‘The Cloud Roads’ Book Review

Mount Readmore Book Review, 2018 83/200


The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

Paperback Edition

Finished on 5/30/2018



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.

Genres: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Adventure

 A man struggles to find his place in the world

Spoiler-ific review

Moon is a flying shape-shifter, and the only survivor of his species. Living alone with villagers of a ground-bound species, he struggles to keep his shape shifting nature hidden from those around him. In this world there is another shape-shifting species which also flies- the nefarious Fell. Whenever Moon’s dual nature is discovered he inevitably is kicked out of whatever village has taken him in as they mistake him for Fell. But then he’s discovered by another member of his dying species- the shapeshifting Raksura- and brought in out of the cold.

I liked the clear and easy prose the author used. It was, for the most part, invisible, providing an easy read.

The characters are all well defined. Moon constantly acts cautiously, except when he’s backed into a corner and gets his ire up. Stone acts like a loving old Grandpa, who’s not afraid of punching you in your face if you screw up.

That said, I skimmed a lot of this. I didn’t relate with any of the characters, really. This book takes place on a planet with a lot of humanoid species, but no humans. I, as a human, have suddenly realized that I empathize with my shared humanity I have with most book protagonists. I don’t necessarily need a human protagonist, but I need at least a plotline I can empathize with on a personal level. In the end this book’s plot and setting were so otherworldly that I had too little to latch onto.

This was a good book. While it did not click for me, I think it would click for a lot of other people. I personally had trouble latching onto the unearthly characters and plot, but for a lot of other peoples that would be a feature and not a bug. It was easy reading, which was nice.

Recommended if you want to read about an entirely non-human cast fighting for territory/mates with a rival species. It was a story well told.

Stay Sunny!


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