Today I am excited to be taking part in the blog tour for Jonathan Nevair’s No Song But Silence, the third book in the Wind Tide trilogy, which is organised by Storytellers on Tour. Many thanks to Justine and Timy for having me along on this, their final book tour! There is an international giveaway, so make sure you enter that! Please also take a look at the posts from the other amazing bloggers and bookstagrammers taking part on this tour:
No Song, But Silence by Jonathan Nevair (Bk #3 of the Wind Tide series)
No Song, But Silence by Jonathan Nevair
Series: Wind Tide (#3)
Published: November 18, 2021 by Shadow Spark Publishing
Genre: Space Opera, Science Fiction
CW: death of parent (mentioned), death of sibling, graphic violence and death, blood, trauma, genocide, colonialism, terrorism, executions
The tide of justice ebbs. A mysterious and reclusive superpower threatens to extend its reach, colonizing new star systems for Wind energy and spreading a corrupt political empire. The People’s Army, once the hope for a new federation of allies in the Arm, has dwindled to a mere spectator in the fight for political control. Ailo’s role in its revolutionary fervor is over. The esoteric philosophy of the legendary Cin Quinti is her only concern now. But when an unimaginable threat sends a political shock wave through the Arm she must weigh the cost of self-preservation, hiding in the shadows as civilization falls to despotism and tyranny.
Light years away on Kol 2, a young librarian grows inspired by a mentor’s clandestine teachings. What he discovers with the newfound knowledge reveals a moral avalanche. The dubious and cruel political power corrupting his society must be exposed, but it will take a leap of faith to challenge an empire.
I was kindly sent both a paperback and a digital version of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much to Jonathan Nevair and Storytellers on Tour.
“To the End”
No Song, But Silence is the final chapter in the SciFi space opera trilogy, The Wind Tide, which has been an epic series reaching across many decades, taking place on multiple planets and I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey from start to finish!
Characterisation is one of Nevair’s strong points – each race is differentiated by specific character traits and then the individual players each have their own personality within that framework. In this final installment, we see some well-known characters return, and there are also a wealth of interesting new characters introduced. Lazro and Ailo were my favourite characters this time around with Ferra following closely behind. Lazro is proof that not all Targitians are tyrannical and that individual thinkers and rebels can be found within any despotic regime. He disowns his heritage and is adopted by the Motes who have been suppressed by his race.
When the story begins, thirteen years have passed since the events of the previous book, Jati’s Wager, with Ailo and Nisi having spent those years in exile from the People’s Army. Ailo, who played a large and significant role in Jati’s Wager is now no longer a ‘punk teen’. She is made Captain of the Carmora and her step sibling Nisi is made a General. Tera who acted as one of Ailo’s mentors is now her navigator and their relationship has to be adjusted to accommodate this change. It was fun to see these familiar characters again and find out how they had changed during the intervening time period.
Meanwhile, the Targitians, the race whom the rebellious People’s Army hopes to defeat, have been busy taking hostages and amassing a poison, Serek, which they are threatening to release on a planet, thereby wiping out its human inhabitants, should their demands to preserve their energy empire not be met. The stakes are high – will Ailo be able to use all the strategic skill she learnt from Jati in order to figure a way out of this potential tragedy?
Elsewhere the book of Cin Quniti, Ailo’s rebel leader mother, has been located in its underground cave and taken by new characters, rebellious Targitians Sarot and his apprentice, Lazro for safe keeping. Sarot, discovered as a traitor, is left in the blue sands of KOL-2 to die from its inhospitable climate and Lazro is suspected of having the book. Will he face the same fate as his mentor Sarot?
Once again the action is tense and exciting in this novel and the worldbuilding is visual and well-done – expertly tied in with the philosophy of Cin Quinti, in places, helping to explain it:
Ailo turned as hundreds of bright orange birds swept up the valley over the river. They approached as an elegant mass, shifting and swaying. She loved the He-Hetos. The flocks were one of her favorite things about Birevia. The birds, with their flaming orange feathers and black beaks, clashed with the blue of the sky. The grace and unity they expressed in flight were, for her, the best metaphor she’d found for the mantra that drove the ideas of Cin Quinti’s philosophy.
