Through three novels and a previous collection of stories (Stories of the Raksura Volume One: The Falling World and The Tale of Indigo and Cloud), Martha Wells has built up an ever richer tapestry of tales of the Three Worlds, focusing primarily on her alien, shapeshifting and yet all too human race of the Raksura. Stories of the Raksura Volume Two: The Dead City and The Dark Earth Below continues in that tradition. Within, Martha gives us the two titular novellas as bookends to the book, and three stories in between.
Also like the first volume, Wells gives us a variety of time frames in which the stories are set. Having contented herself with setting up the framework of Moon (our primary POV protagonist) in the three Raksura books (The Cloud Roads, The Serpent Sea and The Siren Depths), rather than always progressing the narrative forward in time, she has taken the tack of telling backstories, and side stories about the characters and the world. One of the stories, as detailed shortly, does not involve the Raksura at all. The richness of the peoples and creatures of the Three Worlds allows for amazing diversity in potential protagonists within and without of the Raksura themselves. The Raksura are her primary and overwhelming interest, and with good reason. However, there is nothing to prevent her from exploring other corners of her world. Continue reading