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The Serpent Sea

(The Books of the Raksura #2)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  5,968 ratings  ·  470 reviews
Moon, once a solitary wanderer, has become consort to Jade, sister queen of the Indigo Cloud court. Together, they travel with their people on a pair of flying ships in hopes of finding a new home for their colony. Moon finally feels like he's found a tribe where he belongs.

But when the travelers reach the ancestral home of Indigo Cloud, shrouded within the trunk of a mou
Paperback, 340 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by Night Shade Books
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  5,968 ratings  ·  470 reviews

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N.K. Jemisin
Nov 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I freaking LOVE these books. The first book caught me by surprise, but I loved it so much I pestered the author 'til she gave me an advance copy of the second.

Because the Books of the Raksura contain some of the most original, exotic, and beautiful fantasy worldbuilding I've ever seen. Those of you who complain that there's nothing new in fantasy, read these. Here is plausible ecology, and biology mingled with magic in a way that feels almost science fictional. Here are created, magical races dr
Em Lost In Books
May 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-19, 2021, 4-star
What a great addition to the series. I thought this world couldn't be more adventurous than this while reading previous book but Ms Wells showed me I have seen nothing. It was so good. ...more
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Number 2 of The Books of the Raksura and another very satisfactory read!

The Serpent Sea is the tale of a quest as our team of Raksurans set out to recover a seed which is vital to the success of their new home. Wells indulges in some more incredible world building as they travel from their magnificent forest and eventually reach a city built on the back of a Leviathan. She deserves points just for her imagination.

I felt that there was more time spent in this book on developing the main character
Mayim de Vries
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
If I were to sum up The Books of Raksura in one sentence, I’d say that it’s a perfect merger between a BBC Nature documentary and a sitcom about a rebel boy trying to fit in a MidWest town. You don’t think this combination can work? Give Martha Wells a chance to prove you wrong.

“Moon has been consort to Jade, sister queen of the Indigo Cloud court for eleven days and nobody tried to kill him yet.” A book that opens with such a sentence is a solid promise of entertainment. The premise of it is a
Майя Ставитская
Sep 14, 2022 rated it really liked it
Continuation is better than the beginning. "The Snake Sea is the second part of the cycle about Raksur and, contrary to expectations, this book is more interesting and brighter than "Cloud Roads". The dragonmen of raksura, with whom we managed to get acquainted, but failed (I speak for myself) to fall in love in the first part, become clearer and closer, acquire charming features. What is especially valuable, they are not anthropomorphic - the social structure and physiology of raksur is very di ...more
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I'm surprised I'm giving this book 4 stars . I given worse grades to better books but I enjoyed this book from start to finish it wouldn't feel right giving it any less. Second installment in this pretty unique series maybe isn't epic or ambitious but what it set to do it does very well. Story is good and flows fluidly, world and Raksura themselves are as interesting as ever and novelty hasn't warn off a bit. Overall it's pure fun. Perfect book between longer, more complex books. ...more
Final rating: 5/5 stars

“Don’t give up. Promise me you won’t give up on us.”

Another 5 star worth book! Although just a bit weaker than the first one, I really enjoyed reading it for so many reasons: even more development to the world, addition of new and interesting characters and other courts. It's even more interesting now than before.

But the first half of the book had a bit more relaxing and a bit slower pacing than the first one, but the second half really picked up and was worth
2022: 4.5 stars

2017: 4.5 flying stars

You are your own worst enemy, he told himself. Not that that was a new revelation; it was just that he was starting to notice it more.

En la segunda novela de Raksura, seguimos el viaje por barco volador de la corte de Indigo Cloud después de las pérdidas sufridas por los Fell, y la adicion de un consorte 'feral' en Moon. Niran se va con ellos para resguardar los barcos y Blossom aprende a dirigir el otro mientras que guiados por el abuelo o mejor dicho Pa
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Just as good as the first two times I read it, and that amazing feeling of coming home again is still there. These books really are the quintessential summer reads. My only fear is racing the last book and that unavoidable book-hangover.

* * * * *

Rereading on audio with the Flight of Fantasy group

* * * * *

The Serpent Sea takes place after the fight with the Fell. Moon is now a member of the Indigo Cloud court and takes his place beside Jade as her Consort. He’s settling into his new role and has
Milda Page Runner
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Mostly as good as the first book. Storyline a bit less intense esp. in the first half, but the worldbuilding is just as stunning. I didn't expect to be surprised after the first book, but the places Moon visited towards the end - astounded me once again. ...more
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2018
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is a good series, it's just not attention grabbing in a month (May) when I had six five-star reads. I'm gonna keep going with the series, though, and definitely on audio!

