Today I am excited to be taking part in the Blog Tour for Jati’s Wager by Jonathan Nevair, the sequel to Goodbye to The Sun and second book in the Wind Tide trilogy. There is a UK/US giveaway towards the end of this post too – so be sure to enter! Please also have a look at the posts from the other amazing bloggers on this tour:
Jati’s Wager by Jonathan Nevair
Series: Wind Tide (#2)
Published: August 18, 2021 by Shadow Spark Publishing
Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, LGBTQ+
CW: death of parent (mentioned), death of mentor, verbal abuse, graphic violence and death, blood, homelessness, trauma, guilt, kidnapping (mentioned)
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.
I was sent both a paperback and a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much to Justine, Timy and Jonathan Nevair!
Jati’s Wager, the sequel to Goodbye to the Sun, is once again set in the Sagittarius Arm of the galaxy, where a war is waging between the rebellious People’s Army and their oppressors, the Garassians. The story begins with a bang – an exciting action sequence where a teenage stowaway, Ailo, steals a speeder in order to try and escape from the crew of the ship she has stowed away on. Here the fast-paced action sequences end for a while, however, since this is a more cerebral story – concentrating on conversations and philosophical discussions about the war and its origins. Ailo, the main PoV character has stowed away on the Carmora, the ship belonging to Jati, who we met in Book 1. Now Jati is the general of the People’s Army and nine years have passed since the events of Book 1.
Don’t get me wrong there is plenty of action in places, but it is not an ‘action-packed, thrill-ride’ of a book all the way through. The dialogue between Ailo and crew members as she becomes more educated and her inner conversations with Gerib, her imaginary friend, who is her sounding-board and therapist, take center stage for the majority of the first half of the book’s narrative. When the action sequences do appear, they are exciting, cinematic and often white-knuckle inducing.
The story is essentially a heist, but with so many more layers. Someone close to Jati is kidnapped and they decide to rescue said person, gathering together the best crew to do the job during the first half of the book. In the process treating the reader to some planet-hopping which allows for a whole array of wonderful world-building.
The description of the planet Ffossk, with its ebony grass covered hills and floating sky islands above the clouds was highly imaginative and made Ffossk perhaps my favourite location in the novel, but the botanic space station inhabited by Rence Tusolo was also fabulous and I would love to see the Cantinool trees of Heroon one day!!
Massive, intricately branched trees and other greenery towered from the islands’ surfaces. On their undersides, cubic habitations with circular windows dangled from the ends of exposed roots reaching down into the open air. Skywalks connected the various geometric buildings in each island’s root system, creating underhanging, landless sky towns.
Jati was my favourite character in Goodbye to the Sun and they are now more mature and careworn with less witty banter, but their independent spirit and unusual belief (for a general) that no life should be taken unless completely necessary are still there.
I was hoping Razor would be back as she was an important and intriguing part of Book 1. She is mentioned in Jati’s Wager but does not make an appearance in this book. Instead we get to meet many new characters: Nisi the superhero-like soldier; Tera the likeable and smart navigator, JeJeti the gap-toothed mechanic and Rence the retired Radical turned hermit. The antagonists in this book are the late Keen Draden’s parent Aradus and his nephew the assassin Hekron, whom Ailo has previously met.
Ailo’s journey both developmentally as a young adult and geographically is an important part of this book and she makes many discoveries about her heritage and her strength of character and morality as she travels through space. I feel like “Ailo’s Journey” could have been an alternate title for this book. Through Ailo we make discoveries about Jati and their motivations and we are taught the history and politics behind the current situation:
Jati’s cause made sense now. They weren’t an idealist, far from it. They were a servant, a gracious facilitator who penetrated the veil of human progress.
Gerib is an extremely interesting character. He is introduced to the reader as an imaginary friend. Ostensibly a facet of Ailo’s mind – I had many theories about him at the beginning of the book – was he a coping mechanism thrown up by her psyche after Ailo experienced trauma, or was there more to him? Was she an Android with an extra personality implanted? Was she schizophrenic? It turned out that he was her conscience, moral compass and also managing her “fight or flight” decisions and how much of her difficult memories she had access to. I really enjoyed the internal conversations between Ailo and Gerib and how he had monologues which were presented as if Ailo wasn’t a party to them. It was interesting how he came to the conclusion that she had grown out of her need for him but felt she might not react to that news well – as if he was a completely independent being.
Through mentorship and education, Ailo is able to see the bigger picture of the world she now finds herself in:
The last gasp of a passing age meant one world would fall, replaced by another. Is that what was happening here? A species at the end of its aeonic lifespan.
I would recommend Jati’s Wager to fans of Space Opera style fiction, but also to those who enjoy a heist story, and are interested in the psychology of trauma survival. The novel is extremely well-written, with believable characters whose motivation, ethics and determination ring true. There is epic, imaginative world-building, strategizing, a mole, a trap, an exciting and life-threatening escape, an amazingly edge-of-seat inducing heist and more than a couple of twists in the tale, I can’t wait for the final part of this trilogy!
Fans of the Wind Tide trilogy? “Of Them, we are One”.
Prize: A print copy of Jati’s Wager by Jonathan Nevair – US/UK Only
Starts: August 29th, 2021 at 12:00am EST
Ends: September 5st, 2021 at 11:59pm EST
Click here to enter or on the banner below
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.
Publisher Info: Shadow Spark Publishing