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Reviews by Contributor: Wells, Martha (16)

Not Ready To Make Nice

The Element of Fire

By Martha Wells 

12 Mar, 2019

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Martha Wells’ 1993 debut novel The Element of Fire is a standalone secondary-universe fantasy. It is the first of Wells’ Ile-Rien books. It was followed by The Death of the Necromancer, The Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy (The Wizard Hunters, The Ships of Air, and The Gate of Gods) and various short pieces. 

A daring night-time raid on a sorcerer’s lair, a victim recovered, a mansion left aflame: enough of an adventure in itself. For Captain Thomas Boniface, this was just the beginning of a longer, more perilous campaign. 


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Whisper Whisper

City of Bones

By Martha Wells 

26 Feb, 2019

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Martha Wells’ 1995 City of Bones is a standalone secondary-world fantasy. 

The relic trade is chancy enough, but for krismen like Khat in a city like Charisat, it is especially risky. Even if Khat can avoid violating Charisat’s trade laws, he could still be murdered by greedy criminals … or off-handedly killed by the city guard or their masters. He is, after all, a despised non-human. 

Too bad that there are so few jobs open to Khat. This is the best of the few; as a krisman, he has some advantages. 


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They Burn In Our Brains

The Gate of Gods  (The Fall of Ile-Rien, book 3)

By Martha Wells 

26 Jun, 2018

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2005’s The Gate of Gods is the third book in Martha Wells’ Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy. 

Ile-Rien has fallen to the mysterious, implacable Gardier. Tremaine Valiarde managed to escape. She and her handful of allies — some from Ile-Rien, some from another timeline, and one ambiguously alive sorcerer —have taken refuge in allied Capidara. There they hope come up with a plan for defeating the invaders. 

But it turns out that the Gardier have infiltrated Capidara. The supposed refuge is in no way safe. 

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Dancing on a High Wire

Exit Strategy  (The Murderbot Diaries, book 4)

By Martha Wells 

19 Jun, 2018

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2018’s Exit Strategy is the fourth volume in Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries series of novellas. 

Returning from its field trip to Milu, Murderbot covertly accesses local security networks and discovers that there is a security detail waiting for the ship on which it has stowed away. Further probing verifies that, yes, the detail is waiting for Murderbot. 

It’s not the worst news Murderbot has ever heard. In fact, it’s not even the worst news Murderbot has heard that day. 

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Way Up in the Clouds

Rogue Protocol  (Murderbot Diaries, book 3)

By Martha Wells 

10 May, 2018

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2018’s Rogue Protocol is the third book in Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries series.

Frustrated with the progress of the case against the GrayCris Corporation (more exactly, the lack thereof), rogue SecUnit (self-designated Murderbot) reluctantly heads off to find damning evidence on GrayCris. 

Which brings us to certain events in the Milu System.

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Freedom, Freedom, We Will Not Obey

Artificial Condition  (The Murderbot Diaries, book 2)

By Martha Wells 

6 Nov, 2017

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2018’s Artificial Condition is the second volume in Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries. A review of the first volume, All Systems Red, is here.

Rather than trust its fate to humans, no matter how well intentioned, the freethinking construct calling itself Murderbot decides to evade its protectors and find freedom. But first, a few loose ends to be cleared. Such as what role Murderbot might have played in the deaths of dozens of people on planet RaviHyral.

Step one is getting to aforesaid obscure world without being exposed as a rogue SecUnit and forcibly returned to factory settings. 

Bored AIs piloting interstellar transport ships turn out to be very observant.

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Sail on a Silver Mist

The Harbors of the Sun  (Books of the Raksura, book 5)

By Martha Wells 

15 Jul, 2017

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Martha Wells’ 2017 The Harbors of the Sun  is the fifth volume in the Books of the Raksura series and the second half of the story begun in 2016’s The Edge of Worlds. 

The quest that drove The Edge of Worlds succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of the Raksura, in large part because they had no idea what it was they were searching for. Betrayed by Vendoin and the Hians, Moon and his friends were poisoned, the forerunner artifact the party found was stolen, and Bramble, Merit and Delin kidnapped 1.

The good news is, the Raksura have a potential ally. The bad news is, it’s not an ally any sensible person would trust. 

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Still Waiting For Tomorrow

The Ships of Air  (The Fall of Ile-Rien, book 2)

By Martha Wells 

29 Jun, 2017

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2004’s The Ships of Air is the second volume in Martha Wells’ The Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy. It follows immediately on The Wizard Hunters, which I reviewed here.

The book begins on a high note (the same one on which the previous volume ended): Tremaine and her friends have captured a Gardier outpost! Victory is surely theirs, because that is how it works at the beginning of the second book in a trilogy. 

There are just two small problems: Firstly, Tremaine and her friends are in a parallel universe. Secondly, they have no means to get home.

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I’m Not Just One of Your Many Toys

All Systems Red  (The Murderbot Diaries, book 1)

By Martha Wells 

11 Mar, 2017

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2017’s All Systems Red is the first instalment in Martha Well’s The Murderbot Diaries.

The Company cares (<3 <3 <3), which is why every one of their survey teams is required to have at least one Sec Unit. This is a construct: part machine, part organic, a guardian bound by programs stored in supposedly unhackable governor units. Its duty: to protect its squishy human charges. Of course, the Company is also profit-oriented, which means that the Sec Unit has been assembled from the cheapest components available, which in turn means that those governor units are, in fact, easily hacked. 

Dr. Mensah’s team is small and it has just the one Sec Unit. That seems sufficient for a world without any significant known hazards. But appearances can be misleading. There is an undocumented giant predator in the team’s assigned territory. And the team’s Sec Unit is a Murderbot. Its governor has been hacked and disabled. Murderbot refrains from murdering its humans mainly because it can see no good reason to kill them. Not as long as it has new entertainment material to amuse it. 

There is another, far greater, threat to the team than a soap-opera-obsessed Murderbot in the offing.

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