The Cloud Roads (Books of the Raksura Series #1)

The Cloud Roads (Books of the Raksura Series #1)

by Martha Wells


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Nominated for the 2018 Hugo Award for Best Series
Moon has spent his life hiding what he is — a shape-shifter able to transform himself into a winged creature of flight. An orphan with only vague memories of his own kind, Moon tries to fit in among the tribes of his river valley, with mixed success. Just as Moon is once again cast out by his adopted tribe, he discovers a shape-shifter like himself . . . someone who seems to know exactly what he is, who promises that Moon will be welcomed into his community. What this stranger doesn't tell Moon is that his presence will tip the balance of power . . . that his extraordinary lineage is crucial to the colony's survival . . . and that his people face extinction at the hands of the dreaded Fell! Now Moon must overcome a lifetime of conditioning in order to save himself . . . and his newfound kin.

Skyhorse Publishing, under our Night Shade and Talos imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of titles for readers interested in science fiction (space opera, time travel, hard SF, alien invasion, near-future dystopia), fantasy (grimdark, sword and sorcery, contemporary urban fantasy, steampunk, alternative history), and horror (zombies, vampires, and the occult and supernatural), and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller, a national bestseller, or a Hugo or Nebula award-winner, we are committed to publishing quality books from a diverse group of authors.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781597802161
Publisher: Night Shade
Publication date: 03/01/2011
Series: Books of the Raksura Series , #1
Pages: 300
Sales rank: 222,401
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Martha Wells was born in 1964 in Fort Worth, Texas, and graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.A. in Anthropology. She is the author of fourteen novels, including the Nebula-nominated The Death of the Necromancer, as well as a number of short stories and nonfiction articles. Her books have been published in eight languages, including French, Spanish, German, Russian, and Dutch. Her newest fantasy novel is The Siren Depths, published by Night Shade Books.

