Week 2: The Cloud Roads Read-Along
We’re starting a new Read-Along this week, with The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells! If you’re interested in participating, visit the SF/F Read-Along group for more information and to join the discussion.
With thanks to Anya for the read-along banner!
Moon has spent his life hiding what he is — a shape-shifter able to transform himself into a winged creature of flight. An orphan with only vague memories of his own kind, Moon tries to fit in among the tribes of his river valley, with mixed success. Just as Moon is once again cast out by his adopted tribe, he discovers a shape-shifter like himself… someone who seems to know exactly what he is, who promises that Moon will be welcomed into his community. What this stranger doesn’t tell Moon is that his presence will tip the balance of power… that his extraordinary lineage is crucial to the colony’s survival… and that his people face extinction at the hands of the dreaded Fell! Now Moon must overcome a lifetime of conditioning in order to save and himself… and his newfound kin.
Week 1 – Wednesday September 7th: Chapters 1-5 – hosted by CoolCurry (Sarah)
Week 2 – Wednesday September 14th: Chapters 6-10 – hosted by Lisa
Week 3 – Wednesday September 21st: Chapters 11-15 – hosted by Anya
Week 4 – Wednesday September 28th: Chapters 16-20 – hosted by Imyril
1. So the situation with Pearl isn’t what some thought it was: her actions were risky, but maybe not so traitorous. Still, the Fell are proving to be smarter and deadlier than even she thought. In hindsight, do you think she was doing the right thing?
Mogsy: I believe not telling the Fell “yes” or “no” with regards to what they wanted was a wise choice, considering they still don’t know what really happened to the other colony. For all we know, the other queen might have refused them as well and they responded by wiping them all out. Pearl was taking no chances, buying time by not agreeing or disagreeing. Still, it was her decision to allow the Fell in which started this whole mess in the first place, and the fact she didn’t tell any of the other leaders looks pretty bad for her. If Pearl did anything wrong, it was because she was keeping secrets.
2. The revelation that the Fell are apparently becoming endangered in the same way the Raksura are is something to consider, for all that they’re still an immediate threat. Do you think they can possibly be negotiated with, or are they simply The Evil Villains in this story?
Mogsy: I still think they’re the villains, and there’s no negotiating with them. I was, however, intrigued by the reveal that the Raksura and the Fell may have a shared ancestry. Perhaps that’s why both are becoming endangered, because there’s something in the environment affecting their biology the same way?
3. Do you think Moon might stick to his stubborn ways regarding his future with the Raksura, or will he accept his ‘intended’ place among them as a consort? And if so, what do you think of his potential relationship with Jade?
Mogsy: I’ve read a later book in the series as well as a few short stories, so I know that Moon ends up staying with Indigo Cloud and finding a place among them. Still, even if I hadn’t known this, I think that’s where his feelings are taking him right now, despite his stubborn insistence (denial?) that his time with the court will be temporary.
4. Major plot points aside, there were also a lot of character-building scenes in these chapters. Let’s discuss personal highlights! What stood out as the most interesting parts this week?
Mogsy: I really enjoyed this week’s chapters. Like I said, I’ve read volume one of Stories of the Raksura and The Edge of Worlds so I’m already familiar with some of these characters, but it’s still really cool to see how things started out. I especially liked the time we get to spend with Stone, Jade, and Chime. When I met Moon for the first time he was already at home with Indigo Cloud, but he and everyone still acknowledged that he was an outsider of sorts. Now I know why.