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The Cloud Roads | [Martha Wells]

The Cloud Roads

Moon has spent his life hiding what he is - a shape-shifter able to transform himself into a winged creature of flight. An orphan with only vague memories of his own kind, Moon tries to fit in among the tribes of his river valley, with mixed success. Just as Moon is once again cast out by his adopted tribe, he discovers a shape-shifter like himself... someone who seems to know exactly what he is, who promises that Moon will be welcomed into his community.
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Publisher's Summary

Moon has spent his life hiding what he is - a shape-shifter able to transform himself into a winged creature of flight. An orphan with only vague memories of his own kind, Moon tries to fit in among the tribes of his river valley, with mixed success. Just as Moon is once again cast out by his adopted tribe, he discovers a shape-shifter like himself... someone who seems to know exactly what he is, who promises that Moon will be welcomed into his community.

What this stranger doesn't tell Moon is that his presence will tip the balance of power... that his extraordinary lineage is crucial to the colony's survival... and that his people face extinction at the hands of the dreaded Fell! Now Moon must overcome a lifetime of conditioning in order to save himself - and his newfound kin.

©2011 Martha Wells (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Martha Wells' books always make me remember why I love to read. In The Cloud Roads, she invents yet another rich and astonishingly detailed setting, where many races and cultures uneasily co-exist in a world constantly threatened by soulless predators. But the vivid world-building and nonstop action really serve as a backdrop for the heart of the novel - the universal human themes of loneliness, loss, and the powerful drive to find somewhere to belong." (Sharon Shinn)

"Wells merrily ignores genre conventions as she spins an exciting adventure around an alien hero who anyone can identify with." (Publishers Weekly)

"Wells... has created a new world of dragonlike shapeshifters and human tribes that could serve as the background for future novels in this exotic setting. Concise storytelling and believable characters make this a good addition to most fantasy collections." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (502 )
5 star
 (207)
4 star
 (184)
3 star
 (74)
2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.2 (439 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.2 (441 )
5 star
 (211)
4 star
 (162)
3 star
 (44)
2 star
 (13)
1 star
 (11)
Performance
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  •  
    Gail Yuma, AZ, United States 04-09-12
    Gail Yuma, AZ, United States 04-09-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "M. Wells' RAKSURA books narrated by Chris Kipiniak"

    My first exposure to this world and Martha Wells came through Audible audio books.

    I cannot rave enough about the outstanding job Chris Kipiniak did with the narration. His range of character voices made it so easy to follow the dialogues between several characters. Of course, as talented as Chris is, he still needs a good story to read to us.

    The Raksura stories by Martha Wells (The Cloud Roads and The Serpent Sea) are wonderful. The world she created and the characters therein are beautifully crafted and detailed to make it easy to visualize each scene, no matter how outlandish they may seem (I mean, come on, a city built on the back of a giant sea creature?). But it all seemed plausible, and was definitely entertaining. Good character development, and the relationships developing between Moon and the other characters, and between the other characters with each other were deftly handled. Not too much to be boring, but enough to give us an idea, and a satisfaction, that they would all become the people we hoped they would be. Martha's sense of humor is terrific, too ("Moon had been Jade's consort for 11 days now, and so far no one had tried to kill him. He thought it was going well.")

    I may have to buy these two books for my Kindle reader so I can revisit these stories, and parts thereof whenever I want.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Modesto, CA 12-27-11
    Joe Modesto, CA 12-27-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    362
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    415
    35
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    113
    11
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting read"
    What did you love best about The Cloud Roads?

    This book is an interesting read - it doesn't rise to the greats (The Wheel of Time, A song of Ice and fire, etc) but it is engaging. It kept my interest and at the end, I wanted to know what happened next. It makes me wonder if this is a stand alone book or part of a series.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This story gave me an opportunity to imagine how it would be if men had wings and could fly. It gave me a good opportunity to share in the character's delight in flight, and to imagine myself out there in the sky - flying freely.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are like me and are constantly seaching for good epic fantasies and have already read all the greats (see above) and are looking for new series, you might like The Stormlight Archives: The way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, The King Killer Chronicles: The name of the wind (#1), The Wise Man's Fear (#2) by Patrick Rothfuss, Old Man's War by John Scalzi - I really loved the light-hearted and extremely entertaining nature of this book - you may like it. I recently read a series by Elizabeth Moon that I truly enjoyed - the first book in the series was Trading in Danger, then Marque and Reprisal - and so forth.

