Customer Reviews: The Cloud Roads (The Books of the Raksura)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars206
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on June 25, 2016
A friend recommended this book to me and I was puzzled by her description at first. Then I started reading Cloud Roads and just fell into it. The world building is so richly layered but easy to understand, the people are interesting and exciting, and the plot is amazing. Read this. I couldn't put it down.
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on June 13, 2016
This is the first book in a wonderful series. I've grown to love the world and all the characters.
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on June 1, 2016
A really enjoyable read. Fantastically fun world-building. Characters that make you clutch your chest in one scene while in another you snort and mutter to yourself, "What dorks." Peril! Strange creatures! Found family! And who doesn't want to spend an afternoon imagining you have the ability to change into winged scaly dragon-gargoyle creature and solve your problems by kicking some butt.
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on May 14, 2016
Every part of this story is original, from the world to the characters to the plot twists. Moon is a protagonist I cared about right away. It ended up being a smaller story--more about the relationships than the global adventure--that's why 4 stars for me--but still a great story.
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on May 5, 2016
This is my first Martha Wells book, and I have to say I'm pleased both as a speculative fiction and sociology-anthropology fan. Some fantastical, made-up cultures in fantasy books are rehashed old tropes featuring characters with blue skin or apostrophed names, and some, like the Raksura and Fell in The Cloud Roads, also have blue skin, but also have relationship expectations, or mating habits or stratified societies that are different enough from modern ones that immersing yourself in their world manages to shed a bit of light onto assumptions about our own world.

But enough about that. This is a cool story. Moon lives in a town of groundlings, but he has a secret: he can shift into a winged form that is disturbingly similar to a race of winged warriors that terrorizes towns all over. But as far as he knows, he is the only one of his kind.

When he is cast out of the town, he encounters a being that will force him to get involved with politics of a race he'd never encountered before. As well as find a permanent home with people who will accept him or vilify him forever.

The prose in this is straight-up workmanlike. Not a lot of flowery language, most of it is actions and conversations. Since I'm a romance lover, I wished for a bit more of internal feeling-monologue whenever Moon was with Chime (best guy buddy with interesting affection benefits) or Moon was with Jade (romance possibility but with a convincing Matriarchal twist) or Moon was with Stone (elder, stronger, more gruff version of Moon). But that's mostly a personal taste and not reflective of the quality of the writing. Also, the sky battle scenes...very cool.

This one's references to mating and such mostly involve back-stroking and bites on the neck, the rest of it is couched in terms that are more oblique references or animal-husbandry type stuff, so safe reading even for YA audiences.

Cool fantasy culture in a world of winged creatures with a slight twist on gender roles.
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on May 1, 2016
I'm always searching for the next absorbing fictional series that I can lose myself in and I think I've found it in the Raksura series by Martha Wells. She's a wonderful writer who has imagined a colorful, treacherous, vibrant new world and populated it with characters just strange enough to intrigue but "human" enough to relate to. Readers will recognize the literary trope of a troubled outsider who thought he was alone in the world trying to find his place in an established culture -- the main character Moon is sort of an adult Harry Potter with scales, claws and wings! I'll be looking for the next books in the series...can't wait!
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on April 23, 2016
The first book in what has become one of my favorite series. I love it. <3
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on April 19, 2016
Interesting world of which this book only scratches the surface. Good character development, with interesting twists and turns. Looking forward to the development of this world and the secrets that will be revealed.
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on December 28, 2015
I have been thinking about what I want to say regarding this series for a while, and whether I wanted to split it up into three reviews, or just do one.

I have decided to do three. While the whole series is one long story, each novel stands on its own, too, and I feel it's only fair to review them individually.

So, the Cloud Roads. I saw an ad for this particular book on another site and liked the cover, so I decided to check it out on Amazon. The first thing that attracted me to it was the fact that it didn't take place on earth and that there were no humans. There are groundlings. But there's no race called 'man' or 'hume' or any other permutation of the word, and there is no one race that has essentially become dominant, as I find so many fantasy books featuring humans have. Groudlings are simply ground-bound sentient beings, and there are many, many races of them that the main character, Moon, encounters on his travels.

In any case, when I discovered that the main character was not human, I thought I'd give the book a try. The price was high, which caused me to hesitate and read the reviews before I purchased.

I mention the reviews, because I urge people to follow the five-star ratings if you're thinking about buying. There are a few reviews that state that the world is flat, and one even states that the book is more like an outline than a finished story. The people who are stating this want more elaboration on every little thing, where no elaboration is needed. I don't need to know the life history of the animals Moon is killing to eat, nor do I need to know all the customs of the groundlings with which he is staying. In fact, I applaud the way that the author doesn't stop every five pages to describe something completely unnecessary, like so many younger authors tend to do. I like to see a world built around me, and this book has it. What I don't like to see is Eragon-esque prattling on for 20 pages as the author describes something as insignificant as a footprint.

The setting is brilliant, and tells me enough throughout the book that makes me want to know more about the world in which these characters live. It's expansive. Huge. So large that one species might go their entire lives without knowing another species on the other side of the world exists. That's the sense I get anyway. It is revealed in little snippets that make this world seem extremely old. Ruins abondoned years ago are now reoccupied by entirely different races, who know nothing of the people who built them. Floating cities glide through the skies, their buildings long-empty. A mystery. In subsequent books, more is revealed about the world, but in The Cloud Roads, most of it is still unknown.

The story isn't totally unique. A loner, Moon, is trying to discover who he is. He knows no other of his kind, and for a while, I thought this was going to be a situation where Moon really was the last. I was pleasantly surprised when that wasn't the case. He is a Raksura, a race of winged shapeshifters with a very strict social structure. None of the members of the Raksura look down on the other castes, but instead, each work closely together to maintain harmony and productivity. They have Rules (with a capital R) that all members tend to adhere to... Except for Moon, who can't remember his early youth within a colony.

And, The Cloud Roads isn't just about Moon finding his place, but about his new colony, Indigo Cloud, finding their new place as well. The ruins in which they are staying has been plagued by illness, death, and low birth rate for years, and they need to move. The story focuses not only on the move, but on the reason for the problems they've been having. While I'm normally not shy about putting spoilers in reviews, I am refraining here because the book is just so good that I really hope everyone reads it.

Moon's character development is somewhat stagnant through most of the book. He hesitates to change, because he's been rejected for so long. He looks like a creature called a Fell. Fell like to prey on groundlings and steal what they have to survive, and if people see Moon in his true form, they tend to think he's going to kill them. Though he's been living amoung groundlings for years (and has, indeed, given up his search for anything greater at the start of the novel) he doesn't form attachments. Through much of The Cloud Roads, he doesn't allow himself to consider himself a Raksura, or part of the colony. The other Raksura must learn to accept him as he is, and in that way, they, too, are able to grow.

The book left me wanting more at the end. Not in a bad way... All the story points were wrapped up somehow in the book. But I wanted to know more, which is exactly what a good author should do. Read this book. You won't regret it.
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on December 26, 2015
Face paced. Interesting world and characters. I want to visit the three worlds again. It's a good thing there are more books in the series.
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