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Reviews for The Books of the Raksura

2018 Hugo Award Finalist for Best Series

For The Cloud Roads

Martha Wells' books always make me remember why I love to read. In The Cloud Roads, she invents yet another rich and astonishingly detailed setting, where many races and cultures uneasily co-exist in a world constantly threatened by soulless predators. But the vivid world-building and nonstop action really serve as a backdrop for the heart of the novel--the universal human themes of loneliness, loss, and the powerful drive to find somewhere to belong.
- Sharon Shinn

I loved The Cloud Roads so much that I begged Ms. Wells and Nightshade Books to let me tell you--Yes! You! You, the one who is looking for a new book to start!--to read this marvelous science fantasy series. With excellent, inventive world building and wonderful characters I adored spending time with, it is completely fabulous.
- Kate Elliott

The Cloud Roads has wildly original worldbuilding, diverse and engaging characters, and a thrilling adventure plot. It's that rarest of fantasies: fresh and surprising, with a story that doesn't go where ten thousand others have gone before. I can't wait for my next chance to visit the Three Worlds!
- N.K. Jemisin

Thus the world is made all the more convincing for the reader, and all the more alien, by Wells's finely tuned instinct for what to explain, and how, always in keeping with Moon's viewpoint, and what to simply show without further clarification; other species with blue skin or horns, treelings, skylings, and waterlings, some sentient, some not, some with magic... It reminds me of the SF/F fantasy I read as a teen, long before YA was categorized. Those books explored adult concepts without 'adult content'; the complexity of morality and the potential, uncaring harshness of life. This story's conclusion satisfies on all those counts as well as leaving me eager for the sequel.
- Interzone, Juliet E. McKenna

There's so much to like here: multiple sapient species sharing a world (or NOT sharing) with complex gender roles, wildly differing societies, and varying technologies. This is rigorous fantasy without the trappings of European medievalism. And most of all, it's riveting storytelling.
- Steven Gould

Filled with vivid action and memorable characters, Cloud Roads is a terrific science fiction adventure story with a heart. I read it eagerly and look forward to its sequel with great anticipation.
- Sarah Prineas

Wells...merrily ignores genre conventions as she spins an exciting adventure around an alien hero who anyone can identify with.
- Publishers Weekly starred review

Wells...has created a new world of dragonlike shapeshifters and human tribes that could serve as the background for future novels in this exotic setting. Concise storytelling and believable characters make this a good addition to most fantasy collections.
- Library Journal

The Cloud Roads is an unconventional and genuinely fascinating fantasy book, because Martha Wells avoids clichés and writes fresh fantasy. The Cloud Roads is an interesting and beautiful tale of what it means to be different. It's also a fresh story about love, loss and loneliness. That's partly the reason why this book is charmingly irresistible (when you begin to read this book, you'll soon notice that it's impossible to put it down -- I read this book in one sitting, because I loved it).

But this is still a rousing tale of a lost boy who finds his way home and discovers that he has a role to play in saving the world. High-octane fight scenes nicely contrast with Moon's emotional growth and developing romance. Genre fans looking for something different will find this just what they needed.
- School Library Journal Blog

Ana: If you can't tell by now, I truly enjoyed The Cloud Roads and to be honest I am surprised at the dearth of reviews for this book around the blogsphere. It deserves a lot of praise and I hope it gets it. As for me, here is hoping for more books set in this world.

Thea: Ditto! I truly enjoyed this novel and wholeheartedly recommend it. I cannot wait for more from the talented Martha Wells -- hopefully set in the same world. Book 2, please!
- The Book Smugglers

If you've ever dreamed of flying, you'll really like the flying scenes in this book, and the world that Wells creates is a fully imagined and fascinating one. When it comes to world-building, Wells is at the top of her game. The book is thoughtful, but it's also action-packed, and the climactic battle is as bloody and thrilling as you could ask for. There's a bit of romance, there's humor, and the characters are just alien enough to be fully human.
- Bill Crider

Part of the enjoyment of this novel was seeing how Wells unwrapped the culture of the colony, as well as the world, like an onion. The further I read, the more depth there was. There are enough characters for a Fat Fantasy. Martha Wells does more with character development in less than 300 pages than many other writers do in twice as many pages. Or even a thousand pages.
- Adventures Fantastic

I loved this book. This has Wells' signature worldbuilding and wholly real character development, and her wry voice shines through. I can't even explain how real the world felt, in which each race and city and culture had such well-drawn back story that they lived on even outside the main plot.
- Patrice Sarath

For The Serpent Sea

Using its alien protagonist to explore the politics of gender and belonging, this is a fascinating read for SF readers looking for something out of the ordinary.
- Publishers Weekly

I loved The Serpent Sea. It's extraordinary story telling with engaging characters in an enchanting world I want to visit.
- Diana Pharaoh Francis

The Serpent Sea is a worthy sequel to The Cloud Roads and it features all of the strengths (fantastic world-building, great story, awesome characters) of that first novel. It is so easy to fall in love with this series and the reasons are manifold.
- The Book Smugglers

Another excellent and wonderful view into the universe of the Three Worlds and its fascinating inhabitants.
- SF Signal

With these books Wells is writing at the top of her game, and given their breath, originality, and complexity, this series is showing indications it could become one of the landmark series of the genre.
- Adventures Fantastic

The Cloud Roads is showing up on a lot of "year's best" lists, which is no surprise to me. I have a feeling we'll be seeing The Serpent Sea on them, too. Check it out. As for me, I'm ready for the next adventure.
- Bill Crider

The Serpent Sea is a wonderful and spellbinding sequel to The Cloud Roads, which was one of the best fantasy books of 2011. It gloriously continues the saga of the shapeshifting Raksura.