    For a long time, I would see L.E. Modesitt Jr's book: Imager on Audible and ignore it. I even read the reviews and was not very impressed. When I ran out of books that immediately grabbed my attention, I decided to give it a try - although it started out dry, I did not regret reading it at all. In fact, the story was continued recently in an interesting way - L.E. decided to go back a few hundred years to tell the origins of what is written in the series. It was very interesting. There are a lot more books that I have to share, but hopefully the above will keep you occupied for a while.

    Now, although I enjoyed the above books to one degree or another, please note that everything truly isn't for everyone. Please read other reviewer's comments on the above books if you decide to try them. If there are any good series you have read, please pass them along. Thank you.

    26 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Josie Australia 06-02-12
    Josie Australia 06-02-12 Member Since 2009

    Hi there All, I am a 63 going on 64 year old woman, I have just gone blind so I am so glad to know about Audible. I love it.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
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    37
    14
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    Story
    "I did not want it to end!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would and have recommended this book to a friend,
    I could do nothing less. I was so excited when I began this book, and it just got more and more exciting as I read it through to the end. Being blind, I was so grateful for the dynamic descriptions all through the book, I could almost see the characters myself, which is not often so in other books. I could also feel the thrill of stretching my wings and flying over a completely new world. I am now searching for other audio books by Martha Wells, to see if this lovely feeling goes on in her other books.


    What other book might you compare The Cloud Roads to and why?

    I can honestly say that The Cloud Roads, is like no other book I have read and I read a lot of books. It seems unique in it's story line, and it keeps you caught up in the story until sadly the end sneaks up on you.


    Have you listened to any of Christopher Kipiniak’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No I am sorry to say I have not heard Christopher Kipiniak in a book before, but I shall sure be looking for his name from now on. He brings this book to life for me, I can imagine he will do the same in another book as well.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Have you ever wanted to fly using your own wings? This is as close as you will ever get.


    Any additional comments?

    I have just gotten the next book in this series, and I can hardly wait to see if it keeps me as enthralled as this one did.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Josiah Modesto, CA 12-27-11
    Josiah Modesto, CA 12-27-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    113
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    139
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    24
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting read"
    What did you love best about The Cloud Roads?

    This book is an interesting read - it doesn't rise to the greats (The Wheel of Time, A song of Ice and fire, etc) but it is engaging. It kept my interest and at the end, I wanted to know what happened next. It makes me wonder if this is a stand alone book or part of a series.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This story gave me an opportunity to imagine how it would be if men had wings and could fly. It gave me a good opportunity to share in the character's delight in flight, and to imagine myself out there in the sky - flying freely.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are like me and are constantly seaching for good epic fantasies and have already read all the greats (see above) and are looking for new series, you might like The Stormlight Archives: The way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, The King Killer Chronicles: The name of the wind (#1), The Wise Man's Fear (#2) by Patrick Rothfuss, Old Man's War by John Scalzi - I really loved the light-hearted and extremely entertaining nature of this book - you may like it. I recently read a series by Elizabeth Moon that I truly enjoyed - the first book in the series was Trading in Danger, then Marque and Reprisal - and so forth.

    For a long time, I would see L.E. Modesitt Jr's book: Imager on Audible and ignore it. I even read the reviews and was not very impressed. When I ran out of books that immediately grabbed my attention, I decided to give it a try - although it started out dry, I did not regret reading it at all. In fact, the story was continued recently in an interesting way - L.E. decided to go back a few hundred years to tell the origins of what is written in the series. It was very interesting. There are a lot more books that I have to share, but hopefully the above will keep you occupied for a while.

    Now, although I enjoyed the above books to one degree or another, please note that everything truly isn't for everyone. Please read other reviewer's comments on the above books if you decide to try them. If there are any good series you have read, please pass them along. Thank you.

    23 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Houston, TX, United States 06-22-13
    David Houston, TX, United States 06-22-13 Member Since 2008

    Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving. Love the reviews.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very original but flawed"

    There is a lot to like in this opening book in a trilogy, but a few troublesome weaknesses bothered me enough so that I probably will not go on to the second book.

