(Isn’t it beautiful? I love the detail, and I found it helped when it came to picturing the Raksura race.)
After hiding in his human form and constantly travelling between different races of humans, Moon is finally caught out. Having been spotted transforming, Moon is discovered for what he really is: a creature who can shape shift from human to a being with black scales, wings, claws, and a tail. The group of superstitious humans he has been living with mistake him for a demon race known as the Fell. Poisoned, tied to a post in the middle of the forest and left to die, Moon is rescued by a stranger, named Stone, who turns out to be a shifter like him – not a Fell, but a Raksura, the people he has been searching for his whole life. But when Stone takes Moon back to his court, it’s not the happy homecoming Moon has always hoped for. Tensions rise at his arrival between two Queens, the ruling Queen Pearl and her sister Jade, while other court members are trying to discover why all their new born children seem to be dying, and what is causing the court to sicken. Moon must help strengthen his new home and defend his people from a Fell invasion.
Books like The Cloud Roads remind me of why I love fantasy. The world building and detail that are included are simply beautiful, and after reading it I still want to know more about the many different races of creatures mentioned. The way the world was presented was both skillfully done and revealed slowly in an almost frustrating way. Martha Wells teases her readers with glimpses of one race/culture that you can’t help but want to know more of, only to then show you another, equally as fascinating. I hope for many more books in this series, just to see every part of the Three Worlds – sea, land and sky. One of my favourite parts was the flying islands, but I would also love to see more of the sea creatures, as this was only briefly touched upon in book one.
As for the story itself, I liked Moon from the beginning and loved Stone. In fact, my only complaint with this book was that Stone wasn’t featured as much as I would have liked. There wasn’t one character I disliked, and found them all to be detailed and three-dimensional. Even the arrogant, slightly unstable Queen Pearl had an understandable motive for her actions. I enjoyed the growth of Moon, as this is a coming-of-age story, though a more mature one that usual, as the protagonist is about 30 instead of an adolescent. This creates an interesting mix, as Moon is learning who he is, but in some ways he already knows. The other members of the Rasksura court have to adjust to him as much as Moon adjusts to them.
As I have said, I sincerely hope that this series continues beyond the two books already written (The Cloud Roads and its sequel The Serpent Sea), and will grabbing a copy of the sequel as soon as I can.I truly loved this book and will now automatically buy any more in this series a.s.a.p.