Wells remains a compelling storyteller whose clear prose, goal-driven plotting, and witty, companionable characters should win her fans among those who enjoy the works of writers such as John Scalzi and Lois McMaster Bujold.
- Matt Denault, Strange Horizons

Moon is a delightful character and a great focal point for the story. The world the author has created is wonderfully complex and vivid and has wonderful layers of characters, cultures and creatures.
- Portland Book Review

For The Siren Depths

Truly inventive and stunningly imaginative world building perfectly melded with vivid, engaging characters make the Books of the Raksura one of my all-time favorite science-fiction series.
- Kate Elliott

I really loved Book 3, which wound up as my favorite book of the trilogy. In fact, I read it too fast and am now going to take some time to re-read some of my favorite parts. This trilogy is DEFINITELY a keeper; I will LOVE re-reading the whole thing in a few years. In the meantime, I'll be pushing it on everybody who loves great writing, ornate worlds and wonderfully-drawn nonhuman characters. And I am also looking up Martha Wells' backlist, right now.
- Rachel Neumeier

Although this novel nicely rounds out the story of Moon and the rest of the Raksura, there is still plenty more to explore with these characters, and the Three World setting in general. If and when should the author return, I would absolutely be up to immerse myself in this rich secondary world fantasy setting again.
- SF Signal

The Siren Depths is a brilliantly complex, absorbing and original fantasy book. If you're tired of clichéd fantasy books with shallow characters, do yourself a favour and read this book, because you'll be impressed by the complex characters, the originality of the story and the poignant prose. The Siren Depths is one of the best and most original fantasy books of 2012, so make sure that you'll read it as soon as possible.

Wells does outstanding world building, and the Three Worlds setting is as vivid and as real as the house next door in spite of its strangeness. The characters are real, too, and a pleasure to read about. There's adventure here, with battles in the air and in the depths, and there's a thoughtful approach to the problems that the characters encounter. This may or may not be the final book in the series, but if it is, it's a fine way to conclude the story of Moon and the Raksura. I recommend that you start at the beginning of the saga, if you haven't already, and read all three books for a gratifying escape to a world of wonders.
- Bill Crider

The Siren Depths has more of what I've come to love about the Books of the Raksura--a compelling story, great world-building in a unique setting, and lovable characters with very realistic problems. In my opinion, it's also the most satisfying installment in the series because it does provide some answers to questions set up in the first two books and remains absorbing from start to finish. It's a wonderful addition to an imaginative series that I only love more with each new installment.
- Fantasy Book Cafe

The world-building is unquestionably well-established and thought-through, the Raksura a wholly different species without being completely alien. It also features a matriarchal society of completely badass women, a different type of Consort that doesn't mind being protected AND saved by his Queen but who wishes he can be more proactive, friendship bonds, reasoned and negotiated romance, as well as moments of pain and loss mingled with beauty and inspiration.
- The Book Smugglers

For Stories of the Raksura, Vol I: The Falling World and The Tale of Indigo and Cloud

"Wells is adept at suggesting a long, complex history for her world with economy, and, while her protagonists may not be human as we understand it, they are definitely people, sympathetic figures constrained but not defeated by their environments. Longtime fans and new readers alike will enjoy Wells's deft touch with characterization and the fantastic."
- Publishers Weekly

The characters in these stories are just as complex, diverse and sympathetic as in the novels. Their gender roles are explored believably, their actions are also believable and they have realistic problems. In my opinion the character interaction in these stories works perfectly. The author has managed to write about the characters in a realistic way that gives depth to them and fleshes out their different traits and feelings. The relationships and tensions between the characters are handled admirably.

