Moon, once a solitary wanderer, has become consort to Jade, sister queen of the Indigo Cloud court. Together, they travel with their people on a pair of flying ships in hopes of finding a new home for their colony. Moon finally feels like he's found a tribe where he belongs. But when the travelers reach the ancestral home of Indigo Cloud, shrouded within the trunk of a mountain-sized tree, they discover a blight infecting its core. Nearby they find the remains of the invaders who may be responsible, as well as evidence of a devastating theft. This discovery sends Moon and the hunters of Indigo Cloud on a quest for the heartstone of the tree - a quest that will lead them far away, across the Serpent Sea.
In this followup to The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells returns with a world-spanning odyssey, a mystery that only provokes more questions and the adventure of a lifetime.
Also listen to the first book, The Cloud Roads.
©2012 Martha Wells (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Wells... spins an exciting adventure around an alien hero who anyone can identify with." (Publishers Weekly)
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"Wow - An original universe"
Martha Wells world is exciting, beautiful and intriguing. Christopher Kipiniak makes the story come to life. His performance in this and the next two books make for some exciting Sci Fi and Fantasy that is like nothing else to which I have listened. A+ to the entire series.
"A different type of fantasy."
So, I went into this series not expecting much at all. To be honest, I was expecting something written badly but I was pleasantly surprised. So here we go:
-At first, I did not like the narrator and thought his voices where corny, but he grew on me and I ended up enjoying him
- The book was actually pretty clever and overall, it was very different from other things I have read.
- I feel that there needs to be more to this series, it does not seem to have an end. This is a good thing!
"Still Completely Enthralled With This World"
Readers are introduced to the Raksura in The Cloud Roads, a shapeshifting race that possess both a draconic form and a groundling form. They are a matriarchal race of people with complex court laws. In this story, we meet Moon, a Raksura who's spent most of his years living among groundlings after the destruction of his court when he was a young child. Because of Moon's ignorance of much of the Raksuran mores, following him through this book is perfect. The readers experience the world as Moon experiences it, learning as he learns, which means that nothing feels like filler.
Book 2 picks up almost immediately after The Cloud Roads. After an attack on the colony, the Cloud Indigo court moves back to the place where their lineage started, a mountain-tree nestled in the forest. Upon arriving there, they soon find out that the tree is dying because its heartseed has been stolen. This leads them to seek out the assistance of another Raksuran court. The neighboring court is unable to provide them with another seed. However, they are able to help the colony scry for their missing seed which leads Moon on a dash to retrieve it.
I am still charmed by this story of the Raksura and the world they live in. Wells introduces new and fascinating races such as the waterlings in this installment, continuing this flair that feels fresh and original. Raksuran politics continue to be a complex weave of laws. While in-fighting was common in the last book, in this book, they have to contend with another court, which sheds even more light on how Raksura are expected to behave with one another. Readers learn how tenuous the ties between various courts can be and how the smallest things can be perceived as insults and power plays to force a rival's hand.
I appreciate that Moon is still learning and still wary, even though he is now the consort to the sister-queen of Cloud Indigo. Readers are allowed to continue this journey with Moon as he shares his uncertainties, triumphs, and losses. There are always new things for him to learn. He doesn't automatically want to know everything about Raksuran politics. In fact, much of the culture makes him uncomfortable. He concedes that he should be learning things about the court, but he continues to live outside their societal norms for a consort. It doesn't help that the mentor-like person who brought him to the court is allowed the freedom to do as he pleases due to his age, which Moon is emulating in his own way. Moon becomes very aware of how he differs from other consorts when visiting the neighboring court. Where Moon is quick to protect what is his, he finds that other consorts are little more than arm decoration. Moon has never lived a pampered, spoiled life, and he doesn't intend to start living one (but he does give a little when it really counts).
