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The Harbors of the Sun: Volume Five of the Books of the Raksura Hardcover – July 11, 2017
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"Breathtakingly surprising and fun. For readers who missed earlier entry points to this delightful series, now is the time to get on board."
—The New York Times
A former friend has betrayed the Raksura and their groundling companions, and now the survivors must race across the Three Worlds to rescue their kidnapped family members. When Moon and Stone are sent ahead to scout, they quickly encounter an unexpected and potentially deadly ally, and decide to disobey the queens and continue the search alone. Following in a wind-ship, Jade and Malachite make an unlikely alliance of their own, until word reaches them that the Fell are massing for an attack on the Reaches, and that forces of the powerful Empire of Kish are turning against the Raksura and their groundling comrades.
But there may be no time to stage a rescue, as the kidnapped Raksura discover that their captors are heading toward a mysterious destination with a stolen magical artifact that will cause more devastation for the Reaches than anything the lethal Fell can imagine. To stop them, the Raksura will have to take the ultimate risk and follow them into forbidden territory.
The Harbors of the Sun, from celebrated fantasy author Martha Wells, is the thrilling follow-up to The Edge of Worlds, and the conclusion of a new Three Worlds duology of strange lands, uncanny beings, dead cities, and ancient danger.
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"Breathtakingly surprising and fun. Wells is a master worldbuilder.”—The New York Times
“Wildly original world-building, diverse and engaging characters, and a thrilling adventure plot. It’s that rarest of fantasies: fresh and surprising, with a story that doesn’t go where ten thousand others have gone before.“—N. K. Jemisin, author of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
“Truly inventive and stunningly imaginative world building perfectly melded with vivid, engaging characters make the Books of the Raksura one of my all-time favorite science-fiction series.”—Kate Elliott, author of the Crown of Stars series
“An incredibly layered and intricate world with realistic characters. . . . The series as a whole deserves all the accolades it has received and more, and The Harbors of the Sun acts as a lovely and fitting final book in the series.”—Strange Horizons, reviewed by Na’amen Gobert Tilahun, author of The Root and The Tree.
“Weird—in an excellent way. . . . promises to end a celebrated series on a soaring note.”—B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
"That rarity—a completely unique and stunning fantasy world.”—Hugo Award-winning author Elizabeth Bear
“Martha Wells writes fantasy the way it was meant to be—poignant, evocative, and astonishing. Prepare to be captivated 'til the sun comes up.”—Kameron Hurley, author of The Mirror Empire and God's War
“With these books Wells is writing at the top of her game, and given their breadth, originality, complexity, this series is showing indications it could become one of the landmark series of the genre.”—Adventures Fantastic
“An imaginative world of engaging characters . . . the dramatic battles, tough decisions, and character dynamics shine through.”—Publishers Weekly
“Martha Wells' Raksura books are dense, and complex, with truly amazing world building, and non-human characters who are quite genuinely alien, yet still comprehensible and sympathetic.”—Kelly McCullough, author of the WebMage series and the Fallen Blade novels
About the Author
- Publisher : Night Shade (July 11, 2017)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1597808911
- ISBN-13 : 978-1597808910
- Item Weight : 1.44 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,318,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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I particularly enjoyed, of the things it's not a spoiler to discuss, the relationship between Moon's mother Malachite, and Jade's mother Pearl. These two powerful reigning queens had a phenomenally-characterized relationship that we get to follow from their first meeting on through eventual (more or less) world domination (I mean not really but you know they could). They're phenomenal. There's nothing else like them in any fiction I've encountered. And what an arc for Pearl, who we meet and are given pretty much no reason to like in the Cloud Roads: she's just such a great character, and Wells' characteristic adherence to tight points of view means that we just haven't seen her from this perspective before, and she just makes so much more sense now that we've seen so much more.
Which is really the overarching theme of the book, I think-- we're finally given a rounded view of the whole situation, and can really understand it in a full and nuanced way. It's a wonderful conclusion to the series. She's said she plans to write more in this setting, but not with these characters, and while I'm in mourning not to see any more of them, what a great sendoff this is.
First, there are two many characters (over 75!), only a dozen developed with recognizable personalities (Moon, Bramble, Stone, Chime, Pearl, Jade, Malachite, Shade, Rorra, Kalam, The Raksura Queen, Kethel). And due to the plot of the book, they end up in about five or six different groups (Raksura at Indigo Cloud, several traveling Raksura groups which split up, Golden Isles people, the Jandera, two different Kish people, the Hians, the half Fell, the Fell), with half a dozen Raksura and friends in each location, and the chapters skipping from group to group and place to place.
As a result, I spent far too long making lists of the 75+ characters and their groups which also kept shifting.
My other criticism is that there was too much unexpected, unexplained magic, which didn't clearly derive from the setup of the book, and was kind of a reverse deus ex machina -- rather than some outside force saving the characters there were unexpected magical disasters happening to create more obstacles for them. I was never quite clear about exactly what the weapon was, how it worked or how it was used. So much seemed arbitrary.
Martha Wells is normally a superb writer. But in this book, the last of her Raksura series. I had the impression that she was tired of this series and felt compelled to write it - but without the inspiration and craft she usually has. As a result, the novel was unnecessarily complicated, convoluted, overloaded, and at times incoherent and unclear.
On the plus side though, Moon is Moon and Stone is Stone, and Bramble and Chime true to character. And Wells did a great job of creating the characters of the half-Fell Queen and her devoted Kethel - they were quite a brilliant addition to the Raksura's storyline.
I still have one more of her Raksura stories collections to read (I loved the first) , and some of her other novels as well, since she is usually one of the best fantasy writers. So I will forgive her for this one........while encouraging readers to make lists of the groups of characters in order to keep them straight, since this is one of her only Raksura books that doesn't have several pages identifying all the characters at the end. And this is the book that needs it most of all!
This is my favorite fantasy series, hands down. The worldbuilding is amazing and the characters have depth and their own motivations. It's also nice to see a male protagonist who is unsure of his place in the world and is looking to fit in, as well as a female protagonist who is both tender AND badass. Moon and Jade are an amazing power couple!
Although I gave the whole series 5 stars, Harbors of the Sun would get 4. There's a climactic point in the book which you would expect to deliver the big punch to the series, then there's a little bit too much major action afterward, rather than a slow decline to the close. It still works and I still enjoyed it, but I skimmed a bit at that point.
Still 100% recommended! READ AND ENJOY!
Top reviews from other countries
The only problem I initially had with this book was that it is of course the sequel to The Edge of the Worlds and follows on straight from where that left off and as there had been a gap between the publication dates, it took me a few chapters before my memory caught up. It was just as good as all the others; Martha Wells sets out her alien world and characters so well.. The book is not stand alone, you need to have read The Edge of the Worlds first and preferably all the other books in order first, starting with The Cloud Roads.
Martha Wells is still writing Raksura short stories for which she is charging $1.00 on her website. Maybe, with luck, she will eventually publish these in a compilation book of short stories, as she did with Stories of the Raksura books 1 & 2. One can but hope!
As always, brilliantly written. If you're considering buying this book but haven't read the previous ones I suggest you begin with 'The Cloud Roads'.
If you've already read the previous books, then you probably don't need this review to convince you to buy it!