A strong set of stories that joyfully show new and extended aspects of a fascinating fantasy world.
- Paul Weimer, SF Signal

For Stories of the Raksura, Vol II: The Dead City and The Dark Earth Below

"The Raksura world features innovative and alien creatures; Wells thinks far outside the humanoid fantasy box. The line between animal and person is drawn extremely thin, and the power structure among the races resembles nature more than it resembles any human civilization. With a strong sense of adventure, horror, and mystery, this is an enjoyable read for fantasy fans seeking a new series to sample."
- Publishers Weekly

Martha Wells continues her Raksura series with another collection of novellas and shorter works. If you've never read the original trilogy (beginning with Cloud Roads), this is a fine introduction, but you really owe it to yourself to read them all. It's quite unlike anything else in the genre - with a core cast of non-human characters, it creates an entirely fresh, matriarchal fantasy world with its own biology, ecology, technology, and magic.
- Barnes & Noble's New Book Round-up

"Immensely pleasing. . . the shorter stories still encompass everything that makes the novels so satisfying, from the daily interactions between Raksura to the incredible creatures, mysteries and landscapes of the Three Worlds, and if Martha Wells were to never write anything other than Raksura stories from now on, as much as I love her other work, I can't say I'd complain."
- A Dribble of Ink

"All in all it's a great collection of stories. . . all of them colorful, imaginative and fun. . . Must reads for fans of the series."
- Roqoo Depot, 5/5

"I wonderfully enjoyed these stories...I urge readers with any interest in secondary world fantasy who have not done so to pick up The Cloud Roads and begin there and work your way to this volume. And then, like me, you can hope and wait for future volumes set in Wells’ rich and endlessly entertaining world, peoples and characters."
- Paul Weimer, Skiffy and Fanty

For The Edge of Worlds

"The venerated pulp spirit in science fiction and fantasy has dwindled since the golden age of the 1920s to '50s. Yet an atavistic craving for adventure remains, and it is this need that Wells's books in general and the Raksura books in particular satisfy. The stories are straightforward adventure, but what makes Wells's "new pulp" feel fresh is its refusal to take the easier storytelling routes of its forebears. Rather than thinly veil an existing human society as alien others, for example, Wells - a master world builder - creates a multicultural world of humanized monsters...The result is breathtakingly surprising and fun. So for readers who missed earlier entry points to this delightful series, now is the time to get on board."
- New York Times

"In the beginning of this new full-length entry in Wells's Raksura series (following 2012's The Siren Depths), the entire community of Indigo Cloud, home to a shape-shifting race called the Raksura, has a nightmare of their world being destroyed by their archenemies, the predatory Fell. To prevent that, Jade, Moon (her consort), and other Raksura must join a group of archaeologists from several races to investigate an ancient site that could destroy them all...When the Fell do show up and bring a new wrinkle to their characterization, the dramatic battles, tough decisions, and character dynamics shine through. Filtering the story mostly through the semi-outsider Moon, Wells overcomes pacing flaws to keep this series going strong with an imaginative world of engaging characters."
- Publishers Weekly

"What makes The Edge of Worlds stand out among other fantasy novels is the author's passion for storytelling and and her strong worldbuilding. Martha Wells has created a strong and addictive story that adds depth and more sense of wonder to her fantasy world. She has also created three-dimensional characters that are wonderfully realistic and even have flaws that make them all the more interesting."

"The Three Worlds is a place where the shapeshifting Raksura, dwellers inside of mighty tropical trees, seek to survive in a world that often sees them as dangerous as the Fell even if the Raksura are arguably their greatest enemy. The Raksura are composed of an interlocking set of castes and types, from the matriarchal ruling Queens, through their breeding consorts, through the warriors to the flightless and more tool-oriented Arbora types. Personal conflicts, political machinations both within and without of the colony, strong characters, interesting problems and evolving and shifting ground underneath them means that life in a Raksura colony is rarely boring for long, not given the world they inhabit."
- The Skiffy and Fanty Show

As a fan of the series, I really enjoyed The Edge of Worlds. Martha Wells laid out another exotic trip into the realm of the Three Worlds and the Raksura. There’s peaceful moments, mystery, exploration, discovery, action, pain, betrayal and adventure. The ending left me pumped for the next book and I can’t wait to see what happens next. The Three Worlds is one of my favorite places to escape to, and this book delivers. I give it a five out of five metal bikinis.
- Rooqoo Depot

For The Harbors of the Sun

"Weird--in an excellent way. . . . promises to end a celebrated series on a soaring note."
-B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog

"[In] the beautiful fifth Raksura fantasy . . . Wells's worldbuilding strengths are on display, and she knows just what to explain and what to imply, making this volume accessible to newcomers as well as longtime readers."
-Publishers Weekly

"another enjoyable adventure into the strange realm of the Three Worlds. . . For providing hours of entertainment, page turning suspense, and genuine laugh out loud moments that left me closing the book with a smile on my face, I give The Harbors of the Suna five out of five . . . a great series to check out."
-Roqoo Depot, 5/5

"An incredibly layered and intricate world with realistic characters. . . . The series as a whole deserves all the accolades it has received and more, and The Harbors of the Sun acts as a lovely and fitting final book in the series."
-Strange Horizons, reviewed by Na'amen Gobert Tilahun, author of The Root and The Tree.

[ Compendium Main

| The Books

| The Cloud Roads
| The Serpent Sea
| The Siren Depths

| The Edge of Worlds
| The Harbors of the Sun

| Stories: Vol. I
| Stories: Vol II

| About the Author

| Buy Books Online
| Bibliography
| Blog ]