Review: The Harbors of the Sun by Martha Wells

Series: The Books of the Raksura #5
Published by: Night Shade Books
ISBN: 1597805963
ISBN 13: 9781597805964
Published: July 2017
Pages: 416
Format reviewed: eVersion from Edelweiss
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five

If you have a short memory (like I do) and/or it’s been some time since you read The Edge of Worlds then the start of The Harbors of the Sun may be a little confusing. This is because it takes up right as the previous book ended (or, well, part happens at the same time as the very end of the previous book), which may mean a re-read could be in order. If this is where you’ve picked up, the entire series is well worth a read to fully understand the ties each character has to each other so go back to The Cloud Roads and start there instead.

Unlike most of my reviews, spoilers are ahead for this one because it’s just too hard to review without them in this case. Short spoiler-free review is to go read the whole series immediately!

As a refresh, a group from the Kish came and sought the help of the court to assist with exploring a sealed ancient city they believe to hold a great power – perhaps even a way to destroy the Fell, who of course are close on their heels thinking along the same lines, so it’s a race to the finish. At the very end they’re betrayed, some are killed, and Bramble and Merit have been taken hostage. Moon and Stone are coming after them just ahead of the others – Jade and Malachite (Moon’s mother) along with the rest of the court are following close behind.

With that refresh, here we are in possibly the last book of the series. We start with Bramble and Merit who are just waking in their capture and freaking out, though it turns out Delin is close by, so there’s hope yet. The rest, as stated, are following, and through use of some moss which allows them to track the flying ships (that are made of the same moss) they’re trying not to lose their very faint tracks, whilst also keeping ahead of the Fell and making some hard decisions along the way.

As ever, this series is driven by the characters. The connection of Moon and Jade (but the ability for them to also have multiple partners and find different levels of comfort around) is so refreshing. It’s great to see so much of Stone, and get to know Malachite better. In this, because of the perceptions of the outside characters, we get a focus on what the different expectations are for each person (whether or not someone should fetch mugs, or do errands for people and so forth), which I’ve always loved in this world building.

An interesting factor in this book is the inclusion of the half-breeds. It’s an interesting discussion of perceptions and their form of racism – we see how deeply it’s bred into them, of course because the majority (or all of them) have experienced some dreadful things from the fell recently, so it would be hard to change minds without immediate evidence to the contrary (along with continued evidence, and even then it would probably take years…)

This feels like a massive book. At 30% I almost felt like if that had been the plot I would have been happy, and then it reaches 50% and so on, and the stakes are only getting higher.

Overall, I adored this book and can’t wait to continue reading Wells’ backlist. Her book The Death of the Necromancer has quite a Scott Lynch feel to it so fans of his work, get on over there if you haven’t already to The Ile-Rien books. And her latest, the Murderbot Diaries, are my absolute favourites!