Martha Wells' writing in this series is just so much more subtle than it is in my previous experience with her work, that featuring the lovely curmudgeon Murderbot. The world the Raksurans live in is also extremely alien, with sometimes completely different cultural mores and practices, not to mention physiological differen
Zoe Artemis Spencer Reid
It was less intense with smaller scope of a plot after the first book, more domestic in which readers were exposed more to the way of life of Raksuran courts. It was a fun read with adventure, leviathan, lot of fights, desperate mission to save their home. Overall it was not a complex or intricate story, it was more like a comfort read. And the world.. Oh my gosh the world.. If I could trasported there, I probably will be like archaelogist/explorer winged non-human being. Gosh, that will be awes ...more
Caro the Helmet Lady
Really good but a tad too slow for my tastes this time, all this "he went there and there, then he crouched, then he shifted, then he checked, then he climbed, then he shifted back, then he fought enemies, then he run" caused me to sigh impatiently for quite a couple of times. Also I craved for more dialogue.
Saying all that I still enjoyed the adventure very much and Raksuran intrigues as well. Love the world building, love the author's imagination! All these little details of Raksuran culture
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
4.5 stars

An excellent follow up to The Cloud Roads. Wells has such a gift for rich and imaginative worldbuilding. I would love to see these books on film; the visual descriptions are captivating.

The characters continue to be a real highlight as well. The development is slow and sure, building by layers. The depth of the characters helps to contribute to the real sense of peril Wells creates, particularly in the second half of the book.

I am most definitely continuing this series.
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Moon and his new family in the Indigo Cloud Court have returned to the ancestral lands of the Raksura and their home mountain-tree, deserted for generations. Only in their absence someone has stolen the magical seed that keeps the tree alive. Moon and Jade lead a delegation to another Court to try to secure a replacement, but discover that the tree will only accept the original seed so that it must be retrieved. Cue another mission for Moon and his new people across the wonderfully inventive and ...more
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-ebooks
Stone wandered up out of the crowd, stopped and eyed Moon for a moment, then nudged his shoulder. “You all right?”

“Yes.” Suddenly that was all Moon could trust himself to say. He felt like he had never really come home before, not to a permanent home, not to a place where everyone knew the real him. He couldn’t even trust himself to shift to his groundling form, even though it was technically rude to stay like this while Stone was a groundling. What he really wanted to do was run away and hide
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, dragons
What a wonderful story!!! It broke my heart several times, but in a good way, if that makes sense...
I love Moon, Stone and Jade! I feel for Chime and my heart hurts for Flower!!! I am totally emotionally invested in this beautiful magical world! Now on to the final one...
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook

The story reads better in print than listening by audio. Up close look into Raksura culture, getting to know the Indigo Cloud group & Moon finally feeling like he has a home + family.
Jan 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This sequel to the excellent The Cloud Roads (one of my top 10 books 2010) starts where the first book left of, as Moon, the now-consort to Jade, the sister queen to the Indigo Cloud and their court are on their way to their ancestral home in the hope of finding a new settlement for their people. The court is battle-weary after their fight against the Fell and worried about their diminishing numbers but still hopeful for a bright future at the new settlement. And at first, it seems all of their ...more
Read more reviews @ The Bibliosanctum.

Last year, the first book in this series, The Cloud Roads, was easily one of my top reads for 2015. Wells presented a wonderfully creative world with races who fall outside of human norms. This year, I said that I was going to continue this series. I want to finish up the main trilogy as well as the short stories in preparation for the upcoming fourth book in the series, The Edge of Worlds.

