Over at tor.com, this, from Leah Schnelbach: Where to Start with the Works of Martha Wells
Well, now, there’s a post I’ll be able to weigh in on properly, since I’ve read everything by her (except some of the media tie-in novels).
Also, I wonder if one’s opinion is likely to depend on where one actually did begin. In my case that was with the Raksura books — a fine beginning. The best possible beginning? I’d have to think about that.
Let’s see what Schnelbach says … ah, she does not actually suggest a starting point. She merely mentions and describes various works, including the Murderbot novellas, the Raksura series, the Ile-Rien series, City of Bones, Wheel of the Infinite, and the Emilie duology. That actually annoys me a little — that Schnelbach poses the question of where to start without suggesting an answer.
Fine. I’ll suggest a starting point. In fact, I’ll suggest several:
IF YOU ARE NEW TO MARTHA WELLS’ WORK AND…
1. …You enjoy classic epic fantasy, start with the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy. Or Wheel of the Infinite.
2. …You enjoy historical fantasy or historicals in general, start with Death of the Necromancer.
3. …You mostly read SF, start with the Murderbot novellas and then go on to the Raksura series. The latter has an oddly SF feel to it . . . well, it’s not that odd. It’s because of a) the total absence of normal fantasy tropes such as wizards, princes, and dragons; and b) because the Raksura species was built like an SF species, with coherent behavior and social organization.
4. …You are mostly a YA fan, probably you should still start with the Raksura novels. I say this because Moon’s story is so very much a finding-your-place-in-the-world story, which is definitely a YA thing; plus there’s enough romance to please a YA reader who may be used to romance in every story ever; plus I just think this series is stronger than the Emilie duology.
5. …You dislike romance, then possible City of Bones, especially if you aren’t put off by claustrophobic settings.
6. …You would like a story with an older female protagonist, then definitely start with Wheel of the Infinite.
7. …You would prefer a story with a non-European setting, again, Wheel of the Infinite. Or the Raksura series.
8. …You are a completist, then read ’em in order of publication. That means start with The Element of Fire.