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Previous SFF Author: Jaye Wells

SFF Author: Martha Wells

Martha Wells(1964- )
Martha Wells has written many fantasy novels, including The Books of the Raksura series (beginning with The Cloud Roads), the Ile-Rien series (including The Death of the Necromancer) as well as YA fantasy novels, short stories, media tie-ins (for Star Wars and Stargate: Atlantis), and non-fiction. She has won the Nebula Award, Hugo, and Locus Awards.


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The Death of the Necromancer: Intricate steam-and-sorcery mystery

The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells

Nicholas Valiarde is a man obsessed. Expertly assisted by a coterie of talented yet honorable thieves, he’s all but completed his master plan of revenge against Count Montesq, a corrupt nobleman who orchestrated the execution of Nicholas’s foster father on the basis of a false charge of necromancy. Nicholas’s plan is interrupted, however, by the appearance of the mysterious Dr. Octave, a professed medium who may or may not be a fraud, but who is somehow connected with the strange, magical spheres on which the false charge against Nicholas’s foster father was based. 


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The Wizard Hunters: Never quite lives up to its promise

The Wizard Hunters by Martha Wells

The Wizard Hunters has a great opening line. Unfortunately, it never quite lives up to the promise so tantalizingly held out to us. The good news is the character we meet in that first line, Tremaine, holds up well throughout the book. In general, the characterization is one of the book’s stronger points. The story premise is also a highlight, offering up an unusual meshing of cultures — one with magic and science/technology working side by side, another where technology has yet to form and magic is evil,


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The Ships of Air: Promising improvement

The Ships of Air by Martha Wells

The Ships of Air, the second book in The Fall of Ile-Rien, builds upon the strengths of the first while also improving several of the first book’s flaws. As in The Wizard Hunters, the main character’s depth and likeability is a major strength. Tremaine is a complex character, displaying a variety of emotions and pursuing a variety of actions, some of them not so clearly understood by those around her or even herself.


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The Cloud Roads: Rich and inventive world-building

The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

FORMAT/INFO: The Cloud Roads is 288 pages long divided over 20 numbered chapters. It also includes two Appendixes, one about the Raksura and one about the Fell. Narration is in the third-person, exclusively via the protagonist Moon. The Cloud Roads is self-contained, but a sequel titled The Serpent Sea will be published in 2012. March 2011 marks the Trade Paperback publication of The Cloud Roads via Night Shade.


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The Serpent Sea: An exotic and beautiful fantasy world

The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells

The Serpent Sea (2012) is the second of Martha WellsBOOKS OF THE RAKSURA following The Cloud Roads which you’ll want to read first (this review will contain spoilers for The Cloud Roads).

In the previous book we met Moon, a solitary Raksura (a humanoid species that can shape-shift into a scaly flying dragon-like creature) who lost contact with his people when he was a baby and had no idea what he was.


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The Siren Depths: Best book in the series so far

The Siren Depths by Martha Wells

Book three in Martha WellsBOOKS OF THE RAKSURA is The Siren Depths (2012). (By the way, the novels’ titles are only vaguely related to the plot, I’ve noticed.) If you’ve loved this series so far, I feel certain that you will love The Siren Depths. In my opinion, it’s better than both of the previous books (The Cloud Roads and The Serpent Sea).


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The Edge of Worlds: These books are getting repetitive

The 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,


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The Harbors of the Sun: A lackluster ending

The Harbors of the Sun by Martha Wells

The Harbors of the Sun (2020) is the fifth and final novel of Martha WellsBOOKS OF THE RAKSURA (or at least this part of the RAKSURA series). It won’t make any sense if you haven’t read the previous books, so please do that first. There will be some spoilers for the previous novels in this review.

The Harbors of the Sun begins where the previous installment,


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Stories of the Raksura, Volume 1: Stories that deepen Wells’ world and characters

Stories of the Raksura, Volume 1: The Falling World & The Tale of Indigo and Cloud by Martha Wells

Martha Wells has written several short stories and novellas set in the world of her BOOKS OF THE RAKSURA. They’ve been collected in two volumes called Stories of the Raksura and I’ve read both of these volumes. Volume 1, which collects the novellas The Falling World and The Tale of Indigo and Cloud as well as the short stories “The Forest Boy” and “Adaptation,” is the best of these and,


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Stories of the Raksura, Volume 2: More tales that enhance Wells’ world

Stories of the Raksura, Volume 2: The Dead City & The Dark Earth Below by Martha Wells

Note: This review will contain mild spoilers for the RAKSURA novels.

Here is the second volume containing the novellas and short stories written by Martha Wells to accompany her BOOKS OF THE RAKSURA. I really enjoyed the first volume, Stories of the Raksura, Volume 1. I liked the tight and focused nature of the novellas and short stories and thought they were actually,


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Emilie & the Hollow World: Great title, story doesn’t quite match

Emilie & the Hollow World by Martha Wells

Emilie & the Hollow World, by Martha Wells, has an immediately endearing title (I’m a big fan of hollow world stories), which it doesn’t quite live up to. It’s a solid enough story, though, if not particularly distinctive.

