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Stories of the Raksura: The Dead City & The Dark Earth Below by [Wells, Martha]
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Stories of the Raksura: The Dead City & The Dark Earth Below Kindle Edition

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Review

"Two novellas and two short stories expand the setting of Wells's dreamlike fantasy novels. ... Longtime fans and new readers alike will enjoy Wells's deft touch with characterization and the fantastic."
Publishers Weekly

“Truly inventive and stunningly imaginative world-building perfectly melded with vivid, engaging characters make the Books of the Raksura one of my all-time favorite science fiction series.”
—Kate Elliott, author of the Spiritwalker trilogy

Product Description

Moon, Jade, and other favorites from the Indigo Cloud Court return with two new novellas from Martha Wells. Martha Wells continues to enthusiastically ignore genre conventions in her exploration of the fascinating world of the Raksura. Her novellas and short stories contain all the elements fans have come to love from the Raksura books: courtly intrigue and politics, unfolding mysteries that reveal an increasingly strange wider world, and threats both mundane and magical. "The Dead City" is a tale of Moon before he came to the Indigo Court. As Moon is fleeing the ruins of Saraseil, a groundling city destroyed by the Fell, he flies right into another potential disaster when a friendly caravanserai finds itself under attack by a strange force. In "The Dark Earth Below," Moon and Jade face their biggest adventure yet; their first clutch. But even as Moon tries to prepare for impending fatherhood, members of the Kek village in the colony tree's roots go missing, and searching for them only leads to more mysteries as the court is stalked by an unknown enemy. Stories of Moon and the shape changers of Raksura have delighted readers for years. This world is a dangerous place full of strange mysteries, where the future can never be taken for granted and must always be fought for with wits and ingenuity, and often tooth and claw. With these two new novellas, Martha Wells shows that the world of the Raksura has many more stories to tell...

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1390 KB
  • Print Length: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books (June 2 2015)
  • Sold by: Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00RM48IQ0
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #210,825 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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For anyone who has read the main novels and enjoyed them, these are a must.
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Amazon.com: HASH(0xa17544a4) out of 5 stars 53 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2aa103c) out of 5 stars The best of the shorter Raksura stories May 25 2015
By Professor J - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
OK, I am a giant fan of the Raksura books, but I think this volume may contain the best of Wells' novellas. "The Dead City" is an in media res flashback, starting as a much younger Moon flees the doomed city of Saraseil in the wake of his fateful encounter with the Fell. This is not quite the hardened, angry Moon of the later stories, note, although this is the beginning of his hardening. Here one can still catch glimpses of the inquisitive, hopeful boy he used to be... and here we realize this was the moment when that boy died. But meanwhile, Moon meets the people of an isolated community who are being menaced by horrifying creatures called "Miners". I'm just gonna say it: SPIDER PEOPLE. It's a good thing Moon really really wants to kill something at this point.

"The Dark Earth Below" is less dark, since it takes place in the post-trilogy "present" and Moon is no longer a lonely, bitter outcast. In fact, he's about to become a new father -- so of course a mysterious hostile entity threatens the colony. Jade's not exactly helpless, but Moon's got a lot of new-papa jitters to work off, so the bulk of dealing with the threat falls on him. This one's worth it for all the layers of nuance that get added to the Raksura we know and love: we see Pearl and Stone showing obvious pleasure that Indigo Cloud is growing again; we see the Arbora go into "swarm" mode when something invades the tree; we see that Balm is suddenly very very glad she can't get pregnant; and we meet Jade and Moon's children! It's positively heartwarming.

There are some other short stories rounding out this volume, most of which are reprinted from other sources or Wells' website; I particularly like "Mimesis" since it's all about Jade saving the day (though it's hilarious to see that the Indigo Cloud warriors constantly worry that Moon will kill them if anything happens to Jade). But frankly it's the two novellas here that earn the price of admission.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2aa1288) out of 5 stars With great fortitude, I managed to save it to read ... July 1 2015
By RSF reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Martha Wells is an author whose books I buy the minute they come out. With great fortitude, I managed to save it to read on the lenghthy plane trip when I went on vacation. I'm glad I did 'cause the 11-hour flight was stressful and the stories helped me escape the confines of my narrow plane seat for a few hours. She's one of the few favorite authors whose books I approach withOUT the feeling of dread that I might not love the book.

This books contains 2 brand new novellas and 3 short stories. It's really nice to have all of the stories together in one book. There are very useful appendices in the back, one listing characters, and two giving background info on the Raksura.

Four of these stories involve Moon and members of the Court, both before, during, and after the novels of the Raksura trilogy and give us insight into how Moon's character developed, as well as the workings of the Indigo Court. It was very cool to see Moon and Jade anticipate their future children!

The plots of the stories are immaterial, IMO. As with all Wells's stories, they're full of unpredictable action and adventure and some funny snark. The characters are complex and well drawn.

