The Edge of Worlds by Martha Wells. ★★★★
The Edge of Worlds is the fourth book in Martha Well’s amazingly inventive Raksura series, which starts with The Cloud Roads. This is a world without humans, and most of the cast are scaled shape shifters. I would suggest starting from the beginning of the series, to get better handle on the wide number of characters making an appearance in The Edge of Worlds.
The story opens with everyone in Indigo Cloud sharing a dream of the Fell attacking the court. When a sky-ship of strange groundlings arrive, looking for raksura to accompany them to an ancient city, the court realizes that this may be the key to preventing the danger foreseen by the dream.
Over the last three books, I’ve really grown to love this series, more so than I could possibly have imagined when I first read The Cloud Roads. At this point I’m just so fond of these characters. The issues I had early on with remembering who is who have mostly vanished, although I will still occasionally mix up the names of some of the minor characters. Now there’s so many I love, from Moon and Jade, to Chime and Stone, to Shade and Malachite.
If you’ve ever heard me talk about this series before, it’s probably involved me singing praises to the world building. The Three Worlds is unlike any other fantasy world I’ve ever encountered. It’s wildly imaginative and beautifully depicted.
The actual plot line of The Edge of Worlds did drag some, particularly since it involved so much traveling from Point A to Point B. I also want to note that the story doesn’t wrap up within this book and that the ending was left wide open for a sequel. But the reason I read these books is for the world and characters, who had some pretty good dialog in this installment:
“We could kill them,” Stone suggested, not helpfully.
It would have been a tense moment, except Heart sighed impatiently and said, “Like-grandfather, not in front of company.”
Delin lifted a hand. “I know Stone is merely stimulating discussion.”
Pearl eyed Stone and lifted her spines. “Perhaps Stone could stop doing that.”
I wouldn’t suggest The Edge of Worlds as a start to the series (I think you need to be familiar with the characters going in), but I think those who are already fans of the raksura will enjoy it. And if you’ve never had the pleasure of venturing into the Three Worlds, I highly suggest The Cloud Roads.