The Edge of Worlds: These books are getting repetitive

The Edge of Worlds by Martha WellsThe Edge of Worlds by Martha WellsThe Edge of Worlds by Martha Wells

Note: This review will contain spoilers for the previous RAKSURA books.

The Edge of Worlds (2016) is the fourth novel in Martha WellsBOOKS OF THE RAKSURA. This series has many dedicated fans. Its strengths are an exotic fantasy world filled with unusual species and gorgeous scenery, and a strong and loveable protagonist with a tragic past. The cover art is awesome, too.

In The Edge of Worlds, Moon is finally starting to settle in with his new clan. He feels secure with his consort, Jade, and he now understands why he was abandoned as a child. He has met his formidable mother and others from his birth court. He finally feels at home — he’s been accepted and he has a place where he clearly belongs.

Along comes an airship full of groundlings who are asking for help. They’ve discovered an ancient city that they can’t enter and they’ve heard that Indigo Cloud, having encountered the same sort of locked city in a previous book, might be able to help them open this one. Moon and some of his clan agree to go because they want to investigate and see if this ancient locked city contains the same kind of evil they encountered in the last ancient locked city they visited. If so, they hope to stop it from entering the world. Oh, and it turns out their enemies, the Fell, also know about this city and they’re curious, too.

And thus we have an adventure that feels a lot like the adventure in the previous book, The Siren Depths. In fact, the RAKSURA plots and themes are becoming noticeably repetitive at this point: Moon broods over whether he should travel on some quest, it’s decided that he should because he has so much experience in the outside world, he and a small band of Raksura go and help some groundlings, we meet some of the interesting inhabitants of Wells’ world, the evil Fell are terrorizing the entire realm, we discover a little more about the Fell plans, and eventually they must be fought in one or more brutal fight scenes. Sometimes people get poisoned.

Fans of the series who love the characters probably won’t mind that the plots are getting repetitive. Moon, Stone, and Chime are amusing and fun to be around (though sometimes the drama, disagreements, and banter get wearisome). The usual recurring themes are present in each book — the need to belong, prejudice, fear of “the other.”

The main strength of the RAKSURA stories continues to be Wells’ world’s beauty and her inventiveness, especially when it comes to the worlds’ strange inhabitants. There are some really weird ones in The Edge of Worlds and I thought those were the highlights of the novel.

The story does not wrap up in The Edge of Worlds. It comes to an abrupt stop and is continued in the next book, The Harbors of the Sun. The audiobooks produced by Audible Studios have been excellent. They’re narrated by Christopher Kipiniak. The Edge of Worlds is 17 hours long.

Published in 2016. An expedition of groundlings from the Empire of Kish have traveled through the Three Worlds to the Indigo Cloud court of the Raksura, shape-shifting creatures of flight that live in large family groups. The groundlings have found a sealed ancient city at the edge of the shallow seas, near the deeps of the impassable Ocean. They believe it to be the last home of their ancestors and ask for help getting inside. But the Raksura fear it was built by their own distant ancestors, the Forerunners, and the last sealed Forerunner city they encountered was a prison for an unstoppable evil. Prior to the groundlings’ arrival, the Indigo Cloud court had been plagued by visions of a disaster that could destroy all the courts in the Reaches. Now, the court’s mentors believe the ancient city is connected to the foretold danger. A small group of warriors, including consort Moon, an orphan new to the colony and the Raksura’s idea of family, and sister queen Jade, agree to go with the groundling expedition to investigate. But the predatory Fell have found the city too, and in the race to keep the danger contained, the Raksura may be the ones who inadvertently release it. The Edge of Worlds, from celebrated fantasy author Martha Wells, returns to the fascinating world of The Cloud Roads for the first book in a new series of strange lands, uncanny beings, dead cities, and ancient danger.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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