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The Cloud Roads, by Martha Wells

Second paragraph of third chapter:
Moon suspected that Stone could have easily made twice the distance, but he seemed content to glide along at Moon’s fastest pace. Moon was just glad Stone didn’t press to go faster; he was used to spending most of the day as a groundling, and it had been more than half a turn since he had stayed in his other form so long, or flown this far at one time. By afternoon, his back ached as if he had been hauling rocks all day. At least it distracted him from thinking about the Cordans. Every thought of Ilane was like poking an open wound, but he hoped Selis was all right, that she had found a home or at least someone to live with whom she could tolerate.
I wasn't totally impressed by the Books of the Raksura as a Hugo Best Series candidate, ranking it fifth on my ballot, and indeed the voters were only a little more impressed than me, ranking it fourth. This first novel in the series is a Bildungsroman, setting us up for more adventures, of a chap who grows up as a shapechanger in a society where people are frightened of shapechangers; and then becomes part of the shapechanging elite into which he was born and from which he was then removed as a young child. This does mean that we get plenty of justification for exposition of the worldbuilding; but I wasn't really convinced by the psychological dynamics of our hero's hourney, or by the social economics of the Raksura world. I am not going to rush to the other books. But if you want to try it, you can get it here.

This was, believe it or not, my top unread book by a woman. After a re-audit of my bookshelves, it turns out that Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin is next on that list.

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