I definitely recommend this book, but if you're new to the Raksura, I'd recommend starting with the trilogy starting with the Cloud Roads. You will NOT BE SORRY!!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2aa124c) out of 5 stars More Fun in the Three Worlds June 23 2015
By Skuldren - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Stories of the Raksura: Volume II is the second anthology in Martha Wells Raksura series. This collection of short stories continues to follow the adventures of Moon, the Indigo Cloud Court and others in the bizarre, fantastical setting of the Three Worlds. It’s a place where there are no humans, only groundlings, and those who can shapeshift into winged creatures are feared. If you haven’t read any of the books in the series, the short story collections are a good way to get introduced to the characters and the setting. However, for those who are fans of the series, this is a must read. Beyond just providing new stories for readers, Martha Wells continues the tale of the Indigo Cloud Court with stories set after the events of the last novel, The Siren Depths.

There are five stories in total in Volume II, each set in different time periods, and most of them feature Moon as the main character. “The Dead City” is set before The Cloud Roads. It explores new species and introduces new friends and enemies as Moon finds himself in trouble as groundlings fight over an ancient city in the jungle. “Mimesis” is a previously released story that was available in The Other Half of the Sky. It takes place three months after The Siren Depths and follows Jade, Balm, Sand, Aura and Serene on a hunting trip that turns into a rescue operation in the lower reaches of the forest. “Trading Lesson” takes place a month afterwards and has Moon teaching the Raksura a few lessons in trading with groundlings. “The Almost Last Voyage of the Wind-Ship Escarpment” changes gears by leaving the Raksura behind. Instead, it stars a cast of groundlings. A ship captain named Jai takes on a mission to deliver a ransom for the Issilans. Aboard their wind-ship, they encounter sealings and find out first hand why they’re so feared. All in all it’s a great collection of stories, some more action oriented than others, but all of them colorful, imaginative and fun. Yet it’s the last story that really adds a lot to the book.

“The Dark Earth Below” is really a novella. At 94 pages, it takes up a big chunk of the anthology. It’s also set after The Siren Depths, so it continues the story of the Indigo Cloud Court. Best of all, it covers a key event in the series: Moon and Jade’s clutch. Yes, they finally get kids. But it’s not just a story about Jade giving birth and readers finding out the gender of their kids, how many, and their names. Instead there’s a whole story about mysterious groundlings and predators. It involves the plant like Kek who seek Indigo Cloud’s help as they try to unravel the mystery behind dead groundlings, a floating leaf boat and invisible creatures. It’s a fun story and a great addition to the series.

When it was first revealed that Martha Wells would be writing two story anthologies instead of a fourth book in the Raksura series, I was bummed out as I really wanted another full length novel. However, after reading Stories of the Raksura Volumes I and II, I have to say it worked out well. On one hand it continued the fun of the series, yet on the other, it explored new areas, time periods and characters we would not have seen in the series proper. Both collections turned out great and are must reads for fans of the series. I give Stories of the Raksura: Volume II a five out of five.
HASH(0xa2aa1540) out of 5 stars Meet the Other--and you Know them. June 29 2015
By Katharine Kimbriel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The lovely thing about this collection is that even if you have not yet discovered Wells’ magical fantasy adventures about the alien Raksura, you can fall in love with them here. Written with swift yet intricate grace, Wells gives you ground to stand on and open skies for unexpected adventure. The Raksura are shapeshifting, flying sentients, their complex society matriarchal, their lives filled with danger around every turn. This world has dozens of disparate sentient peoples, most of them wary and interacting only for trade. The Raksura are among the few who are both cautious and yet open to alliances and even friendship with new peoples.

The collection includes two novellas as well as a scattering of short fiction. Both long stories feature Moon, the male protagonist of the Raksura trilogy; he’s a foundling who finally finds his place in the world. One novella, “The Dead City,” takes us back a few cycles when Moon is still very young, on the run, and has no idea what he is or what name his people use. In it we see him as he cannot see himself—curious, inventive, adaptable, strong. Also bitter, as winged he looks all too much like a species feared the length of his world. He can never stay anywhere for long.

In “The Dark Earth Below,” longtime readers finally get to see Moon handle impending fatherhood, as he is now consort to Jade, the Sister Queen of the Indigo Cloud court. We are given a many-layered tale that weaves together family, external threat, mystery, and claiming a home into one satisfying whole.

I highly recommend starting with the novel The Cloud Roads, but there’s no reason not to try a taste of The Three Worlds through this collection. Looking forward to more Raksura!
HASH(0xa2aa15a0) out of 5 stars More Raksura! Raksura forever! June 3 2015
By K. A. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another installment in Ms. Wells' fabulous series. If you are a fan of the previous four books, get this one. There are two great novellas and a couple very short other stories. The Kindle version has a few little punctuation mistakes, with quotes getting set pointed at the wrong words, but it's still very readable.

The two novellas--one before the book series during Moon's youth, and one after the book series at the new Indigo Cloud location in the Reaches--are both enjoyable, but I especially loved reading the latter. There are some exciting events and more time spent with my favorite characters. I won't give away any of the details.

I marked this "no sexual content." There is some reference to sex and body parts, but no actual sex scenes. There is a birthing scene, but it is not graphically described at all.

There is violence: fights between fantasy creatures, including some descriptions of the fights, including the use of claws and jaws, but it didn't seem to be to be explicitly descriptive.

Bottom line: if you liked/loved the previous books, you should get this one. Newcomers to the series should start with "The Cloud Roads."