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December 13, 2011

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December 13, 2011

First of the promised recommendations:

Martha Wells is one of those authors that I cannot believe more people haven't heard of. In fact I have been known to corner people at cons and go on at them, at length, about how I can't believe more people haven't heard of Martha Wells, which anywhere but a science fiction con would be dubious behavior (and this is why I go to cons).

But really. She has these amazingly inventive fantasy settings that nevertheless feel familiar and true. She has snarky bastard characters. She has believable matriarchies! Why do more people not know about this?

So when Wells's Cloud Roads came out last year I did the frantic dance of New Book joy and grabbed it. And it did not disappoint. It's the story of Moon, a flying shapeshifter who has been pretending he's human for most of his life -- until he meets up with Stone, a cryptic old consort determined to reunite Moon with his own people, the Raksura. Moon is not entirely thrilled with this plan, partly because his people are under siege by a much nastier race of shapeshifters known as the Fell, but mostly because his own people regard him as an outsider, a dangerous feral. (They're right. Wells is a master of characterization: despite the book being told entirely from Moon's point of view, you get a distict idea of what he looks like from the outside, and Moon has the rather rabid jumpiness of someone who's been living up a tree for far too long.)

This is a bloody brilliant book, one of the very few where I hit the end and had to step on my urge to simply turn it over and start reading from the beginning again simply so I could stay with Moon and his world a little longer. This month's release of the sequel, The Serpent Sea, has me jumping up and down for two reasons: a) book book book book BOOK, and b) it's caused Night Shade books to release Cloud Roads as a free Kindle ebook. This is awesome. It means I can share the booklove with you, and you will become Martha Wells readers, and there will be lots and lots more books for me to jump up and down over. It is a cunning plan which cannot fail.

Seriously. Go get this, because I gather it's only free for a limited time, and it is really, truly, an excellent book. And you'll make me happy.