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Publisher's Summary

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 mountain-sized tree, they discover a blight infecting its core. Nearby they find the remains of the invaders who may be responsible, as well as evidence of a devastating theft. This discovery sends Moon and the hunters of Indigo Cloud on a quest for the heartstone of the tree - a quest that will lead them far away, across the Serpent Sea.

In this followup to The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells returns with a world-spanning odyssey, a mystery that only provokes more questions and the adventure of a lifetime.

Also listen to the first book, The Cloud Roads.
©2012 Martha Wells (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Wells… spins an exciting adventure around an alien hero who anyone can identify with." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • Magdalena
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 04-14-14

Wow - An original universe

Martha Wells world is exciting, beautiful and intriguing. Christopher Kipiniak makes the story come to life. His performance in this and the next two books make for some exciting Sci Fi and Fantasy that is like nothing else to which I have listened. A+ to the entire series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jessy
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 04-25-12

A different type of fantasy.



So, I went into this series not expecting much at all. To be honest, I was expecting something written badly but I was pleasantly surprised. So here we go:

-At first, I did not like the narrator and thought his voices where corny, but he grew on me and I ended up enjoying him

- The book was actually pretty clever and overall, it was very different from other things I have read.

- I feel that there needs to be more to this series, it does not seem to have an end. This is a good thing!

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Still Completely Enthralled With This World

Readers are introduced to the Raksura in The Cloud Roads, a shapeshifting race that possess both a draconic form and a groundling form. They are a matriarchal race of people with complex court laws. In this story, we meet Moon, a Raksura who's spent most of his years living among groundlings after the destruction of his court when he was a young child. Because of Moon's ignorance of much of the Raksuran mores, following him through this book is perfect. The readers experience the world as Moon experiences it, learning as he learns, which means that nothing feels like filler.

Book 2 picks up almost immediately after The Cloud Roads. After an attack on the colony, the Cloud Indigo court moves back to the place where their lineage started, a mountain-tree nestled in the forest. Upon arriving there, they soon find out that the tree is dying because its heartseed has been stolen. This leads them to seek out the assistance of another Raksuran court. The neighboring court is unable to provide them with another seed. However, they are able to help the colony scry for their missing seed which leads Moon on a dash to retrieve it.

I am still charmed by this story of the Raksura and the world they live in. Wells introduces new and fascinating races such as the waterlings in this installment, continuing this flair that feels fresh and original. Raksuran politics continue to be a complex weave of laws. While in-fighting was common in the last book, in this book, they have to contend with another court, which sheds even more light on how Raksura are expected to behave with one another. Readers learn how tenuous the ties between various courts can be and how the smallest things can be perceived as insults and power plays to force a rival's hand.

I appreciate that Moon is still learning and still wary, even though he is now the consort to the sister-queen of Cloud Indigo. Readers are allowed to continue this journey with Moon as he shares his uncertainties, triumphs, and losses. There are always new things for him to learn. He doesn't automatically want to know everything about Raksuran politics. In fact, much of the culture makes him uncomfortable. He concedes that he should be learning things about the court, but he continues to live outside their societal norms for a consort. It doesn't help that the mentor-like person who brought him to the court is allowed the freedom to do as he pleases due to his age, which Moon is emulating in his own way. Moon becomes very aware of how he differs from other consorts when visiting the neighboring court. Where Moon is quick to protect what is his, he finds that other consorts are little more than arm decoration. Moon has never lived a pampered, spoiled life, and he doesn't intend to start living one (but he does give a little when it really counts).

Wells also introduced more magic into this world. There are tastes of it in the first book via the mentor-caste in the Raksuran court who can heal, have visions, and perform augury (more like divination/scrying than reading omens due to birds' flight patterns). In this book, groundling magic is introduced, especially as one character struggles with the fact that he's no longer a mentor but is starting to exhibit strange powers more like groundling magic. However, the magic in this world is subtle and downplayed, and it never detracts from the Raksura who are the heart of this story.

Chris Kipiniak continues to narrate this series, and I don't think there's anything that I can say about his narration that I haven't said in my review of The Cloud Roads. His characterization of Stone and Moon continues to be two of my favorite voices in the series.

I enjoyed this book maybe only slightly less than the first. There's a bigger spot in my heart for the first one. Maybe because of the way it completely enthralled me with this new setting and characters, but this book is a fitting continuation of the story that balances politics, action, and story in the world the Raksura inhabit. A part of me wishes I'd read these books sooner, but another part of me is glad that I started later, as there is plenty more for me to read and I don't have to anxiously await a next book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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So Brilliant - We are left breathless

What did you love best about The Serpent Sea?

The characters - real, earthy, detailed, ironic, a culture come alive

What did you like best about this story?

Everything has consequence. You could feel the impact on a culture with a different physiology.

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

This was a stunning performance by someone who truly understood the author's intent. He "got it."

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

The whole family inhaled the book.

Any additional comments?

Give us more!!!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Bob-o
  • CHARLESTON, SC, United States
  • 08-23-12

Great fantasy lit!

The first book is better, as this one is a little predictable, but it's quite original at the same time

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Best Science Fiction I've Ever Read!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Serpent Sea to be better than the print version?

I'm not sure. I have only purchased the audio edition.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved Moon's adventure and his character growth from visiting the neighboring court with genuine Consorts to his internal struggle with himself as he must work alongside another solitary. The entire book is filled with adventure, and Moon is finally learning to accept himself for who he is and find a home with Indigo-Cloud and Jade!

Which scene was your favorite?

My favorite scene is the one in which Moon confronts the solitary, Rift about his murder and lies. He finally realizes that he is not the same person as the latter.

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

The death of Flower really made me sad! It was really unexpected...

Any additional comments?

I recommend this book to everyone! I have never been a big Science Fiction fan, and I was surprised to find how much I love this book! The characters are relatable and not over the top perfect in beauty or character, this is especially true for the main character, Moon. It is a book that you don't want to turn off!

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Great book, I would highly recommend it

This second book in the series is just as good as the first one. The author has a great ability to take animal behavior and intertwine it with human society. The characters are well-thought out and the book keeps you interested all the way through. Can't wait for the next one.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Joyce
  • Westford, MA, United States
  • 07-10-12

I didn't want it to end!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Enjoyed all of the well-developed characters thoroughly.

Which scene was your favorite?

Picturing the Island where the "floating ships" were....beautiful scenery come alive with words.

Any additional comments?

Again, I'll say I was sad to hear the end of this second book. I use audio books for commuting and there were many times I wished I could have sat in my car and listened longer!

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Want More !

As Moon helps his new found friends search for a very important piece of their heritage, Moon faces internal as well as external issues in his personal values with all the new peoples he meets. Wish this weren't the end as it seems, such a good story !

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Great follow up to book 1

Loved the follow up. Moon is hilarious and sardonic, Stone the perfect line father, Jade is coming into her own and each character more fleshed out woth each adventure. Can't wait for more.

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  • emmoff
  • 11-25-16

Book Two is a winner - Martha Wells rocks!

Book two in The Books of the Raksura series expands on the rich and inventive world that Martha Wells has created. The inter-personal relationships in the Queen dominated, but collective culture, of the shape-shifting Raksura is fascinating. Moon, the solitary outsider, alone for so long and now struggling to learn his society and significant role in it, is moving and very well done. The supporting characters are more developed and we meet more of the varied races on this world.

I love this series because it is original, imaginative, has a very large heart, lots of action and is very well written. And hello... there are shape-shifters!!!

Great narration by Christopher Kipiniak.

Highly recommended.