Today I am excited to be taking part in the blog tour for the debut Sci-Fi novel, Goodbye to the Sun by Jonathan Nevair. Thank you to Justine and Timy from Storytellers on Tour for having me on this exciting tour! Please click here or on the banner below to check out the other amazing reviewers taking part in this tour. There is an international giveaway towards the end of this post – be sure not to miss it!
Author: Jonathan Nevair
Title: Goodbye to the Sun
Series: Wind Tide (#1)
Published: May 18, 2021
Genre: Science Fiction, LGBTQ+
Publisher: Shadow Spark Publishing
Cover Design: @jhlmoon at Shadow Spark Publishing
Cover Artist: Zishan Liu dreamstime.com/liuzishan_info
Content Warnings: death of child (mentioned), death of sibling, verbal/emotional abuse, torture (mentioned), graphic death, genocide, colonialism, graphic violence, trauma
Tucked away in the blue sands of Kol 2, the Motes are on the brink of cultural collapse. Razor, a bold and daring pilot, leads a last-ditch gambit against their local oppressors, the Targitians. The plan – abduct visiting Ambassador Keen Draden and use him as a bargaining chip to restore her people’s independence in the Sagittarius Arm. But when the operation unravels, Razor is forced to renegotiate terms with the arrogant diplomat. Battling furious Wind Tides and pursuit by an infamous bounty hunter, Razor and Keen find mutual assistance in a dubious freelancer with a knack for exposing cracks in people’s pride.
Light years away on Heroon a radical resistance blossoms. The alluring rainforest planet haunts Keen. All his problems started there during the Patent War, but it’s where Razor’s troubles may find a solution. The moral tide ebbs, exposing an impossible choice that links their futures together more tragically than they ever thought possible.
Goodbye to the Sun – a nonstop thrill ride across an unstable galaxy, combining moral struggle and character-driven adventure.
Praise for Goodbye to the Sun:
“GOODBYE TO THE SUN is an excellent debut novel set in a unique, compelling universe filled with complex politics and relationships. The action scenes explode off the page.” – Michael Mammay, author of the PLANETSIDE series
I hadn’t read any Sci-Fi books for many years until the start of 2021 (although I never stopped watching Sci-Fi movies and TV shows) and this is the third I have read recently that I have really enjoyed. I’m so glad I started reading the genre again!
Goodbye to the Sun is a debut novel and the first of Jonathan Nevair’s Wind Tide series. Knowing that the story was inspired by a Greek tragedy (Antigone), I was prepared for a tragic plotline and I was not disappointed! The action revolves around two emotionally damaged main characters from the beginning, with a third added in further along the journey.
It is the story of Razor’s fight for the survival of her family and the Mote race against the political machinations of a galaxy where entire planets are made into energy providers. This is the fate of Razor’s planet, KOL-2 and her children have been taken from her by the planet’s oppressors, the Targitians. Caught up in this ecological battle on KOL-2 she longs for support in her people’s fight against the Targitians. She has never been off planet until she goes to pick up Ambassador Keen Draden and take him hostage for her cause – an event which is the first in a chain which sees her traveling light years through space in the hope of finding support for her people’s cause. Their destinies become entangled when she takes him hostage in the pod at the beginning of the story. The action level of this kidnapping is dialed right up almost immediately and draws in the reader right away. Razor is full of sarcastic wit which appealed to me, yet at the same time the chapters written in her voice are poetic – full of emotion and tragedy. In fighting for her people’s cause she has also discovered she is an excellent pilot and clearly relishes this new skill:
“I soared without the pull of gravity, turning and moving at speed. And I showed the Hamuts, and Keen, what it meant to give chase to a Dune Eagle set free from terrestrial bonds.”
The book is also the story of Keen’s tragic family circumstances. Keen is something of a hasbeen and a drunk. His days as a heroic Legion soldier are long gone and along with them his muscular body and fitness. Unable to recover emotionally from the death of his sibling, Reardon, during the Patent War, he finds solace in whatever alcohol is on offer. He eventually makes a conscious decision to stop drinking and embark on some self-improvement when he realizes he will get to meet the daughter he only recently discovered he has – Reynaria, the leader of the resistance on planet Heroon:
“He was returning to a former self while slipping into the abyss of personal trauma that came with it.”
Unfortunately Keen is no longer worth as much as he thinks he is and the Targitians don’t really care that he has been kidnapped by Razor. However someone does care about his whereabouts. A relentless, sadistic bounty hunter and past torturer of Keen, named Pox, arrives on KOL-2 with an aim to reacquaint herself with Keen and his weaknesses. There is an extremely exciting, edge-of-the-seat chase sequence through the Wind Tide where Razor attempts to pilot Keen to safety while being chased by Pox.