Readers are introduced to the Raksura in The Cloud Roads, a shapeshif
Jan 30, 2022 rated it it was amazing
The multiple layers of branches reached up like giants' arms, and the trunk was enormous, wider around than the base of the ruined step pyramid that had formed the old Indigo Cloud colony. From the lower part of the trunk, greenery platforms extended out, multiple levels of them, some more than five hundred paces across. A waterfall fell out of a knothole nearly big enough to sail the Valendera through, plunged down to collect in a pool on one of the platforms, then fell to the next, and the nex ...more
Para (wanderer)
I binged 30% of this because I had nothing to do and my internet kept crapping out but...to be completely honest, I'm not feeling it at all. Didn't remotely care about the plot, far less investment in the characters than I had in the first book, had to force myself to read on - and is it really worth it for a book that would have probably ended up being 3 stars? Maybe some other time. But not today. ...more
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This second part of the Raksura trilogy started slowly with lots of unneeded repetitions. But after some 10% it took off into the great exotic world. It found very different aspects, there: a Louis XIV similar Raksuran royal household with its intrigues. Also, a couple of different societies and races on Moon‘s way to retrieve the world tree‘s seed. Raksuran behavior differs from human, so this series stays exotic and interesting.
MrsJoseph *grouchy*
Time on Mt. TBR (as of 5/23/18): 1 year, 3 months

I love Moon. And I love the interesting gender role reversals that happen in this series. Then I think about Murderbot and realize that - if I were interested in having children - I'd want to have some of Martha Well's children.

I only started reading The Cloud Roads, because 1) I’d been rec’d the book; 2) I’d read Mimesis and loved it and 3) WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT SHINY COVER!!!!! Certified Cover Whore, at your service. ;-)

After getting about 100
In the Books of the Raksura, Martha Wells has created a lush world with imaginative cultures and fascinating species. The culture of the shape-shifting Raksura is so foreign and detailed, but she makes it extremely accessible to the reader. It's such a pleasure to read.

It becomes more clear in the Serpent Sea that this is not epic fantasy. The focus is not on a grand scale, but on the fate of a single, struggling clan in a large, indifferent world. We get glimpses of that world, but mainly we le
Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
In the second volume of The Raksura, Martha Wells does exactly what she's supposed to do: She expands the world created in the first book (The Cloud Roads), fleshes out the characters even more, including how they overcome a new obstacle, all in the guise of an entertaining story.

What's harder to quantify is just how well she does all of the above. Ms. Wells' books could be (and ought to be) taught in writing seminars on how to build out a world without giving way to undue data dumps or pointles
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Moon and Jade and the other members of Indigo Cloud have found a new place to live -- Indigo Cloud's previous colony in a mountain tree. (A tree the size of a mountain, that is; have I mentioned that I love this world?) Well, they've found a place to live if they can keep the tree from dying, that is ... Which will require a lengthy journey across the titular sea to a ... most unique city.

More great world-building, Raksura politics, adventures, and fascinatingly flawed characters.
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“They might be harmless, but Moon doubted it on principle.”

A better-than-average sequel. Expands Moon’s character and the ensemble of Raksura closest to him. Fills in backstory from the first book at appropriate time, but tends toward data dumps.

“Sense doesn’t enter into it where queens are concerned.”

The stakes are high; things keep going wrong; Moon isn’t the only one who is a fish out of water.

“Sometimes I don’t have visions; sometimes I have common sense. Not that any of you listen to me.”

Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The prose in these books is very simple and basic -- occasionally annoyingly so -- and if I'd been reading in ebook format I would've counted how many times a character "snapped his wings". OTOH, you don't often get to see fantasy this aggressively nonhuman -- even elf/shifter/vamp/etc. stories are pretty much "humans with cool abilities" stories or "human among the aliens" stories. In Wells's books, though, we have a carefully constructed, complex, and detailed look at an "alien" species that l ...more
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Martha Wells has been an SF/F writer since her first fantasy novel was published in 1993, and her work includes The Books of the Raksura series, The Death of the Necromancer, the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy, The Murderbot Diaries series, media tie-ins for Star Wars, Stargate: Atlantis, and Magic: the Gathering, as well as short fiction, YA novels, and non-fiction. She has won a Nebula Award, two Hug ...more

Other books in the series

The Books of the Raksura (5 books)
  • The Cloud Roads (Books of the Raksura, #1)
  • The Siren Depths (Books of the Raksura, #3)
  • The Edge of Worlds (The Books of the Raksura, #4)
  • The Harbors of the Sun (The Books of the Raksura, #5)

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“It's not going to make a very good story, in the annals of my time as sister queen.” She quoted dryly, “‘Then her consort jumped up and knocked the foreign queen unconscious with a kettle.” 19 likes
“Flower lifted a brow, dubious. 'You have to pay for a place to be dead in?'
Moon shrugged. 'Sometimes, in cities. It’s a groundling thing.”
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