First of all, thanks to Jonathan Nevair, Shadow Spark Publishing and of course Storytellers on Tour for the opportunity to read this really enjoyable book.
There are some fantastic bloggers taking part in the tour so please do check them out over the week, and also…
After the review there is a chance to win a physical copy of Jati’s Wager! (UK and US)
Jati’s Wager is a very solid return to the Wind Tide series which will appeal to the same type of reader; diplomacy and social aspects play a big role, with beautiful imagery, excitement and of course plenty of page time devoted to such a great returning character in Jati.
Jati returns in a titular capacity in the second book of The Wind Tide trilogy – a character who was my favourite in Goodbye to the Sun and didn’t let me down here either – even if there is slightly less ‘Old Tot’ and more ‘Firecracker’ – What? Less Old Tot!?
Firecracker is Ailo, a new POV character introduced here. She’s a feisty and passionate teen gone rogue, and Jati can see a place for her on their side. Personally, I’m not usually huge fan of teenage characters, but I know many people are.
However, for someone who usually likes older characters (I mean I do have Jati afterall), I think Nevair has written her really well, and the disparity between the ages of Ailo and Jati creates an interesting working dynamic that was a real pleasure to follow.
What didn’t really work for me quite as well was the introduction of an imaginary friend POV. Gerib is Ailo’s imaginary friend – a voice she argues with in her head, but also a character with thoughts, feelings and plans of their own. It is not the having an imaginary friend part that I struggled with – but making them sentient, as this took me out of the immersion, despite how well done it is.
My job is internal, managing a ‘family’ of subpersonalities comprising a psyche and its dynamics.
I suspect Gerib is almost there as a metaphor in some respects. Given the author’s academic background and obvious intelligence, it is likely I haven’t studied his implementation of this in enough depth (or with enough prior knowledge) to appreciate the cleverness that is most probably behind it!
This aspect wasn’t a complete negative for me however, as Gerib did give an excellent insight into Ailo’s mind and was really thought provoking – it is obvious a good knowledge of psychology has been called upon to make this work. Despite my own misgivings about it, Gerib will most definitely work for some and admittedly does add something fresh and unique to the story. It is most certainly an inventive technique and I really can’t fault the author for trying something new.
There were two particularly strong highlights in Goodbye to the Sun which I’m pleased to say have been maintained here. One was of course Jati. When I realised this book was going to feature my favourite character I was delighted, and they are just brilliant. That cool, protective aura persists, the witty remarks, the intelligence and experience of this brilliant and charismatic person.
The other is the character interactions/development and diplomacy. Betrayals, tactics, subtleties and managing relations continues to be a big part of the storytelling, without going too heavy on the dialogue and ‘downtime’. I feel like Nevair has the balance between worldbuilding, social commentary and action nailed down perfectly, which gives the book a really well rounded and accomplished feel.
Idealists never survive reality…They fall to save the innocent
Again as in book one, the writing style is fairly academic which I enjoyed because here it makes you feel the author has control over the story and the elements within it, understanding the science and various aspects of the world he has created. I think that’s something to touch on a little further – it can be really off putting if an author has some good ideas but fails to make them sound convincing because they don’t have enough control over them. Nevair gives a feeling of serenity and calm as you know you are in safe hands and trust in his story, just from the command he has with his storytelling. Hopefully you understand what I’m trying to say because I may not have articulated that particularly well – in short, the author seems to know exactly what he’s doing and that makes the read all the better.
Nevair is also capable of some really beautiful imagery, Cesix Prime being a particular highlight, a multi-tiered garden dreamscape filled with wooden walkways, running water, foliage and flowers. From his wonderful descriptions you can transport yourself without even having to think about it, to these amazing places.
I mentioned that I got a Star Wars vibe at times with the first book and I do with Jati’s Wager too – the missions the characters are involved in, the places they explore, the diplomacy of factions and the characters in play. There is often a plan A, a plan B and a plan C and the characters have to wing it as best they can. It’s completely different to SW in many ways but alot of the things I love about SW has similar strengths to the things I enjoy in Wind Tide.
Make sure to be mentally prepared as there is heartbreak and turmoil, the ending being particularly poignant and leaving me speechless, without giving away any spoilers.
Obviously I cared alot about Jati in book one, but something Nevair improves upon here is making me care about the side characters a lot more than I did in GttS. Jati aside, I feel like there were much more engaging secondary characters that you care about and enjoy spending time with which was brilliant.
If you loved Goodbye to the Sun, you’ll love Jati’s Wager too, especially if Jati is your fave! If you haven’t read book one, I hope this review gave you a little taste and encouraged you to go check it out!
A space opera heist brimming with action, twists, and turns that doubles as a story of personal growth, mentorship, and sacrifice.
Ailo is a streetwise teen surviving alone on the remote moonbase, Tarkassi 9. She wants nothing more than to flee into the wider world of the Arm. When her chance arrives, she makes it no farther than the first ship out of the system. That’s where Jati, the Patent War veteran and general fighting the Monopolies gives her a second chance. It’s an unlikely partnership, but Ailo’s rogue status is just what Jati’s People’s Army needs to drive the final spike of victory into a weakening Garissian Council.
A team of experts assembles and hope rests on Ailo’s skill, stealth, and tenacity to pull off the impossible. It’s a wild gambit, and a moral code may need to be bent, or broken, to achieve success. When an internal shadow rises, casting doubt on their plans, Ailo and Jati are forced to weigh the cost of revenge against honor and justice.
About the Author
Jonathan Nevair is a science fiction writer and, as Dr. Jonathan Wallis, an art historian and Professor of Art History at Moore College of Art & Design, Philadelphia. After two decades of academic teaching and publishing, he finally got up the nerve to write fiction. Jonathan grew up on Long Island, NY but now resides in southeast Pennsylvania with his wife and rambunctious mountain feist, Cricket.
You can find him online at http://www.jonathannevair.com and on twitter at @JNevair
Publisher Links – Shadow Spark Publishing
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Thanks for reading my review, definitely give this brilliant author a chance if you’re intrigued by his books, you won’t regret it.