My first book of 2019 was The Cloud Roads
, which was a reread for me. I've declared 2019 the year I reread books without shame so I can catch up on all the series I'm following. The Cloud Roads
is about polyamorous cuddle murder dragons fighting some chompy murder dragons with a side of dark secrets, biological warfare, and navigating complicated relationships in a very specific hierarchy where the rules are invisible because just like you, dear reader, our Hero is an Lone Outsider.
Many of us love Martha Wells for her excellent stories about Murderbot in the Murderbot Diaries
. Having read all of those and The Cloud Roads
, so far what I'm getting is that Martha Wells likes to write stories about sulky people who are resentful that they aren't immune to needing companionship and figuring out how they get to a place where they can accept it. The Cloud Roads
is about Moon, a lone shape-shifter who is often mistaken as one of the evil Fell and thrown out of the groundling settlements he's been trying to belong to since the rest of his family was killed.
That all changes when he meets another cuddle murder dragon called Stone, but accepting Stone's offer to travel to the Court of Indigo Cloud to meet Moon's people—the Raksura—comes with six heaping bags of shenanigans from both inside (Salty Queens) and outside (chompy murder dragons).
The main draw for me in this series is the relationships, because there's a lot of neat power dynamics and potentially legit poly representation in later books. Although, this book doesn't shy away from mentioning poly sexual relationships and is solid "I don't know him" about toxic masculinity, leaving most of that to the Queens of the Court. Refreshing and novel! I have high hopes for later books and the relationships that Moon chooses for himself.
Maybe you've been sleeping on Martha Wells and her secondary world fantasy, or have finished Murderbot's adventures and are looking for the next place to go. Spending some time with the Raksura should be on your list. If you like disgruntled protagonists, shape-shifters, cuddling among pals, murder-via-poisoned-ally, and reading about the heroes eating raw animals, The Cloud Roads
may be for you! Please join me in reading about the poly cuddle murder dragons.