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The Serpent Sea

(The Books of the Raksura #2)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  2,842 Ratings  ·  246 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
Kindle Edition, 355 pages
Published January 1st 2012 by Night Shade Books
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N.K. Jemisin
Nov 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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 every mi
Milda Page Runner
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Milda by: Mimi
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.
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.

Caro the L. of the H.
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
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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...
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
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
Joel Neff
Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
“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  ·  review of another edition
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
Melissa McShane
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, fantasy
The Serpent Sea is a worthy companion to the first Raksura book, The Cloud Roads. Everything that was good about the first is present in the second, but there's more of it: more detail about the Raksura culture, more interaction between the "solitary" consort Moon and his adopted court, more detail about the elaborate world Wells has created. In fleeing the Fell, the Indigo Cloud court has moved to a different home long-abandoned by their people, only to find it's dying because its source of lif ...more
Dec 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Estara by: auto-buy author
Shelves: ebook, read-in-2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kagama-the Literaturevixen
Im still fascinated by the world setting and the raksura.

I just felt the plot meandered a bit at times.Henche the two star rating.

And then the relationship between Jade and Moon...well Jade scolded Moon...and they had some sex.And that was it.

Sure they had scenes when they were loving and caring too,but I detected a pattern. Moon would do something "non-raksuran",Jade would dissapprove.Moon would feel unsure about her feelings and they would make up again. I think this happened at least three ti
Laura (Kyahgirl)
3.5/5; 4 stars; B+

The second book in the Raksura series was a pretty tense adventure. I enjoyed the fantasy element and the characters. The only drawback for me was the over the top challenges that kept coming at the main characters.
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful wonderful wonderful.

Full of interesting creatures, magic, characters and relationships. I love that series, can't wait to start the third one!
Seregil of Rhiminee
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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. (Note! The Clouds Roads and The Serpent Sea form a duology, so it's important to read The Cloud Roads before The Serpent Sea.)

In the first book (The Cloud Roads) Moon was banished from his home for being different, because his companions feared him and his ability to shapeshift. He found out that there are other
May 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015-rev, reviewed

2.5 stars

Moon and the Indigo Cloud court of Raksura shapeshifters have lost their home, and are returning to the court's original location. When they reach it, they find looters have stolen the heart seed, without which the home tree is dying. Moon and other Raksura set out to track down the seed and recover it.

If there weren't plenty of evidence against it, I'd think that the Martha Wells who wrote this book and the one who wrote City of Bones are completely different p
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Reread in 2016 to catch up with all the books in the series.)

Martha Wells gives us a strong follow-up to her earlier novel, The Cloud Roads, one that is just as engrossing and richly-detailed as I'd come to expect after reading the previous book of the series.

Whereas before we see the protagonist, Moon, really coming to know himself and being the perfect blank-slate character to introduce us to a world unlike the vast majority of fantasy on the shelves today, here we see Moon as someone who has
Sonia Lal
Feb 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Serpent Sea is a fantastic fantasy. It’s world-building is original, the most original I’ve seen in a long time. The characters are good.

The Serpent Sea is a sequel to the Cloud Roads and it’s not the kind of sequel that’s easy to read without reading the previous book.

In the last book, Moon, our hero, an orphaned young man, has spent his life going from one groundling community to the next, always hiding, always trying to fit, never revealing that he shift forms. Then he discovers he is R
You know how there's sometimes that one little fly in the ointment that just keeps you from head-over-heels loving something that you know is really good? Maybe you meet someone with your ex's name, or you just hate it when there's a slo-mo montage scene, or the taste of cinnamon makes you blech. Well, Martha Wells is over here writing some really fun fantasy where all the main characters have simple one-word nature names - Moon, Flower, Stone, Heart - and I just can't shake the idea that this i ...more
May 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I really enjoyed this book, Martha Wells is such a wonderful author, the second you open one of her Raksura books you fall headfirst into wondrous lands filled with strange creatures. Once you start reading one you cannot put her book down until you are done.

This book is a continuation of Moon's journey. I was worried to get my hopes up too high since I liked the first book so much. I worried for nothing though. I rather enjoyed watching him spend more time with the Raksura on their journey to f
Jul 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-2018
This book brought home the point that I probably wouldn't like it as much if you swapped the genders. The Raksura are matrilineal, and consorts apparently hang around being decorative and delicate. Raksura from other Courts are therefore often shocked by Moon's upbringing in the wild and his ability to hunt, which bears some shades of "Not Like The Other Girls".

But the standout feature is the book's ability to sell this trope.

I liked the certainty in the romantic relationship - Moon and Jade tru
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Martha Wells has written many fantasy novels, including The Books of the Raksura series (beginning with The Cloud Roads), the Ile-Rien series (including The Death of the Necromancer) as well as YA fantasy novels, short stories, media tie-ins (for Star Wars and Stargate: Atlantis), and non-fiction. Her most recent fantasy novel is The Harbors of the Sun in 2017, the final novel in The Books of the ...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)
“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.” 18 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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