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..Show More » 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.
Martha Wells world is exciting, beautiful and intriguing. Christopher Kipiniak makes the story come to life. His performance in this and the next tw..Show More »o books make for some exciting Sci Fi and Fantasy that is like nothing else to which I have listened. A+ to the entire series.
I have recommended and will continue to recommend The Tales of the Raksura series but no one listens to me. Just in case, though... If you are looking..Show More » for a series of fantasy novels that defy Tolkien-true tropes, this series for you. Set in the Three Worlds, a world whose geography and inhabitants are almost wholly unfamiliar from our own, Martha Wells' flying dragon shifters are so familiar to us because of their humanity. I love this series wholeheartedly. Start with The Could Roads. Our hero, Moon, doesn't even know what he is or where he's from. That's wonderful for the reader because we get to know the Raksura and the Three Worlds as Moon searches for a place to call home. Then, in the second novel, The Serpent Seas, Moon and members of the Indigo Cloud court have to fight to make their home safe and secure. This third novel very satisfactorily answers our remaining questions about who Moon really is and where he's from. It's lovely how the author turns traditional gender roles around and then has her characters subvert them some more. Brilliant.
I've listened to two of the current three novel series (which I mildly regret, for there were spoilers for BK 3: Siren's D..Show More »epths, in the first short) and I found that these short stories held my interest more consistently than either of those novels.
The first short, The Falling World, was my least favorite for this reason. It was long enough to suffer from novel-like pacing and had a conflict that felt like a mediocre Dr. Who episode.
The second, The Tale of Indigo and Cloud, was my favorite. Set in the court's past, which seemed cheery and upbeat when compared to the presently stiff court. This difference in emotional tone was likely a heavy point in its favor after hundreds of pages of reserved dialogue from Moon, Stone, and Jade. I enjoyed the cast of characters as well. I even listened to it again after I finished the collection.
I found the Forest Boy to be equal parts cute and eye rolling cliche. I enjoyed it in the end. You can't really dislike a childhood Moon.
I was skeptical about the last one once I realized what it would be about, but enjoyed it as well.
Either I was enjoying myself too much to notice or the narrator was enjoying himself as well and did a better reading because of it. The narrator was not what I wished in the novels, but after the first story in this collection, I don't remember any odd and distracting pauses that seemed to fill the novels.