Jul 16
2014

Publishers Weekly on Stories of the Raksura, Vol. 1 by Martha Wells

wells-storiesofraksuravol1Stories of the Raksura, Volume 1: The Falling World and the Tale of Indigo and Cloud by Martha Wells

Two novellas and two short stories expand the setting of Wells’s dreamlike fantasy novels. In “The Falling World,” a vanished envoy triggers a diplomatic crisis between two courts, and investigation reveals a long-forgotten tragedy. “The Tale of Indigo and Cloud” sets two queens against each other, with an unhappy consort as the prize. Familiar characters appear in “The Forest Boy,” a prequel to The Cloud Roads that examines a brief encounter between Moon and forest dwellers, and “Adaptation,” in which Chime deals with an unwanted transformation and its disquieting implications. Wells is adept at suggesting a long, complex history for her world with economy, and, while her protagonists may not be human as we understand it, they are definitely people, sympathetic figures constrained but not defeated by their environments. Longtime fans and new readers alike will enjoy Wells’s deft touch with characterization and the fantastic. — Publishers Weekly

Apr 22
2013

Wells YA debut garners Kirkus Starred review

wells-emilie1Emilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells

Running away from home never sounded so good, especially when it involves stowing away on a ritzy, cloaked-in-magic ship. Under the conservative tyranny of guardians who are convinced she’ll become a harlot, 16-year-old Emilie decides it’s time to run away. Inspired by her cherished serial adventure books, she delights in the romance of escape—until she forms blisters, gets hungry and, after spending too much on snacks, can’t afford the ferry ticket to reach her cousin’s home. There’s only one logical thing to do: jump off the docks, swim to the nearest boat and hope for the best. After boarding what she hopes is the right ship, she witnesses a pirate attack, saves a scaled man and watches as a merging of magic and science transports the ship to a legendary world within a world. Competing explorers, a cunning mer-queen regnant, more than one dirigible and plenty of well-aimed punches make for an adventure that would titillate Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Though Emilie’s homeland of Menea is fictional, it has all the makings of Victorian England. As in the Victorian era, sexism is prevalent, but that doesn’t stop a roster of ripsnorting female characters (first among them Emilie) from wielding pistols, captaining ships and slyly defeating enemies. At one point, after escaping a prison cell, Emilie thinks, “If I’d known it was going to be that hard, I’d never have tried,” a phrase that embodies the honesty and humor that make this read worthwhile. A swashbuckling escape for avid readers that trades buttoned-up boundaries for unbridled adventure. –Kirkus, Starred Review

Mar 1
2011

Starred PW review for new Martha Wells

The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

Moon’s world is populated by many different intelligent species (none of them human), and he has never known which one he belongs to. Orphaned at a young age, he’s wandered from tribe to tribe, hiding a dangerous secret. Like the universally hated Fell, whose only aims are slaughter and conquest, Moon can fly–which leads to predictably violent cases of mistaken identity. When he does find his own people, the Raksura, life doesn’t get any easier, since their internal politics are vicious, and they too are in imminent danger from the Fell. Cue hairsbreadth escapes and feats of derring-do, as Moon helps his new family evacuate their doomed colony and then rescues a group of kidnapped children. Wells (The Gate of Gods) merrily ignores genre conventions as she spins an exciting adventure around an alien hero who anyone can identify with. –Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

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