    The great strength of the book is the originality of its cast of races and characters. Wells has done a wonderful job of creating a world which feels fresh in this regard and makes us curious. She reveals it effectively with description which is richly evocative but never excessive or showy. As a result, the book is a nice journey of discovery--always a pleasure for a fantasy fan. Even the central conflict of the book is inventive and surprising, and the plot evolves in unexpected directions at several points. She also manages to give us an ending which is both satisfying and a good foundation for further development in the second book.

    Given all of that, I still had trouble losing myself in the book. I found the interplay between the characters predictable and repetitive even when the grand sweep of the story was not, and they seldom surprised me in any way. I also found myself confused by the array of minor characters with interchangeable, one syllable names who were never developed quite enough to stick vividly in the mind. In addition, while the author's handling of crisis and action were excellent, the story lagged a good deal in several places and I found myself murmuring, "Get on with it, already."

    Finally, and here it would seem I am a rare exception, I was not delighted by Chris Kipiniak's reading. His voice is rich and quite beautiful, and he worked hard to delineate character voices clearly, but I found his women a little squeaky or raspy and hard to listen to or believe.

    This is a very near miss for me, but I have a long list of wonderful books waiting, and this one did not quite make the cut. I am clearly in the minority, and I think you probably would not find it was a waste of your credit to try it and decide for yourself.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sasha Santa Cruz, CA, United States 11-11-11
    Sasha Santa Cruz, CA, United States 11-11-11 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
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    9
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    "An Original World"

    The three worlds of The Cloud Roads, Air, Earth and Sea are some of the most original in recent fantasy fiction.

    Moon, is a shape shiftier who was orphaned early and separated from his own species lives among "groundling" tribes... until they discover his secret and kick him out.

    Moon's struggle to come to terms with his past and future, along with the three worlds he inhabits is well written and engrossing, holding the listeners attention and leaving them waiting impatiently for the sequel.

    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teresa PORTALES, NM, United States 04-01-14
    Teresa PORTALES, NM, United States 04-01-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    2
    2
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    "Out of this world experience!!!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Cloud Roads the most enjoyable?

    Being in a different world with colorful beings and flying people!


    What did you like best about this story?

    How hard it is to find out who you are and the struggles of fitting in when you do!


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The scenes when Grandfather Stone hits Moon upside the head for all his dumb questions!!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The whole series is great!


    Any additional comments?

    This is a awesome series!! A fantasy trip worth the taking. I have already listened to the series three times and can not wait for the next book!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy Washington, MO, United States 03-24-14
    Amy Washington, MO, United States 03-24-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    3
    3
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    0
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    "Thrilling, enchanting, occasionally a bit creepy"

    This book draws you into a gorgeous world, with characters who are intensely relateable despite not being human. The villains are wonderfully creepy and the plot is fun and engaging. Overall unique and memorable.

    Narrator does a great job as well.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shanna A Arizona 05-06-13
    Shanna A Arizona 05-06-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    1
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    0
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    "Starts a little slow, but worth the ramp up time!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    What can I say? The main character can fly! The descriptions spark your imagination, but aren't overly wordy. Great for a weekend road trip. :)


    What did you like best about this story?

    The thought that went into the creatures/culture at the heart of the story, and how down to earth most of them are. The descriptions of the world and its various regions/inhabitants are great too. Floating islands, flying boats, giant predators...lots of fun things.


    Which character – as performed by Christopher Kipiniak – was your favorite?

    I loved Stone, Chime, Flower and Celis.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Several, but no spoilers from me - sorry!


    Any additional comments?

    Will definitely be looking into other books by this author in the future.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anna Perris, CA, United States 09-03-12
    Anna Perris, CA, United States 09-03-12 Member Since 2011

    Reading Mama

    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
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    31
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    "Very Interesting Creatures"

    I have enjoyed listening to this audio book, the creatures are very interesting and unique, I have never come across this type before. A welcome change to the urban fantasy so popular these days. The reader is alright, though his female voices are a bit funny to listen too. He seems to use the same type of voice when the character is described to be of small stature, but not off putting to the enjoyment of the storyline. I will continue with the series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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