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The Cloud Roads 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
MatNastos More than 1 year ago
I wish I could give this book 6 stars because it surprised the heck out of me with how much I enjoyed it. The author created an incredibly unique setting that was a lot of fun to get to see and explore with the lead character. It really reminded me of how I felt when I read "Dragonriders of Pern" back in Junior High School - how I was never really sure what was going to happen or what was waiting around the next corner. Great book by a fantastic author. It made me a fan.
jmf_83 More than 1 year ago
This is scifi with a truly original slant -- I adore the world this book is set in, and love the diverse and well-rounded characters. I always like Martha Wells' books, but this one is a real favorite.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
read it four times, couldn't put it down, great series!
Skuldren More than 1 year ago
The Cloud Roads is an imaginative experience that surely stands out from its fellow fantasy novels. At the heart of the book is the tale of a character trying to find his place in life, but around him is a setting that is profoundly different from anything in the real world. It is a place inhabited by strange humanoids, flying islands, and a nefarious race of flying creatures called the Fell. Most of the inhabitants can fly, some can shapeshift, but the one thing they all have in common is that none of them are normal. The book stars Moon, a shapeshifter whose family died when he was young. He doesn’t know what kind of creature he is, and he’s never met another member of his own kind. Living with groundlings (people who do not have wings), he tries to fit in, but it never works. Yet his life changes when he meets Stone, a shapeshifter like him. Stone tells Moon what he is, where his people can be found, and about their way of life. This new knowledge begins to spark a kernel of hope in Moon that he might finally find his place in life. The story is interesting in that it has a slow, steady pace throughout that remains engaging and entertaining. It’s not exactly a page turner in that you can’t put it down, but it’s one of those books you have to come back to. The world Martha Wells creates is pure food for the imagination. This is partly because it is so unlike any other. There are floating islands in the sky, kingdoms on or under the sea, and no familiar land masses or cities. The people come in all colors. Many of them have unique features like tails, tusks, scales, or wings. The one thing there is none of is humans. A lot of the fun in the story is the exploration of this world and its inhabitants. The other half of the fun is Moon’s journey. The action in the book is centered on the conflict between everyone and the Fell. The Fell are a race of creatures that destroy everything they encounter. Like ancient Rome, they do not invent their own things, but take from others. They come in several different types: dakti, kethel, and rulers. They all have wings and they’re all destructive. If one of their kind dies in combat, they won’t hesitate to consume the corpse. The more powerful Fell can even influence other races’ minds. Through the story, Moon learns that the Fell are threatening his people. If he wants to find his place in the world, he’ll have to fight for it. I loved the inventiveness of the book and how fresh it was from typical fantasy. There isn’t much that is normal about the story. I also liked how the tone of the story stayed mellow. It wasn’t a dark tale or a lighthearted, happy story. Instead it was somewhere pleasantly in the middle. The characters were fully fleshed out, believable, and realistic in their decision making and actions. Moon’s adventure was also thoroughly enjoyable. Best of all the ending was not a cliffhanger. It was substantial enough that the reader can stop right there. Of course there are two more books in the series, so if the reader wants to continue he journey, the option is available. If you’re tired of elves, dwarves, orcs, and humans, then The Cloud Roads is definitely a fantasy story worth checking out.
OldReaderVa More than 1 year ago
consistently very good writer
AdrianneM More than 1 year ago
Martha Wells worlds are glittering gems, each one more fascinating than the last. Her characters in The Cloud Roads are very well drawn, and the tension between them keeps the reader guessing. The plot has fantastic twists and turns. I read far, far too late into the night because I couldn't put it down.
Librarian247 More than 1 year ago
This is a great new book by one of my favorite authors. I always look forward to new Martha Wells books, and this one lived up to my expectations. The characters are fully realized individuals -- they are believable, complex, and compelling. They made me care about their struggles, but more importantly, they made me care about them as individuals. The setting is a fascinating new world, and I enjoyed exploring it. The societies, cultures, beings, and environment are all interesting separately, but meld together into an even more interesting whole. Add to this a plot that keeps you wondering what will happen next and great dialogue (always a hallmark of a Martha Wells book), and the result is a book that's hard to put down. I highly recommend this.
Sine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Death of a Necromancer is still my favorite, but I really love this book. A unique departure from her usual fare, and a marvelous world. Looking forward to the next one.
puttocklibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It was refreshing to read such a well-written, stand-alone fantasy novel. The story here is only the tip of an iceberg of potential stories within this world--which is vast and populated with many different peoples--not just different nationalities, but different species.Moon has been alone among the cultures of this world for most of his life. His doesn't know who his people are, and in all his wandering, he has never found another like him--he can shape-shift into a form that can fly. He hides his true nature, moving from culture to culture, because his flying form can be mistaken for a species of vicious, intelligent flying creatures that terrorize the species of the Three Worlds.One day, his species, the Raksura, find him, and he is no longer alone--instead he is thrust into the middle of a conflict between his own people, and the possible extinction of his entire species.
mbg0312 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For some reason, Martha Wells has become one of those authors that I will follow wherever she goes. Although I don't think this is her finest work (a title that probably goes to The Wheel of the Infinite), this was an enjoyable, smart novel taking place in a world that I definitely want to hear more about.
Krista23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
We follow the story of Moon, a solitary Raksura who has developed into manhood not knowing where he came from or even what type of people he belongs to. He is described as a shifter, one that can change from a flying creature into a walking creature. He was orphaned from a young age and has been moving between groundling camps in which he never fit in and could not reveal his true self to. He lived in constant fear that if a groundling saw him shift into is Raksura form that he would be confused with the enemies of all creatures, the Fell. One day, a flying creature like himself, rescues him from a deathly situation and takes him to a floating island until he can heal. Moon and the rescuer take this time to ask each other questions about where they come from and who they are.Stone, the Raksura who has rescued him explains they live in a place called the Three Worlds. There are several types of creatures living in this world consisting of groundlings, skylings and sea creatures. Some of them are obviously interchangeable and have the ability to shift into another form. Moon decides that he will travel back with the Stone to see people like himself and learn about where he may have come from. And the possibilies that his future holds.Each step of the way they must be smarter, faster and stronger than the Fell that are taking over the world. The Fell are slowly destroying the other creatures to defy their own devastation. All the creatures in this world are experiencing sickness and low breeding numbers. But the Fell have some advantages the other creatures don't have, and they have set their eyes on the Raksura to salvage their dire situation.The writing is very descriptive and overall easily imaginable. There are so many levels and relations in each type of species that it did take me quite a bit of the book to start to grasp the roles they play in their societies. Both the Fell and the Raksura had different levels of rankings in which some could shift and some couldn't. But the twist of adding the rare shifters in as well, made the book more fantastical and really envelops you into the story. The repetitive descriptions of the people throughout the story helped as well. There is so much adventure and world building and action that literally before you know it the story is over and leaves you yearning for more.By the end of the book you are fighting for the happy ending, you come to understand all of the creatures, their plight and need to grow in number and survive. How they can work for or against each other and the overall story line -that we all need to find a place to belong.
MatNastos on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wish I could give this book 6 stars because it surprised the heck out of me with how much I enjoyed it. The author created an incredibly unique setting that was a lot of fun to get to see and explore with the lead character. It really reminded me of how I felt when I read "Dragonriders of Pern" back in Junior High School - how I was never really sure what was going to happen or what was waiting around the next corner. Great book by a fantastic author. It made me a fan.
sunqueen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The world building aspect of this book was very good, yet I had a difficult time connecting to any of the main characters. Many of the characters were not that likable, and the dialog between them was less then inspiring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BabaTaro More than 1 year ago
I read all three books this week.  Very hard to put down. There are great review here, to give you an idea of the plot, I just want to add this: If there were really a race of intelligent dragons, the Raksura would be it.  The building of a unique race with unique characters, is unparalleled.  
shadowVP More than 1 year ago
I have read this book several times from our library and decided to purchase it for my ereader so I can enjoy it whenever I want. I really hope this author continues to write more about Moon, even after the third book. There needs to be more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
enadal More than 1 year ago
Great start for the series... This was my first time reading a scifi and I truly enjoyed it! This has become my new favorite series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A unique fantasy world with great characters, plotting, suspense. Unusual species, family organization, situations. Wells is always good.
SophieRose More than 1 year ago
I wasn't captivated at first but, after the first chapter, I couldn't put the book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I apsolutly loved the cload roads I thamk Martha Wells for writing such an amazing bool!
Ampris More than 1 year ago
Great fantasy story. The Raksura are well developed and the plot takes an interesting turn. Moon is easy to relate to and full of surprises. The climax blew me away! I couldn't wait to finish it so I could read it again.
Lord_Pendragon More than 1 year ago
The first in a series, The Cloud Roads follows the adventures of Moon, a shapeshifter able to take a humanoid dragon-like form. He's been an orphan since he was a child, trying to fit into non-shifter societies and failing as often as not. But early on in the novel he is discovered by his own kind, and the plot takes off from there. Moon is an extremely likable, well-defined character, and easy to relate to. He knows nothing about his people, and his insecurities in trying to fit in, his fears of forming emotional attachments for fear of being hurt, and his courage in struggling to make things work, are things many readers will recognize. The writing style is lighter than say, George R R Martin, but that does not mean simple. Wells is a talented writer technically, and her prose flows smoothly. An amazing read, highly recommended.
CaliforniaNookLover More than 1 year ago
Fascinating world! Well written