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Martha Wells

My Flying Lizard Circus

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The Cloud Roads

Review of Stories of the Raksura I

Here's a review of Stories of the Raksura I on the Finnish SF/F blog Rising Shadow:

Ever since I read The Cloud Roads, I've been fascinated by the Raksura and also by the biology of the Raksura, because they're totally different from other species and races found in modern fantasy novels. Their different forms still continue to amaze and thrill me, because it's genuinely interesting to read about them, their lives and their fates. Although they're shapeshifting beings, there's something humane about them that makes it easy for the reader to care about them.


The characters in these stories are just as complex, diverse and sympathetic as in the novels. Their gender roles are explored believably, their actions are also believable and they have realistic problems. In my opinion the character interaction in these stories works perfectly. The author has managed to write about the characters in a realistic way that gives depth to them and fleshes out their different traits and feelings. The relationships and tensions between the characters are handled admirably.

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cool! and ditto.

I especially enjoyed the way the gender roles are so naturally explored -- not in some preachy way, but rather as a natural by-product of Raksuran biology. The character's thoughts and actions depend so naturally upon their roles the reader accepts and engages emotionally with what's happening, even if it's not the "norm."

Thank you!

I love it when you can tell a reviewer a) really got what you were trying to do and b) thought you did it well. That's really the best.

All I know is, I read through Stories of the Raksura Volume I in about a day and a half, and am now re-reading The Cloud Roads because after that, I couldn't stand to leave the Three Worlds just yet.

Incidentally, if you ever feel inspired to write a Three Worlds story that isn't about the Raksura, I would love to know what became of Selis after Moon and Jade dropped her off in the rotating city. Not only would we get to see more of the world, and see it from a non-Raksura perspective, but I found Selis fascinating in a hugely understated sort of way. ("They're helping me escape my family, who are all dungheads.") She is, in her way, every bit as much of an outsider as Moon is, and she's brave, loyal, and fair - precisely the sort of traits that could get her into trouble.

Thank you, I'm glad you liked it!

Yeah, I would kind of like to write a Selis story at some point.

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