MarthaWells.com Books of the Raksura YA Fantasy Ile Rien Other Fantasy Novels Media Tie-in Murderbot Short Stories and Non-fiction About the Author


Reviews for the Ile-Rien Novels


For The Element of Fire

"A rich fantasy debut . . . Skillfully blending the fantastical and the mundane, Wells delights with deft and sympathetic characterization while demonstrating a fine touch for adventure."
- Publishers Weekly

"When Jayne asked me if I would be willing to review one of my favorite books for Dear Author, the trick was choosing which one of yours to review. You consistently create rich, unique worlds, complex heroines and heroes who are both real and extraordinary, and your books are impossible to put down. These are fantasy novels, but in every book of yours there is a strong and often discreet thread of romance that always leaves me longing for more of this couple."
- Laura Florand, DearAuthor.com

"Fans who appreciate ingenious plotting, witty dialogue, and fascinating characterization will find this tale a truly wonderful adventure in reading."
- Rave Reviews

"The Element of Fire is a powerful fantasy."
- Locus

"A fascinating read . . . I had to finish it up in one fell swoop, staying up until 2:30 to do so, and hadn't known I'd spent that much time in her world!"
- Anne McCaffrey

". . . a lively swashbuckler perfectly integrated with a thoughtful, down-to-earth character study -- not just a fantasy homage to Errol Flynn movies, but to high Shakespearean drama as well . . . A remarkable new book from a remarkable new writer."
- Dragon Magazine

". . . a powerful new force in fantasy."
- Sense of Wonder

A finalist for the 1993 Compton Crook/Stephen Tall Award.

A runner-up for the 1994 Crawford Award.



For The Death of the Necromancer

1998 Nebula Awards Nominee

Listed on Library Journal's Best Genre Fiction of 1998 List.

"One of the best new writers the field has to offer."
- C.J. Cherryh

"A seamless blend of fantasy, history, magic, and mystery. This is the kind of world that you come to believe exists, somewhere: a place you leave only reluctantly."
- Sean Russell

"The vivid setting of a gas-lit city, equal parts decadence and elegance, would eclipse lesser characters than these. Character construction and setting are so deftly interwoven with the swiftly moving plot that the prose literally swept me away. The reader should be warned in advance, it is difficult to close the covers of this book."
- Robin Hobb

"Wells never fails to intrigue, amuse and fascinate with her imaginative world, wonderful characters, and expert grasp of narrative style. I highly recommend anything by Martha Wells -- and I wish she wrote faster!"
- Jennifer Roberson

The setting echoes with the lively sounds and sights of turn-of-the-18th-century France, with a mesh of dark magic woven throughout. ...Wells continues to demonstrate an impressive gift for creating finely detailed fantasy worlds rife with many-layered intrigues and immensely personable characters.
- Publishers Weekly

Splendid plotting and characters and agreeably varied magics; not as compellingly original as City Of Bones, but thoroughly engaging nonetheless.
- Kirkus Reviews *

A chillingly convincing fantasy that will entrap genre readers. Young Adult Review: Magic and mystery in a luxuriously detailed tale for older readers.
- Booklist

An enchanting blend of detection and sorcery, it features a memorable cast of characters and a wealth of "period" detail. Highly recommended for most fantasy collections.
- Library Journal

Action dominates, with plenty of chases through the sewers, streets, and catacombs of Vienne, and battles with golems and ghouls. Charming characters, a twisty plot with lots of bodies, and the colorful alternate world setting add up to thoroughly entertaining high adventure.
- Locus




For The Wizard Hunters

"Wells...has created a finely detailed world that echoes with not just one culture and people but many. ...A story on many levels, part high adventure, part personal story. Tremaine is not a scream and clutch heroine; she is a fascinating character with many facets. Check it out."
- Bradley Sinor Tulsa World

"If you haven't read Wells yet, you've missed one of the more graceful wordsmiths currently writing fantasy, and if you have, you're in for a treat." "I have a weakness for clever dialogue. I have a weakness for wry observation. I have a weakness for clever people. Wells delivers all of these things, but without obvious flash; it's so much a part of her writing that you couldn't separate the two without stripping the book of words."
- Michelle West The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

Wrenches the Valiarde saga into a whole new dimension of wonder, tension, and excitement.
- Kirkus Reviews *

The Wizard Hunters is a tense, exciting book replete with tantalizing mysteries, deep background, a clash of cultures, and fascinating magic systems. The characters are troubled and interesting, and the story twists and turns in surprising directions. I enjoyed the time I spent with these people, and I'm anxious to find out what happens to them next!
- Nina Kiriki Hoffman

Martha Wells writes fantasy with a unique twist and a modern sensibility. The Wizard Hunters drew me in with strong characters and an intriguing setting and kept me reading as the plot raced headlong into a marvelous adventure. A great read!
- Kate Elliott

I finished Martha Wells' The Wizard Hunters with a huge sense of relief. ...Wells delays giving readers the answers to two key questions: why the heroine, Tremaine Valiarde, is researching methods of suicide and whether one of the main characters is a wizard. I was unsure whether she would tell us before the next book, and whether she would stay true to the characters. She impressed me by doing both.
- Gavin J. Grant, Bookpage

