Signs of Life

Out of Site, Out of Mind

Posted by Matt | April 25th, 2012

Martha Wells, The Cloud Roads. Night Shade Books 2011 (US): paperback.

A blog post! Not something that happens every day around here. I do have several half-finished potential posts written, so there may be more content here sooner rather than later. And in fact the reason for today’s post began as one of those half-finished pieces: my latest book review, of the first two volumes of a new fantasy series by Martha Wells, has been published by Strange Horizons. The books are The Cloud Roads and The Serpent Sea; the series is called The Books of the Raksura. I had started writing something on The Cloud Roads last year, but gave it up as too similar to things I had already written when reviewing the author’s previous book. Reading the second book in the series this year made me want to revisit and finish the piece, if only to sort through my own conflicted feelings about the series so far.

When I’m reviewing an unfinished series I like to make some sort of public guess or prediction about future content–a way of putting myself on the line a bit, of testing whether I’ve understood the pattern of information and possibilities that the author has provided. I couldn’t fit that into this review–it was long enough already–so I’ll state it here. In the first book of the series, we learn that the evil Fell have begun a program of abducting young Raksura–the similar winged species to which the protagonist of the series belongs–for use as breeding stock; weaponized rape as a species survival tactic. We know that Moon, the series protagonist to-date, believes his colony of Raksura was wiped out by Fell when he was only a small child, although he was too young to remember any details. But we also know that the Fell’s breeding program has gone on for at least long enough to produce a hybrid of a similar age to Moon. So it’s not really much of a prediction to suppose that some of Moon’s siblings might in fact have been abducted rather than slain; that they might have been young enough to have fallen in with the Fell; that Moon might have hybrid relatives who he will have to confront in later volumes of the series.

But we’ll see.

Selected past reviews at other venues:

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