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Stories of the Raksura: The Dead City & The Dark Earth Below (English Edition) Format Kindle
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"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.
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!
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!!
It wouldn't be fair for me to pick out my favorite story; I loved them all for different reasons. So I'll just say they are all meaty with great suspense and reveal new aspects of our favorite characters as well as introducing fascinating new ones. And there are some really excellent twists that are terrifically imaginative. Five stars from me, and seriously, how can I get a ticket to the planet of Three Worlds? Or, at least, pre-order the next book?
Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the gorgeous cover art, which is just breathtaking in detail.
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