Book Review: The Edge of Worlds by Martha Wells
Series: Books of the Raksura #4
Publisher: Night Shade Books (April 5, 2016)
Author Info: marthawells.com
Wendy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars
With thanks to Night Shade Books for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is the fourth book in the Raksura series and I’m going to be honest, what actually happens in the story, plotwise, wasn’t all that interesting to me as our favourite Raksura join up with the perpetually curious and undaunted Delin and a group of groundlings and sealings intent on discovering the secrets of another ancient city. After their experiences in The Siren Depths, the Raksura are nervous about anything that could be related to their forerunners, but if this city was built by the foundation builders, there could be so much to learn. But no matter the results of their discover, the ever present Fell are on their tails, seeking the same city for reasons of their own. How this all comes together, from the Raksura’s shared dream of the Fell, to expeditions on flying boats, to a very long walk up stairs, gets a bit tedious, logistically.
And yet I was totally into it the whole way. Why? Because I love the Raksura of Indigo Cloud. I’ve spent four books with them now and can’t get enough of their intricate and intimate lives. I’ve come to know them so well that I have renamed the books to be more reflective of my journey with them:
Book 1: A Raksura and a Fell Walk Into a Groundling Bar
Book 2: Moon Teaches Everyone How to Groundling
Book 3: Moon Still Doesn’t Know How to Raksura
Book 4: Stone is Too Old For This Shit But He Does It Anyway for Shits and Giggles
I fell in love with Wells’ worldbuilding and her unique creatures from the beginning, and now I am happy to see them continue their misadventures just so I can get more of their amusing interactions. I still enjoy learning about the ways of the Raksura. Initially, this came through Moon, who, after 40 turns spent not knowing he was one, has only just settled into his role as a Raksuran consort and is finally being accepted by everyone such that his trouble adhering to the rules at times is overlooked. In the fourth book, time is spent with creatures who fear or look down on the Raksura because of their ignorance of the reclusive race that happens to resemble the deadly Fell. These new creatures, who have their own unique ways that Wells deftly incorporates into her world, get to learn about Raskuran views on nudity and sex, their pecking order, from consort to warrior to queen, and the importance of nap time.
I especially love Moon and line-grandfather Stone who is older than everyone and does what he wants and also can hulk out so he just doesn’t give a damn about all the Raksuran rules and etiquette that’s required of everyone else. Stone was the one who recognized Moon for what he was and brought him back to Indigo Cloud’s court. Now that Moon is more comfortable in his role and his place within the court and has more than proven himself in everyone’s eyes, including Stone’s, their relationship has settled into a loving rivalry of sarcasm and mutual (dis)respect.
Stone shrugged one shoulder. “I’ve seen one before. And somebody has to stay down here and keep an eye on the boat.”
“So you’re just tired?” Moon said.
Stone pushed him off the railing.
What I really need is more books about Moon and Stone hanging out, trading barbs and sharing donuts and Stone hulking out to kick ass or scare people if it amuses him to do so. But back to the actual story for a moment. This book was a bit unusual in that the stories have always been told from Moon’s perspective. That is still true here, but Wells interrupts with a few other characters, including ones from another court. This is all well and good if more is to come from these characters, especially with some of them following days behind our group of Raksura. But instead of everyone coming together, I found myself coming to the end of the book and wondering why any time had been spent with the other characters at all. Save for providing me with a bit more insight into the consort’s life through Ember, for example (I bet Stone has an awesome tea set):
“Ember led the way to the steps down to the passage that led through to the queens’ hall, and he and Shade made what Ember considered to be a very decorous and correct entrance. Ember liked and admired Moon a great deal, but he wasn’t very good at entrances. He entered formal meetings looking either like a captive dragged there against his will or like he was coming to murder someone.”
But the other perspectives didn’t add anything to the story that couldn’t have been filled in with a few lines of dialogue when everyone *finally* got together. Moreover, this book is described as a good place for new readers to step into the Raksura series. While you do get to learn a lot about them through their interactions with the other people on their expedition, a new reader would miss out on the nuance behind all the interactions and relationships that can’t simply be explained away with a few lines of dialogue or description.
Still, this is a worthy entry into the series if only because it lets me sit back and have more fun with Stone and Moon.
Read more about the Raksura here!