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Death by Books

Like you (I assume) I like books. I used to read fantasy exclusively, but these days I've branched out to pick up the occasional mystery, YA or steampunk novel. I also love to read about the art of writing and use that to improve my skills in my own work.
The Cloud Roads - Martha Wells While I ended up not hating this book, I still feel it is not nearly as good as what I'm used to from Ms. Wells. The good guys are a race of shifters made up of two primary peoples, ones that have wings and ones that don't. They have different tasks within their culture based on their racial abilities. The females are generally larger and stronger than the males, though that doesn't seem to be a significant factor in how they treat one another. The main character is a "consort", a fertile male which the queens like to claim as mates. The males do seem to have some say in the matter, but the queens can exert powers over them to force the issue if they truly desire.

For the most part they are a reptilian-like race that can shift to "groundling" form, which is a human form. Why they do this isn't really explained and the manner of shifting is odd as it's a blurring and then ta-dah! They're changed. The reptilian form is much larger, and as they get older their size increases quite a bit. Their human form doesn't seem to change in the same way - simply aging like a human would with grey hair and such. I never really got used to this idea of altering size and mass significantly, but it seems she wanted to use it to suit her plot, and didn't worry too much about how much sense it made. It's "magic" was pretty much how we the reader are supposed to accept this.

Moon's personality bothered me a bit too. He's very aggressive in most cases, a great fighter, and independent. However, when he is in a intimate relationship with Jade (a young queen) he is very docile. When he gets hurt she scoops him up like a child and carries him, and I found his shift from warrior to delicate house-boy bothersome.

Despite these problems I did like that Ms. Wells made an attempt to create a unique race with an interesting culture. The villains (The Fell) are obviously related to our hero race in same way, and that adds tension and mystery to the setting. I'm assuming that the next two books will explore that further. At this time I'm not certain whether I will read the next two books or not - we'll have to see.