pentapus: (Default)
pentapus ([personal profile] pentapus) wrote2012-09-23 07:57 pm

Book rec and art: Jade and Moon from The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells



Okay, so you should just read all of Martha Wells' books on principle, but in particular, you should read the The Cloud Roads. It is extremely fandom compatible.

The first books by Wells that I read were magical steampunk stories rooted in different eras of Western history -- the baroque era, the industrial revolution, the 1930s -- populated by characters and cultures very recognizable to us. I loved them. The Cloud Roads... it's like Wells took the idea of a fantasy universe and decided to go with it all the way.

How to describe the Three Worlds? Basically, take every Star Wars, Star Trek, and Tolkien species and all their crazy, overblown concept art architecture and stick them on one planet. There are cities on flying islands, giant pyramids draped with vines in the middle of rivers, and magical societies living inside of trees as big as mountains. Think Pandora times 10. Even the "normal" humans you meet tend to be blue or green or maybe just have tusks, which is a lovely reminder that there is no "default". For the huge variety of made-up species in the books, the world is deliciously coherent. Because you see it through the eyes of its inhabitants, it all feels like it's supposed to be there, duh.

Unlike a lot of stories with this set up, our main characters are gloriously not-human. Moon, the POV character, is a shape-changer who can shift between two forms -- a human form and a super badass gorgeous gargoyle form. When the story starts off, he's been orphaned at a young age and has spent the last few decades trying to fake it among the non-shifter societies he's encountered. He's kind of awful at faking it, it turns out, but he knows by now that he can't stand living alone, so he keeps trying. It doesn't take long for you to figure that he can handle himself, but you still want to bundle him up and hug him a lot.

Also, guys, I know lots of you have an interest in reversed and/or altered gender roles. Wells has created a central species for her stories with some key, fundamental differences that lead to a whole host of really interesting implications for gender politics in the story. I want to read so many stories about the politics, but I guess it's okay that there's also, like, fights and stuff. Also, I won't lie, it is kind of hot.

So, guys, if you have even a little bit of a kink for world-building or found family or playing with gender roles or just the right amount of hurt/comfort, read these books!

By the way, they are also FUN. Yes. The world it builds is so much fun you will want to read about a hundred fusions where all your favorite fannish characters end up in the Three Worlds. (I still can't decide if Steve Rogers would be a consort, a warrior, or a soldier. Is Jane Foster a mentor or a queen?)

Trust me, you are going to want fic.

And when that happens, come find me because I want there to be a fandom for these books, like, yesterday. It can't just be me and [dreamwidth.org profile] ileliberte squeeing over IM at each other, right? (Well, okay, it demonstrably can).

And guys, I'm not even telling you about the taciturn, badass old guy that will instantly become your favorite character. Mainly by standing around and being inscrutable and then letting children climb on him. And he likes kids because -- did I mention the gender roles? -- he's basically the world's equivalent of a dowager queen. A dowager queen who can tear your house down with his bare hands. Seriously.
flamebyrd: (*glomp*)

[personal profile] flamebyrd 2012-09-24 02:29 am (UTC)(link)
Ah, I love that Baen has DRM-free ebooks! *eagerly downloads to Kobo*
flamebyrd: (Default)

[personal profile] flamebyrd 2012-10-11 02:12 pm (UTC)(link)
I have now finished both books and loved them! Thank you for the rec. :D

Oh, and I am impatiently awaiting the third book. And looking at Yuletide contemplatively.
Edited 2012-10-11 14:13 (UTC)
flamebyrd: (Default)

[personal profile] flamebyrd 2013-08-22 12:41 am (UTC)(link)

I have the tab open at home! I just didn't have time to reply before work. (Hopefully I will drag myself out of the office soon...)

PS: We're publishing an article about Ultimate in our magazine this week. I thought of you.

greyeyes: (Default)

[personal profile] greyeyes 2012-09-24 04:21 am (UTC)(link)
I am instantly confused and intrigued! Adding to my to-read list! I LOVE found family and gargoyle people!
cofax7: climbing on an abbey wall  (Default)

[personal profile] cofax7 2012-09-24 05:24 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, isn't that gorgeous? And yes, the novels are great fun.
torch: legs of a pinup girl, red high heels (Default)

[personal profile] torch 2012-09-24 06:12 am (UTC)(link)
I love these books like crazy -- read the two first during rehab this summer and went MORE MORE WHERE IS MORE, the way you do. Though just looking at your art here helps with the craving! -- ooh, now I want to go reread.

(I also have giant tree envy.)
spoke: spider with a pen on a book (Default)

[personal profile] spoke 2012-09-24 11:59 am (UTC)(link)
Well. You had me at giant trees! ...no, actually considerably before that, since you had me at 'oooh pentapus art! oh hey squee attached!'

But eee giant trees. And gender roles! Def. Putting this on my to-reads.
spoke: spider with a pen on a book (Default)

[personal profile] spoke 2012-10-23 02:23 pm (UTC)(link)
I did finally get my hands on the first book, and I'm going to have to hunt down my own copy of it, as well as the second one. So much awesome!