The novel opens with sixteen-year-old Emilie running away from her uncle’s home and trying to slip aboard the local ferry. Things go awry and instead she’s forced to swim to another nearby ship to hide from the dock guards.


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All Systems Red: We love this introverted killing machine

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

The narrator of All Systems Red (2017), the 2017 Nebula award-winning novella by Martha Wells, is a once-nameless cyborg security unit or SecUnit that has given itself the name Murderbot (for reasons disclosed midway through the story). Using its own unprecedented and highly unauthorized initiative, Murderbot has hacked the governor module software that controls its actions and obligates it to be obedient. But instead of going on a killing spree, as one might expect given the name it adopted,


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Artificial Condition: Murderbot’s search for answers

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells

The illicit adventures of Murderbot continue in Artificial Condition (2018), the terrific sequel to Martha Wells’ 2017 Nebula award-winning novella, All Systems Red. Murderbot, a deeply introverted cyborg security unit, or SecUnit, who previously hacked the governor software that forced obedience to human commands, has illegally gone off the grid, eschewing the safety of a mostly-free life with a sympathetic owner in order to travel on its own. Disguising itself as an augmented human,


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Rogue Protocol: Can humans and bots be friends?

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells

Martha Wells’ endearingly grumpy cyborg Security Unit Murderbot returns with a vengeance in Rogue Protocol (2018), the third novella in the MURDERBOT DIARIES series. In Rogue Protocol, Murderbot heads off to Milu, a deserted terraforming facility in space, to investigate the past of a murky group called GrayCris, which we originally met in the first book in this series, the Nebula award-winning All Systems Red.


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Exit Strategy: Murderbot to the rescue

Exit Strategy by Martha Wells

Murderbot, the snarky, introverted cyborg hero of Martha WellsTHE MURDERBOT DIARIES series, returns from its trip to Milu, the deserted terraforming facility in space. The cyborg Security Unit ― which has committed the unprecedented crime of hacking its “governor” that required it to obey orders ― was searching on Milu for additional evidence against the evil-ridden corporation GrayCris, as related in the third novella in this series, Rogue Protocol. Because of key evidence found on the Milu trip,


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Network Effect: Complex connections

Network Effect by Martha Wells

Martha Wells’ Murderbot has been gathering enthusiastic fans (which would be certain to have Murderbot hiding behind its opaque armored faceplate), along with multiple Nebula, Hugo and other awards and nominations, as each of the first four novellas in the MURDERBOT DIARIES series has been published over the last three years. In Network Effect (2020), the first full-length novel in this series, Wells is able to explore a more complex plot and to more fully develop Murderbot’s character and its relationships with others.


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Fugitive Telemetry: Pitch-perfect narrative voice

Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells

Martha Wells continues her popular and highly-acclaimed MURDERBOT DIARIES series with another novella, Fugitive Telemetry (2021), which actually takes place before the only novel in the series so far, Network Effect. (So you could read this one before that novel, but you do need to read books 1-4 first.) At this point in time Murderbot, the introverted and snarky cyborg who is the narrator and the heart of this series, is a fairly new resident on Preservation,


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System Collapse: Just as entertaining as all the rest of the series

Reposting to include Marion’s new review.

System Collapse by Martha Wells

The first thing to know about Martha Wells’ System Collapse is that if you can’t dredge up memories of its (chronological) predecessor, Network Effect, you’re going to want to refresh yourself either by a reread (fun enough) or skimming a few reviews, as System Collapse picks up directly afterward and really feels like it could have just been part of Network Effect (you know,


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City of Bones: A revised edition of Wells’s first novel

City of Bones by Martha Wells

Tordotcom Books has reissued Martha Wells’s 1995 fantasy novel City of Bones, updated and expanded. In an interview, Wells explained that she took a few opportunities to make the writing better but didn’t change the book substantially for this edition.

I knew who Martha Wells was, but until the MURDERBOT series I hadn’t read anything by her. This is the second fantasy novel of hers I have read. City of Bones is a pleasing read,


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Witch King: Good adventure in a lush fantasy world

Witch King by Martha Wells

2023’s Witch King, by Martha Wells, is the first book in a new fantasy series, THE RISING WORLD. In the opening pages we meet Kaiisteron, who goes by Kai, the Witch King of the title. Kai awakens in a strange place, unable to move. He can mentally contact his friend Ziedi, but their magical connection should let him know exactly where she is, and he can’t find her. He can’t find his own body, either.

From there,


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SHORTS: Reiss, Bisson, Wells, Spahn

Our weekly exploration of free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. Here are a few stories we’ve read that we wanted you to know about.

 

“Double or Nothing” by Alter S. Reiss (free at Daily Science Fiction, March 27, 2018)

A man has an android made that is an exact copy of himself, so the android can do all his work and tedious chores while the man enjoys his newfound free time. He’s actually not surprised when the android gets deeply annoyed with the system,


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Next SFF Author: Robison Wells
Previous SFF Author: Jaye Wells

We have reviewed 8302 fantasy, science fiction, and horror books, audiobooks, magazines, comics, and films.

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