“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.”
The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells
10 Reasons to read The Books of the Raksura by Martha Wells.
He is the sole narrator for most of the main books, and I just loved him. In the first book he is such a lost soul. He doesn’t know who he is or why he can shift into the winged creature. He just knows that he must keep it a secret. The first book is all about his journey of discovering who he truly is.
I also so enjoyed Stone and his relationship with Moon. He sort of becomes the father Moon never had. He is also the oldest Raksura, called a line grandfather, and has opinions and ideas that the others don’t have. He also has an attitude that was often added a comedic relief to many of the situations.
Chime is the first friend that Moon makes when he arrives at the court. For reasons I won’t go into here, Chime is just as much an outsider as Moon is. They have a very loving and beautiful relationship from the start and support each other through some difficult situations.
4. The World Building
This is high fantasy at its best. Martha Wells does a fantastic job of creating a world rich with many different cultures and beings. While most of the sentient creatures are human like, they are all definitely not human. In every book and story we meet new cultures and species and some are just amazingly fantastic. The technology that some of them have are also amazing. There is some magic involved, but some of it is also based in science. I loved the flying boats!
5. The Raksura
The raksura are actually two different species that live and work together. The Aeriat can shapeshift into a winged form and many of them are warriors. The Arbora are also shapeshifters but they do not have wings. Both sets have a groundling form, that most resembles humans. There is a ruling queen and only Aeriats who are consorts can mate with them. Consorts can also mate with Arbora. Sex is pretty casual and you can partner with whoever you like, but breeding is controlled by the females who can decide when they want to have babies. I loved that consorts were the child rearers, especially of the royal babies. In many ways, their society resembles a hive, but there is were times when I also thought about canine societies as well.
6. The Plots
Each book has its own story, but there is a cohesiveness to the whole series. The plots of each book are fascinating and never leave you bored. The pacing is a little slow though in some of them. The last two book are the only two that have a continuing story. Moon and many of the other Rakusura go on adventures across the Three Worlds and meet all sorts of other beings. Most are friendly, but some are hostile. I also like the interactions between the other courts of the Raksura. Those were always interesting and sometimes volatile.
7. The Fell
The Fell are feared by just about everyone in this world. They are distantly related to the Raksura and unfortunately they resemble each other in their winged forms. The fell pretty much go around destroying towns and cities and eating everyone. Many of the stories involve the Fell. They also have a very interesting society and I found then just as fascinating as many of the other people we meet in these books.
8. The Writing
If you have read any of Martha Wells other books than you know how spectacular the writing can be. Unlike other high fantasy book though, the world building does not overshadow the plot. It is integrated with the story. Descriptions of species and landscapes while beautiful and vivid, are not exceedingly long. The banter between the characters is also well done. Even though Moon is the sole narrator of most of the books, you really feel like you get to know all of the other characters well through his interactions with them.
9. The short stories
I loved all of the short stories. They ranged from stories that take place between the books, to stories totally outside of them. I loved the one where we see Moon as a young child, trying to find his place in the world. I also liked the one that was about the ancestors of the Indigo Cloud court. These stories really broaden the whole world and enhanced the characters.
10. Jade and Moon
“She trusts me to take care of myself, even when she doesn’t want to. I can’t be like a normal consort; I’ll just cause trouble. Look what I did at Opal Night, and I wasn’t even trying.”
― Martha Wells, The Siren Depths
I loved the relationship that develops between Moon and Jade, the queen that he is consort to. Moon is definitely not a typical consort, growing up away from a court, he has no idea how to behave and it gets him into a lot of trouble. But Jade so gets him and comes to love that he is different. But she still worries about him when he goes out into the world. She is fiercely protective of him as well and will do what she has to keep him with her.
If you like the Murderbot series then I strongly advise that you give this series a chance. It has some similarities to Murderbot, but it is so much richer in detail and character development. I will at some point pick up other series by this author and I am sure that I will enjoy them just as much as I did this one.