seemed arbitrary.

-Internal inconsistencies. There were lots of little things that didn't quite stay the same. Smell, for example, came and went as needed for plot purposes. All sorts of things like that made it hard to feel like I could empathize with the characters or find any of the climactic events to be surprising.

-Telling, not showing. There was a lot of explanation that needed to happen as this world is so different from ours. To avoid infodumps, the author just explained things after the fact. I spent most of the book going "wait, what?"

-Wooden characters. I never quite grokked anyone, if I may borrow the expression. They were alien, but not in a way that felt real, just in a way that felt cool.

-The Fell. In a world about allowing all sorts of intelligent races mingle and struggle for purchase on what appears to be a largely inhospitable land, and here were the stereotypical "actually, we're just evil" fantasy bad guy fodder. I was hoping for something that redeemed them or made them something other than misshapen crazy shifter things but no such luck.

It was a fun romp. I wouldn't mind reading the next, but I'm not rushing out either. If you're looking for a light read that's a bit different from others of the fantasy ilk, this one's plenty entertaining.
Profile Image for Fiona.
1,220 reviews224 followers
September 2, 2021
I wavered so hard between 4 and 5 stars for this one!

The Cloud Roads introduces us to Moon - man who can grow wings and spikes, and fly, but doesn't know why. An encounter with what he thinks is a demon upends the life he's managed to establish for himself - and the rest of the book ensues, so I won't spoil it.

I'm a huge Murderbot fan, and there's ways this is very similar, despite the surface differences. Moon may not be cybernetic, but he sure can sustain a sulk - and were he do have access to the downloads Murderbot does, I'm not sure he'd ever need to interact again. But this is a much more fantastical world, and the friendships he makes shape the story away from his earlier solitude - still with characters who understand and allow things to progress at a naturally comfortable speed for Moon's awkwardness. The normalisation of consideration of others is something I loved in the Murderbot series, and I was so pleased to see it here too.

The world itself is a glory of things I imagine when I think fantasy, but hardly ever actually see - airships, yellow seas, and cities in delightfully improbable places (giant wheels, burrows, massive step pyramids). It's all wrapped up in that very straightforward and speedy, easy to read, Wells prose - this author writes books that feel comfortable so quickly. And yet she doesn't shy away from mentioning darker, more realistic issues - it keeps stakes in the story from getting too low.

Loved this, I really did, and I'll be working my way through the series.
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