Wells also introduced more magic into this world. There are tastes of it in the first book via the mentor-caste in the Raksuran court who can heal, have visions, and perform augury (more like divination/scrying than reading omens due to birds' flight patterns). In this book, groundling magic is introduced, especially as one character struggles with the fact that he's no longer a mentor but is starting to exhibit strange powers more like groundling magic. However, the magic in this world is subtle and downplayed, and it never detracts from the Raksura who are the heart of this story.
Chris Kipiniak continues to narrate this series, and I don't think there's anything that I can say about his narration that I haven't said in my review of The Cloud Roads. His characterization of Stone and Moon continues to be two of my favorite voices in the series.
I enjoyed this book maybe only slightly less than the first. There's a bigger spot in my heart for the first one. Maybe because of the way it completely enthralled me with this new setting and characters, but this book is a fitting continuation of the story that balances politics, action, and story in the world the Raksura inhabit. A part of me wishes I'd read these books sooner, but another part of me is glad that I started later, as there is plenty more for me to read and I don't have to anxiously await a next book.
"A solid follow up with more character development"
This is the second book of the series and if you haven't read the first book, Cloud Roads, you should start there. Without that context and background you will find this book much less enjoyable. In this book, Indigo Cloud must face the fact that all is not right with their new (old) Mountain Tree home and they head out on an expedition to find a solution. Their quest takes them to the court of a rival Raksuran clan and Martha Wells uses this opportunity to further flesh out her Raksuran society in more original ways. This is the real hook of this series and she builds nicely upon the foundation that she built in book one.
All of the main characters return and are developed throughout this story. With the possible exception of Stone I didn't find any of the characters all that compelling in the first book, but as a group they are growing on me over time. Indigo Cloud takes its dysfunctional family on the road and must interact with groundlings regularly which gives Moon plenty of opportunity to leverage his past as an asset to help his new colony. The main group of characters feels like old friends by the time the end of this one rolls around and it leaves you wanting to move on to book 3 to spend more time with them.
Just as he did in Cloud Roads, Christopher Kipiniak does an excellent job on the narration of this one. Overall I would say I liked it more than the first book. The Serpent Sea successfully builds upon all that was good with Cloud Roads and the character development helps round this out into an enjoyable listen.
"So Brilliant - We are left breathless"
The characters - real, earthy, detailed, ironic, a culture come alive
Everything has consequence. You could feel the impact on a culture with a different physiology.
This was a stunning performance by someone who truly understood the author's intent. He "got it."
The whole family inhaled the book.
Give us more!!!
"Great fantasy lit!"
The first book is better, as this one is a little predictable, but it's quite original at the same time
"Best Science Fiction I've Ever Read!"
I'm not sure. I have only purchased the audio edition.
I loved Moon's adventure and his character growth from visiting the neighboring court with genuine Consorts to his internal struggle with himself as he must work alongside another solitary. The entire book is filled with adventure, and Moon is finally learning to accept himself for who he is and find a home with Indigo-Cloud and Jade!
My favorite scene is the one in which Moon confronts the solitary, Rift about his murder and lies. He finally realizes that he is not the same person as the latter.
The death of Flower really made me sad! It was really unexpected...
I recommend this book to everyone! I have never been a big Science Fiction fan, and I was surprised to find how much I love this book! The characters are relatable and not over the top perfect in beauty or character, this is especially true for the main character, Moon. It is a book that you don't want to turn off!
"Great book, I would highly recommend it"
This second book in the series is just as good as the first one. The author has a great ability to take animal behavior and intertwine it with human society. The characters are well-thought out and the book keeps you interested all the way through. Can't wait for the next one.
"I didn't want it to end!"
Enjoyed all of the well-developed characters thoroughly.
Picturing the Island where the "floating ships" were....beautiful scenery come alive with words.
Again, I'll say I was sad to hear the end of this second book. I use audio books for commuting and there were many times I wished I could have sat in my car and listened longer!
"Want More !"
As Moon helps his new found friends search for a very important piece of their heritage, Moon faces internal as well as external issues in his personal values with all the new peoples he meets. Wish this weren't the end as it seems, such a good story !
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