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Moon lives on a planet peopled with a number of intelligent races, and as far as he knows, he doesn't belong to any of them. He is a shapeshifter, with one form that allows him to blend in with the various "groundlings" (terrestrial humanoid races) and another shape, winged, that bears an unfortunate resemblance to one of the variants of the rapacious, predatory beings known as the Fell. As the first book opens, Moon's latest refuge fails him (he never really expected anything else), but he is rescued from likely death by what turns out to be an elder of his own true race.

Our hero discovers that he is a Raksura, a member of a reptilian species with two major subspecies and a complicated social system. The Raksura colony to which Moon's rescuer belongs, the Court of Indigo Cloud, is on the brink of disaster, and Moon turns out to have more than one special role to play in its salvation. The first book closes with a horrifying conflict with the Fell and the decision to move the entire colony to the ancestral home only remembered by Moon's aged rescuer.

The second volume picks up exactly where the first ended. The Raksura of Indigo Cloud arrive at their new (to them) ancient home, a mountain-sized tree, and start to settle in, only to discover that the tree is dying because someone has stolen a crucial component of it. The rest of the book is taken up with a quest by Moon and a small band of the Indigo Cloud Raksura to find the missing part and restore it. The journey takes them to other Raksura courts, where they have to deal with extravagant manners and dirty politics, and to a wonderfully fantastic multi-racial city, where they must engage in espionage, combat, and sabotage so that they may take back what is rightfully theirs.

 

The Cloud Roads and The Serpent Sea (review)

Moon is a wonderfully prickly protagonist. Most of the other Raksura assume that he is a "feral solitary," an outcast who has earned banishment from his home court. He desperately wants to belong, but his experiences with other societies have always ended badly, and so he does his best to be cynical. There's some very tasty sex role reversal in what is expected of Moon and where he is meant to fit into Indigo Cloud, and the Raksura females have a wonderful level of badassery. All in all, I really enjoyed the descriptions of the Raksura society, and the exploration of the huge tree city in the second book delighted me.

The series could be described as "science fantasy." Magical powers exist, but they are handled in a very downright, non-fantastical fashion. Wells certainly knows how to move a story along. Both books swept me up and kept me reading steadily, longing to know what happened next. I'm extremely relieved to hear that a third volume is set to come out early next year, but it's going to be hard to wait!

 

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
whymzycal
Mar. 26th, 2012 02:24 am (UTC)
Ah, I love Martha Wells! I haven't started this series yet, but I'm looking forward to it.
chomiji
Mar. 27th, 2012 02:07 am (UTC)

She has a bunch of cool stuff on her site for this series, but a lot of it contains spoilers.

(I didn't know you liked Wells! I did Fall of Ile Rien fic for my second Yuletide ... .)

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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