Sue CCCP's Reviews > The Cloud Roads

The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells
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's review
Apr 09, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: women-in-sf-f, favorites, review-written
Read from October 21 to November 08, 2013

My full review: http://coffeecookiesandchilipeppers.b...

One thing I always appreciate in Fantasy writing is a world that is well drawn, whether it is loosely based upon Earth at some point in its history or is totally alien. Ms Wells creates a pleasantly unique world, inhabited by a wide variety of interesting creatures and races inhabiting the three realms. Although we do not explore the sea at all, we see several examples of the groundling races, which show adaptations to various habitats and climates. They also display a variety or temperaments, beliefs and cultures, which were sketched out with sufficient detail without a heavy-handed need for exposition. By making Moon an outsider in almost all situations, Ms Wells was able to let us explore this world through his experiences and so the world building did not feel forced or boring.

Although we have no idea how the Raksura or the Fell are able to shift between two forms, I did appreciate attempts to explain some of the other more alien concepts that we encounter. Most delightful of these were the floating sky-islands, which we learn are supported by a special type of magnet-like rock. This is revealed because one of the races harvests the stones to ‘power’ sky ships in a very neat piece of alternative technology. The scientist in me is always happy to have a seemingly impossible aspect of nature explained by a relatively straightforward nod to science.

The Raksura have a fairly complex social structure, which adds to their alien appearance to make them distinctly non-human. In fact, they are rather reminiscent of bees or other social insects in their organization into colonies. They also have specific social roles depending upon their biological form: in some books we might have had a sub plot about the injustice of certain castes being down trodden, but here they are all treated as equally valuable and there is no feeling of suppression or exploitation. I appreciated this willingness to present an alien culture without trying to insert human thinking or prejudices into the mix. My only criticism of the Raksura and their realization was that they seemed somewhat complacent and insular: a feature that created the problems that drove the main part of the plot. On the whole they seem very conservative and wary of changing how things are done. This timidity did not seem to really fit with their evolutionary design because they are fundamentally hunters not farmers. When trouble arises they are reluctant to take decisive action and this makes them seem overly weak and helpless.

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Reading Progress

10/21/2013 marked as: on-the-coffee-table
10/21/2013 marked as: currently-reading
11/08/2013 marked as: read
11/08/2013 marked as: upcoming-reviews
12/21/2013 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Kristen Yay! Great book!

message 2: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue CCCP I read Martha's post yesterday and it sounded really interesting!

Kristen Sue wrote: "I read Martha's post yesterday and it sounded really interesting!"

It is! I liked this one a LOT.

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