Stories of the Raksura: Volume One

Stories of the Raksura: Volume One by Martha Wells

The Books of the Raksura is a fantastical fantasy series where nothing is normal and everything is strange and new. I fell in love with the first book and eagerly devoured the next two. When author Martha Wells announced that her next two Raksura books would be short story collections, I was trepidatious. Could my thirst for new Raksura adventures be quenched by anything less than a full novel? The answer is yes.

Stories of the Raksura: Volume One is a collection of two novellas and two short stories all set in the strange realm of the Three Worlds. Fans of the series will find plenty to love in this collection as it revisits familiar characters and sheds light on new ones that helped form their past. The stories recapture that recipe for escapism. These are tales that plummet readers into bizarre worlds with rich settings and characters. There are no humans to be found in the Three Worlds. Instead, it’s a place of exotic imagination and relaxing escape.

The first story in the book is a 92 page novella entitled “The Falling World”. In it, Moon explores a mysterious city in search of Jade who has gone missing. There are monsters, wizards and lots of exploration. Plus Moon is not alone in his journey. He’s joined by Stone as well as a host of other Raksura who all play various parts. Slipping into the story, it felt just like old times with the same level of unusual, fascinating environments and peculiar characters. It’s a great way to start the book.

Following that is another novella, “The Tale of Indigo and Cloud”, which runs 58 pages. Unlike the first novella and, for that matter, the three books that preceded this one, this story is set in the past and revolves around a new cast. The main character is Cerise, the queen of Umber Shadow. In it, she must deal with a delicate political situation. While on a diplomatic mission to another court, Cerise’s youngest sister queen Indigo up and decided to steal a consort. Unravelling the truth of what happened, and dealing with the retaliations from the Emerald Twilight court, Cerise must walk a twisting line to prevent all out war. The backdrop for the whole tale is how the Indigo Cloud court came to be. There is also a glimpse of Stone as a mere fledgling, a deeper look into Raksura court politics, and a wider view of Raksuran culture. With the tension, the romantic plotline, and the historical context, it makes for a very fun story. The end even ties it all back to the present, bringing in Moon and the current Indigo Cloud court.

“The Forest Boy” is the first of two short stories included in this collection. Like the previous story, it takes a look back at the past and uses a new character as the central figure. Tren is a twelve year old Mirani living on the edge of a settlement with a foster family. He and his close friend Lua explore a nearby trash heap as they look for salvage. There they find a very young Moon stuck in a hunter’s trap. The tale explores the children’s interactions with each other, how they become friends and then become distant and disgruntled. It takes a look at groundlings and Moon’s childhood while telling a story of how jealousy can tear friendships apart.

“Adaptation” wraps the book up yet another prequel story. This one stars Chime and covers his transformation into a warrior. It highlights his initial struggle with the change and the turmoil in instilled in the rest of the court. Both of the short stories go by pretty quick with them being only 15 and 16 pages long. Still, they’re fun stories and reveal some interesting parts of the character’s past. Adding to the book is an updated 10 page appendix of terms and court hierarchy.

Overall, if you’re a fan of the previous books in the series, you’ll definitely want to pick up Stories of the Raksura: Volume One. For those who have not read any of the books in the series, this might be a good opportunity to get acquainted with the characters and the world within. Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and look forward to Stories of the Raksura: Volume Two. I give this one a five out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.
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