The Cloud Roads created a very interesting and narratively distinct fantasy world – one that was very different than most of the other works of fantasy that I’d read, and which had a fairly clear sequel hook. So, I was ready almost right away to move on to the next work in the series. (more…)

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Most fantasy novels that I’ve read work, generally, in the context of an existing society of our world. Tolkien took his cues from Nordic mythology and the Eddas. C.S. Lewis took a mixture of elements from various Mediterranean cultures and his own Christian views. Japanese period fantasy (as seen in anime, manga, live-action cinema, and books like the Kouga Ninja Scrolls) take cues from stories about youkai and oni, along with legends about the history of the Japanese Imperial family and the deities from which they draw lineage.

So, when reading The Cloud Roads, I was rather surprised to see very few connections to any real existing human cultures. However, the book also managed to execute on this without leaving me completely lost. (more…)