Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review: The Cloud Roads, Volume One of the Books of the Raksura

Moon is a shapeshifter, a man lost, without people, without identity.  He has spent his whole life hiding his true form, a creature of flight.  Orphaned at a young age, Moon does not know his purpose.  His whole life he has craved companionship and acceptance, trying to live among the 'groundlings' until they discover what he is and throw him out of the tribe.

Staked to the ground to die, Moon is rescued by Stone, another shapeshifter just like him and together they set off to a distant place where there are many of his kin.  Curious and frightened at the same time, Stone and Moon make their way back to Stone's home, Indigo Court, where he meets opposition at every turn.

Moon soon finds out that his extraordinary lineage is crucial for the colony's survival, survival that will be challenged by the world's nemesis called the Fell.

Moon is faced with a tough decision, flee the terror that approaches, or fight a lifetime of conditioning in order to save himself and his newfound kin.
The Cloud Roads is the first installment of the Books of Raksura series.  The second book "The Serpent Sea" is currently on the bookshelves since January 2012. Sources state that she is currently working on the third installment - details to follow.


  1. Depth of Characters:  Even though all the characters in were very likable and had very sympathetic qualities, they still did not exhibit the qualities that make the characters great.  I even have to say that Moon was a shallow character.  When the fell were finally introduced, the author still did not take the time to more than describe them and off we went.  They seemed terrifying, but I did not get that 'c'mon and kill them already' feeling.  The personality of the main characters were blas√© at best, even though the novel was busy, there seemed to be no distinctness to them. The characters were constantly at odd with each other and instead of talking about it, they either hissed at each other, or beat the snot out of each other.
  2. Conflict Resolution:  There were many conflicts in the story:  the fell attacking the colony, Moon's attitude towards the colony and Stone, and the 'romance' between Moon and Jade, the colony's problem with breeding and the list goes on.  The conflicts were resolved too quickly.  Moon's attitude towards the colony is at best distant and he talks throughout the novel about leaving, yet time and time again, he goes to bat for them and takes a licking is just an example.  Another one could be the problems the colony were having with survival of the progeny.  Generations go by and no one can tell what is going on, clutches(groups of baby Raksura) are dying unexplainably, yet one week after Moon shows up, PRESTO CHANGO, the colony is cured.


  1. Simplicity:  I love how simple this book actually is.  The villains, the writing and the plot is not overly complex, yet the author paints wonderful imagery of a complex world with flying colours.  With the Cordans, the Raksura, the Air Island people, as well as the Fell, the novel does does justice to the world the author paints.  It does not have the depth of the Lord of the Rings in terms of descriptions of the hobbits.  She could have added more about courtship rituals between queens and consorts in the novel. Most novels that are so simple, tend to fall apart, but the author does a wonderful job of bringing both simplicity and complexity together harmoniously in the story.
  2. Storyline:  It is a great fantasy book.  It does what it is supposed to do, which is to transport you to a world that is not only different from your own, but completely unique in its design.  We cannot help but fall in love with the main character an root for him the whole way through the novel.  There is good versus evil and throughout the novel, you want to see justice prevail; not only for Moon, but for the rest of the colony also.

Final Thoughts

The Cloud Roads was a great novel, an easy novel to read.  I was absorbed after the first couple of chapters(the start is a little slow and useless), but the remainder of the novel was engaging and entertaining.  Due to the prevalent nature of good versus evil, it is not hard to want the main character to find all the happiness that is due to him.  He is a distant character, but well meaning.  The world has so much potential, that developing this world for the Dungeons & Dragons would be such a rewarding pursuit, cause it is just that cool.


Burst 4/5

Other novels from the same author:

Stand Alone Novels
  • City of Bones (1995)
  • Wheel of the Infinite (2000)
Fall of Ile-Rien Trilogy
  • The Wizard Hunters (2003)
  • The Ships of Air (2004)
  • The Gate of Gods (2005)
Books of the Raksura
  • The Cloud Roads (2011)
  • The Serpent Sea (2012)