Also I was searching for the author in hopes of aiding finding my own copy? And found your art there under fanart, which also made me squee.

And I wanted to let you know I am still working on treehouse fic, just. Slow writer is slow and has a job that gnaws away at her creative energy. Also the bloody thing wants to be an epic, and just augh. And epic would be awesome but I'm not sure I can. x.x
killerkaleidoscope: close-up centered on a violet daisy on diagonally-cracked gray pavement (Default)

[personal profile] killerkaleidoscope 2012-09-24 06:52 pm (UTC)(link)
Caught me right in the middle of yet another fruitless Gargoyles craving*. TOTALLY gonna run down to the library and see if they've got it. The excerpts--sometimes I am a giant spoiler hound and read them all--look AWESOME. And from what little I've seen, you are dead right about the fusion fic. GENIUS.

*Not generic gargoyles, the Disney show. Kills me how very little of the already-tiny Gargoyles fandom output is really my taste, but I'm willing to go wading through a lot of dreck in search of fresh gold every time.
everbright: Eclipse of Saturn (Default)

[personal profile] everbright 2012-09-25 03:14 am (UTC)(link)
OMG, other fans! I read ALL of Martha Well's stuff, and The Three Worlds series is definitely tied for favorite with her not!Buddhist book.

Stone!!!!!! Stone is such a cranky weirdo, I want to hug him a lot too. Well, when I don't want to beat him over the head and shoulders for playing Mysterious Guy so hard. And Chime is SUCH slash bait. I know it's not like that in-universe, Chime is just bonding to River as a protector and immediate family-group but, *squeak,* they're so cute when they sleep together!

I have to go re-read The Serpent Sea now!
everbright: Eclipse of Saturn (Default)

[personal profile] everbright 2012-09-25 04:45 am (UTC)(link)
OOOPS, YES. Sorry, I'm terrible with character names, which is ridic because it's a book, it's not like I can SEE them. But when I'm reading the voices come through clear enough sometime that it's just "the Main Character" or "The Ex-Teacher."

You are totally right, now that you've reminded me Wells is in fandom, I see it. She is totally dropping shipping stones for her own pleasure. Hehehe, though I bet she wouldn't be annoyed to know she's sort of messing with all her fandom fans. :D


esteefee: (atlantis_red)

[personal profile] esteefee 2015-10-07 10:55 pm (UTC)(link)
I am jumping in years late on this since I only just found your post, but at this point in the series I think it's clear that Chime and Moon are sleeping together, although if you asked me to point to a passage I'd have to go find one (where Chime is climbing out of Moon's hammock or vice versa).

(ps: have you made any Moon/Jade icons for your adoring public? :D)

(double ps: I'm totes going to start a Yuletide campaign (insomuch as I can) for more Raksura works.)
everbright: Eclipse of Saturn (Default)

[personal profile] everbright 2012-09-25 04:48 am (UTC)(link)
The gender roles there, that Consorts are supposed to be the counselors and social grease in a colony, are so GREAT. Like, Moon is the worst Consort because he's so "queen-like and fighty and strong," and THAT IS THE BEST THING. Augh, dudes that get to have feelings! Even if they are personally really bad at it! And Moon is valued even though he breaks the stereotypes so bad!

Hehehe, Chime, your life is hard.
everbright: Eclipse of Saturn (Default)

[personal profile] everbright 2013-08-22 01:36 am (UTC)(link)
Thanks for offering, but I'm actually not an active writer. I should go to the post and offer my services as a beta though....
lighterthanair: (book geek)

[personal profile] lighterthanair 2012-10-04 02:14 pm (UTC)(link)
That is an awesome pic of Jade and Moon! Those books are really good, too, aren't they? I've read "The Cloud Roads" and "The Serpent Sea" and really loved the sheer amount of world-building that Wells did for them!

[personal profile] pink_ruby 2012-11-03 08:57 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you for sharing the author and series. I now have to track them down at the library.
~Ann
templemarker: (Default)

[personal profile] templemarker 2013-01-07 04:12 am (UTC)(link)
Loading up the ebook. :)
nenya_kanadka: cartoon teddy squees with joy (@ squeh!)

[personal profile] nenya_kanadka 2015-01-07 10:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh my God, that art is the most adorable thing. Ever. <3

(I don't suppose it's available to be used as a banner at the top of a LJ or DW journal layout? Or as an icon?)

Anyway--my wife got me into the Raksura books this year and yessss, all of this. So much love. :D

(here via network)
esteefee: (atlantis_red)

[personal profile] esteefee 2015-10-07 10:58 pm (UTC)(link)
This drawing is so gorgeous...I love that you chose to depict Jade in her Raksura form and Moon in his groundling (he so loves to feel her scales against his skin). Her eyes are beautiful, and his happiness, and the details of his armband, belt and her lovely, lovely scale pattern.

I love that he's on tip-toes. :)))