The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells. ★★★★
The Cloud Roads was a very satisfying, original fantasy story. The world Wells’ has created is completely fantastical and doesn’t at all have the standard castles and knights feel. For one, there’s not a single human character. The world completely populated by well developed non-humans of dazzlingly variety. Not only that, but it really has a sense of history to it, like it extends beyond the story on the page.
The protagonist, Moon, is a Raksura, a shape-shifting species who has a winged form. He’s an orphan who’s never known anything about his culture or people. Instead, he tries to fit in among the other species but is always forced to move on.
Until one day, just as he’s being kicked out of the latest village, he finds another shape shifter like him, Stone, who wants to take him to a settlement of Raksura. Moon is wary of the offer, but he goes along and finds out that Stone wasn’t telling him everything….
I didn’t have any major problems with this book, but I never became attached to any of the characters and had some problems distinguishing the minor ones. Don’t get me wrong – the main characters were perfectly companionable, it’s just that I’m likely to forget them in a couple weeks time. What I’ll remember about the book is the phenomenal world building.
I’m certainly recommending this one though. If you’re a fantasy fan looking for something different, The Cloud Roads is the book for you.