The Harbors of the Sun (2020) is the fifth and final novel of Martha Wells’ BOOKS OF THE RAKSURA (or at least this part of the RAKSURA series). It won’t make any sense if you haven’t read the previous books, so please do that first. There will be some spoilers for the previous novels in this review.
The Harbors of the Sun begins where the previous installment, The Edge of Worlds, abruptly ended. The Raksura were on a quest with some groundlings. They had entered an ancient city and discovered a powerful artifact and were on a ship heading away from the city when they were betrayed and poisoned. The artifact was stolen and some of the Raksura were kidnapped and imprisoned. Now Moon and Stone are trying to find their friends so they can save them from the treacherous groundlings. This involves a lot of travelling through the exotic territories of Martha Wells’ imaginative world, and an unlikely alliance.
Speaking of unlikely alliances, in an attempt to save their colonies, the queens, Jade and Malachite, have teamed up and have invited a third queen (another unlikely ally) to join them. These queens are aggressive and not used to cooperating with others. Let’s hope they can get along with each other and that they don’t get betrayed, too. Otherwise, their world is likely to be destroyed. Everyone is racing to discover the secrets of the artifact and the Progenitors before that happens.
In my review of The Edge of Worlds, I said that the RAKSURA books were getting repetitive and that continues here. The Harbors of the Sun is the lackluster end of the quest begun in The Edge of Worlds and probably should have been reduced and incorporated into that novel (but with a more satisfying finale).
While it’s fun to explore Wells’ world with its flying islands and walking plants, the pace of the plot is very slow and some of the drama that happens, especially at the end, feels unnecessary — like it was extended and magnified just to increase the page count. The tiny amount of information/resolution that we get in The Harbours of the Sun did not require an additional novel containing 400+ more pages.
The audio editions of the previous RAKSURA novels were produced by Audible but The Harbours of the Sun was produced by Tantor Audio. The new narrator is Daniel Thomas May who does a nice job. Audio readers usually get upset about a change in narrator, but May did so well that this switch didn’t bother me at all. The audiobook is nearly 16 hours (too) long.