The Edge of Worlds by Martha Wells

“The author Martha Wells, who trained as an anthropologist, has previously brought readers to this verdant fantasy realm via a trilogy and a series of shorter stories, but THE EDGE OF WORLDS marks the start of a new saga in the Books of the Raksura.

The venerated pulp spirit in science fiction and fantasy has dwindled since the golden age of the 1920s to ’50s. Yet an atavistic craving for adventure remains, and it is this need that Wells’s books in general and the Raksura books in particular satisfy. The stories are straightforward adventure, but what makes Wells’s “new pulp” feel fresh is its refusal to take the easier storytelling routes of its forebears. Rather than thinly veil an existing human society as alien others, for example, Wells — a master world builder — creates a multicultural world of humanized monsters. Rather than caricature anyone who isn’t white and male, as pulp too often did, Wells casually includes characters like Shade, a pampered princess among his people who looks like a white man but can transform into a huge polyamorous humanoid dragon. This is characteristic of the series.

The result is breathtakingly surprising and fun. So for readers who missed earlier entry points to this delightful series, now is the time to get on board.” — New York Times Book Review