Jati is a fun, brave and heroic non-binary character. Their lavender mohawk, playful jibes, and obvious fondness for Keen allow for some light relief from the tragic circumstances Keen and Razor find themselves in. Jati is Keen’s old war Legion comrade turned gunrunner, who is able to fill in the details for Keen about Reynaria and the Resistance on planet Heroon. They are the closest thing to a friend and a comfort that Keen has and soon become friends with Razor as well, united by their shared cause. With the addition of Jati, the action moves into space, away from KOL-2 and towards Heroon, a planet which is going to be eco-shaped into a desert for wind energy – just like KOL-2 was:
“This isn’t a historical transformation. It’s mass murder. Of both humanity and a planet. And for what? Profit.”
The world building in Sci Fi novels needs to be extensive since we know nothing of these new planets, their inhabitants, or their political systems. As such, it can often feel a bit like an info dump, but in the case of this novel I did not feel that. The politics are fairly involved but the cause is clear:
Razor: “Most hated by me were my local oppressors, the Targitians. Those spiritual zealots used nothing more than a bogus prophecy to justify their strict control and prudent distribution of the highest, advanced form of energy known to human civilization.”
The descriptive prose and metaphor within the worldbuilding are really well done, making it very easy to visualise the terrain:
“Deep in the desert on Kol 2, remote sand belts exist where only the Dune Eagle flies. Undulating blue hills pass in unbroken rhythm under its sharp eyes, except for the occasional shadow cast by an unmoving desert hermit. Lone and defiant against the harsh winds and hands of time, the Recluse tree’s roots grasp the planet’s inner rock fast and defy the world above ground. It appears no more than a bony skeleton under Altiron’s blazing light. But deep in the subterranean silence, its roots inhabit cracks and fissures in the dark, coveting the paltry moisture that sustains it.”
The story begins on KOL-2, a planet whose once lush, fertile surface has been ravaged by Targitian energy providers whose wind turbines have transformed the planet into a desert of blue sand. The Motes are an indigenous race on KOL-2 and have been forced underground to live in caverns and tunnels away from the Wind Tides which rage over the surface every 54 hours.
The Motes are understandably unhappy with these circumstances, and the loss of their once lush green planet, and are at war with the Targitians.
Ambassador Keen’s chapters are presented in third person perspective, whereas Razor’s chapters are presented in first person perspective in the form of a “personal narrative” being told from inside the Targite City Prison, looking back on the events that have already transpired with Keen. I found the alternating chapters and switch from first to third person perspective to be an interesting and engaging device, which drew me in right away.
Within the story there are strong themes of diplomacy, ethics, ecological issues on a galactic level, the tragedy of war and the loss of family members, and the importance of respecting someone’s gender. The theme of gender comes up often. Whenever someone new is introduced, they either introduce themselves using a naming convention that includes gender, they use hand signs to confirm their gender or have an identity mark, if unable to express themselves in other ways. Using the wrong pronoun or not enquiring after someone’s gender is highly insulting:
“But for over a millennium now, since the mid-Second Span, humans had conquered a longstanding prejudice and come to understand that one’s gender self-expression (and sexuality, for that matter) was a right of all, not a privilege of the few.”
On Heroon I was right there with Keen as he experiences horror when he realizes he is back at the site of his previous torture by Pox. How could his fragile mind survive being tortured all over again? There are a number of flashback style dream sequences in Keen’s sections (particularly while he is imprisoned) which, while a useful device to tell us what happened in the past, I found a little difficult to distinguish from the real time sequences until something/somebody woke up Keen. This led to a little confusion at times over what was happening now and what had gone before, particularly since Keen’s prison cell was the same as he was in during the Patent War. His desperation to have an opportunity to do right by his abandoned child has led him, so utterly broken, to this tragic circumstance:
“a siblingless, widowed, absent parent with nothing left but a child.”
It’s impossible not to empathise with him. It’s also impossible not to empathise with Razor and the plight of her people and Jati, the action hero of the story.
I am sorry to be leaving these characters who I became fond of during the story and am looking forward to the sequel, Jati’s Wager, out in August!! Highly recommend this book to all lovers of SciFi!
The International Giveaway!
Prize: A signed copy of Goodbye to the Sun by Jonathan Nevair – International!
Starts: June 6th, 2021 at 12:00am EST
Ends: June 13th, 2021 at 11:59pm EST
Click here or on the banner below to enter
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