Sword and Sorcery meets dirigibles in this entertaining adventure...
- Locus

Set in the same world as the Nebula Award-nominated The Death of the Necromancer, Wells' first volume in this new trilogy features fine storytelling and a unique mixture of magic and early 20th century science. Her memorable tale is a good addition to most fantasy collections.
- Library Journal

Nebula-nominee Wells' entrancing return to the world of The Death of the Necromancer and if the rest of the book doesn't quite fulfill the promise of the first sentence, it comes very, very close.
- Publishers Weekly

In another well-written and complex science fiction story with a fantasy edge, Wells has shown her great ability to transcend the genre in this first of three books based on an unassuming heroine. Tremaine is small, even mousy, but she holds the key to her country's survival in a battle with an enemy none seem able to stop. Magic and science mingle, and it is her talent in espionage that will become her real asset in this battle to survive.
- Staff Favorite Review by John, at Chinook Bookshop

Wells sets up her new fantasy trilogy with fast-paced action, interesting characters and a good story.
- Romantic Times

It's got plenty of action, adventure, espionage, and skin-of-the-teeth escapes. A gripping story. But ultimately it's the characters that will keep you reading. There's real development in some of the key players, especially Tremaine, and there are people you love to spend time with and people you love to spend time hating. It's exactly the kind of story that deserves to be read and reread.
- Neil Walsh Overlooked or Overhyped? at SF Site



For The Ships of Air

"The luxurious Queen Ravenna makes a fascinating backdrop for the culture clashes with the magic-hating Syprians (who regard all unfamiliar technology as magic), not to mention political squabbles among the refugees, troubles with ghosts, at least one spy, and the mad sorcerer locked in the makeshift brig. ... A vastly entertaining and refreshingly different fantasy adventure with a surprisingly satisfying conclusion for the middle book of so complex a series."
- Carolyn Cushman Locus

In Wells's fine follow-up to 2003's The Wizard Hunters, Tremaine Valiarde emerges as one of the fantasy genre's more distinctive heroines--intelligent, wry, bitingly funny and impossible not to like. With Ile-Rien overrun by the merciless Gardier, Tremaine's motley band of Rienish and Syprian fighters may be her country's only hope of survival. Luckily for Ile-Rien, Tremaine--with the help of Syprians Illias and Gillead--might just be resourceful enough to find a weakness in the seemingly impervious Gardier's military machine. But first, she has more important things to worry about, like convincing the rest of the Rienish contingent that she's competent to lead them. A nice twist at the end will leave readers eager for the next installment in this strong series.
- Publishers Weekly

"Wells...follows The Wizard Hunters with a tale of love and danger, treachery and intrigue--with an unexpected twist at the end."
- Library Journal

It's got plenty of action, adventure, espionage, and skin-of-the-teeth escapes. A gripping story. But ultimately it's the characters that will keep you reading. There's real development in some of the key players, especially Tremaine, and there are people you love to spend time with and people you love to spend time hating. It's exactly the kind of story that deserves to be read and reread.
- Neil Walsh Overlooked or Overhyped? at SF Site

"It has wonderfully human and intelligent characters that are easy to identify with and root for. Great action sequences, nicely consistent worlds of magic, and interesting twists and turns."
- Howard To Eos Advance Reader Review

"Turning words into people we care about is the foundation upon which this story is built."
- Eric Holm Eos Advance Reader Review

"I highly recommend this book. It has the three essential ingredients for a good book: engaging, interesting characters, fast-paced unpredictable plotting, and great writing. Martha Wells has become one of my must-buy-new authors -- even in hardback."
- Ita Van Eos Advance Reader Review

The suspense, surprises, humour and hairbreadth escapes are backed up by first-class worldbuilding. Both of the two threatened worlds are complex, with a number of distinctive societies.
- Natalia Mayer Eos Advance Reader Review



For The Gate of Gods

Now, in The Gate of Gods, Tremaine Valiarde and her comrades have found a hidden Gardier base and hints of what may stop them, though it calls for jumping near-blindly through more sorcerous gates, and Ile-Rien is running out of time. Wells shows us some very convincing characters in a desperate situation: attacked without warning, their usual weapons made ineffective, and with allies sometimes as strange as their enemies.
- Booklist

...the final volume in Wells's imaginative and complex Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy (after 2004's The Ships of Air), her resourceful and witty heroine, Tremaine Valiarde, and a ragtag band of followers have the magic of the Viller spheres to help resist the almost invincible invading Gardier.
- Publishers Weekly

Spies, politics, and backfiring spells add complications and thrills in a fast-paced adventure across worlds that manages to wrap up with surprisingly satisfying speed.
- Locus Magazine

It's got plenty of action, adventure, espionage, and skin-of-the-teeth escapes. A gripping story. But ultimately it's the characters that will keep you reading. There's real development in some of the key players, especially Tremaine, and there are people you love to spend time with and people you love to spend time hating. It's exactly the kind of story that deserves to be read and reread.
- Neil Walsh Overlooked or Overhyped? at SF Site




[ Ile-Rien

| Standalone Novels
| The Element of Fire
| Death of the Necromancer

| Fall of Ile-Rien Trilogy
| The Wizard Hunters
| The Ships of Air
| The Gate of Gods

| Reviews

| The Stories
| The Potter's Daughter
| Holy Places
| Rites of Passage
| Houses of the Dead
| Reflections ]


| About the Author

| Contact/Agent Information
| Buy Books Online
| Bibliography
| Live Journal Blog ]