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The Edge of Worlds

The Edge of Worlds, April 2016
Books of the Raksura #4
by Martha Wells

Night Shade Books
ISBN: 1597808431
EAN: 9781597808439
Kindle: B01B6FJOOA
Paperback / e-Book
Add to Wish List


"More Raksura tales from the Nebula winning author"

Fresh Fiction Review

The Edge of Worlds
Martha Wells

Reviewed by Clare O'Beara
Posted July 6, 2018

Science Fiction | Fantasy

Fourth in the stunning fantasy series The Books of the Raksura is another world-spanning creation about the shapeshifting flying lizard people. Moon was a wandering feral lad with no home, but he has been admitted to the Indigo Cloud Court of Raksura and become consort to their queen Jade. Their first clutch of five is happily growing scales and feathers. But the jungle folks are about to be visited by outsiders.

THE EDGE OF WORLDS refers to the divide between forest and sea, where a lizard's sharp claws are useless with no tree bark to climb, and unknown predators lurk beneath the water. All the adult Raksura are on edge, expecting an attack by their distant relatives, the destructive Fell. But the people who approach them are instead groundlings they don't really know yet, people who use backpacks to help them fly. These folks, using a mutual friend Delin, want information and aid in their quest for an ocean island with a secret. The Raksura fear that something might be unleashed if they find the island, but the Fell are looking for it, too.

In my previous reading about the Raksura I was amazed by how Martha Wells had envisioned her shapeshifting people and their forest home. Now she introduces new races, including one descended from sealings, which we'd call selkies... two kinds, the deep water and the shallow water, which can breathe air. To these people, the Raksura are the exotic strangers. Flying lizards build entire multi-storey towns, tea plantations and farms in the treescapes, hunting for food or to kill off predators. With societal strata, the Aeriat and the Arbora, as well as sterile warriors, and with physical traits like ruffs, claws on all four feet, fur, wings, scales, this is a race not always easy to negotiate with. Oh, and they can use some magic.

Moon is torn between loyalties. His queen Jade is going with the groundlings in their flying boat. He can go with her well-armed party, or stay to care for his fledglings. He chooses Jade. Through Moon's journey we follow the adventure, with its risks, suspicions, and aerial combat. THE EDGE OF WORLDS is another addictive read.

Winner of the Nebula and Locus Awards, including a Nebula for best novella this year, Martha Wells has many books and short stories to her credit. Her talent lies in making the non-human feel human and relatable. She also has a real eye for descriptive touches, so that her worlds are immersive and tangible. This Texan author has crossed many boundaries with her works, both sci-fi and fantasy, and is supportive of other writers. I hope she finds a few more boundaries to cross.

Learn more about The Edge of Worlds


An expedition of groundlings from the Empire of Kish have traveled through the Three Worlds to the Indigo Cloud court of the Raksura, shape-shifting creatures of flight that live in large family groups. The groundlings have found a sealed ancient city at the edge of the shallow seas, near the deeps of the impassable Ocean. They believe it to be the last home of their ancestors and ask for help getting inside. But the Raksura fear it was built by their own distant ancestors, the Forerunners, and the last sealed Forerunner city they encountered was a prison for an unstoppable evil.

Prior to the groundlings’ arrival, the Indigo Cloud court had been plagued by visions of a disaster that could destroy all the courts in the Reaches. Now, the court’s mentors believe the ancient city is connected to the foretold danger. A small group of warriors, including consort Moon, an orphan new to the colony and the Raksura’s idea of family, and sister queen Jade, agree to go with the groundling expedition to investigate. But the predatory Fell have found the city too, and in the race to keep the danger contained, the Raksura may be the ones who inadvertently release it.

The Edge of Worlds, from celebrated fantasy author Martha Wells, returns to the fascinating world of The Cloud Roads for the first book in a new series of strange lands, uncanny beings, dead cities, and ancient danger.

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