Jati is still a large part of the story in the form of their influences on those who knew them and also as a statue on Heroon carved from a Cantinool tree which was chosen by Ailo and Nisi:
Towering fifty feet into the air, a Cantinool trunk rose with a carving of Ailo’s mentor, the famous PA General, shaped into the highest section of the column. Jati…the former Legion soldier who’d started the People’s Army right here on Heroon and the one who’d led a nine-year struggle against the Garassians in the Tide War only to fall, in a dubious duel with an infamous Sicara assassin.
There is a clear message in this book about searching for alternative energy sources in order to benefit everyone in the Sagittarius Arm of the galaxy, rather than sacrificing lifeforms and ruining a planet in the name of providing energy for other planets and wealth for the race that controls the energy:
“That’s why our focus is on some of it, not all of it. The rest will be taken over by the collective. We will utilize the remaining means while we work to build more harmonious ecological methods for our needs. We’ll wean ourselves away from eco-shaping that destroys ecosystems and bring back modes of energy based on a planet’s existing eco-capabilities. We’ll revise eco-synchronization approaches that work with natural resources rather than removing them.”
One thing I did think was lacking was some form of non-humanoid species – I felt like all the races were too similar in appearance, with only skin, eye and hair colour separating them visually. Adrian Tchaikovsky’s recent book blew me away with his depiction of non-humanoid alien races and I would have liked some of that from Nevair in this series too.
As with the series’ other books, No Song But Silence is written in a fairly academic style and needs your full attention to understand exactly what is going on. I found myself needing to reread sections to make sure I had understood the gist of the action. It is well worth this extra effort, and builds up to a dramatic conclusion, with diplomacy and hidden plans coming to the fore to create a powerful alliance in the face of a maniacal tyrant. The final plan is very risky and carries an enormous threat of devastation should they fail. There are some surprises and heart-in-mouth experiences along the way. No Song, But Silence will take your breath away while punching you in the gut and wrenching a tear or two as well! Highly recommended.
Prize: A paperback copy of No Song, But Silence + Ebook copies of Wind Tide 1-3 (US/UK Only) –OR– Ebook copies of Wind Tide 1–3 (International)Starts: December 1st, 2021 at 12:00am ESTEnds: December 8th, 2021 at 11:59pm EST
Click here or on the banner below to enter.
Jonathan recently wrote the following post about his series for me for a project called MyHero.com:
“The Wind Tide series is more than just a space opera adventure. It’s an exploration, critique, and celebration of human character, morality, and our relationship to broader ecologies. Environmental themes play a strong role in the series, drawing out important and difficult questions about how to approach and consider our place in larger ecosystems and planetary habitats. Terraforming and the exploitation of natural environments for profit, corporate domination, and oppression of cultural groups is a central theme of the series, and the books offer difficult and challenging questions for the characters that leave readers to ponder real-world ethical issues while delving into a secondary universe of science fiction.
There’s a stream of optimism running through these stories, despite the tragedies that persist in the lives of the characters who stand up and attempt to make their world a better place in a vast galaxy. That’s what I like about science fiction. It’s a form of speculative writing that gives you the ability to dream, to envision a different world and a different society. But in doing so, and in taking the journey, it sends those experiences back to Earth and the possibilities for our own very real and potential future.
Life is complicated. We are both change agents capable of directing our own destiny and bound by larger forces – economic, social, cultural, political, etc. that challenge our independence, freedom, and individual and collective rights. The characters in the Wind Tide universe are like us – their world may look different, but their emotions, their struggles, and their victories are human experiences. Oppression and abuses of power are very real for people like Razor, Ailo, Jati, and Lazro in the Sagittarius Arm. The stories that run through the three books in the series speak to how quickly eco-friendly technology can turn from safe and ethical forms of energy production to a force of domination in the hands of those desiring power and greed.
Science fiction is a beautiful and visionary literary genre that allows us to relate and consider possibilities both within the current and potential future of our global contemporary world. There’s a growing interest in stories that consider an optimistic relationship to the environment, and to energy and other forms of technological production that take a positive attitude in the face of extremely difficult and challenging obstacles based on ecological crisis – Hopepunk, Solarpunk, Greenpunk… call these subgenres by whatever name you like, they tell stories about heroic people, everyday people who are willing to stand up and do what is right to make change for themselves, their fellow humans, and all living species, as well as the planets that offer them a home. As space opera, The Wind Tide series offers a far-off space-based story that stands in a literary alliance with these exciting approaches. The moral struggle and character-driven adventure in the books remind us that heroes are all around us. They’re everyday people, working alone and collectively, ready to stand up and do what’s right for themselves, their fellow human beings, and all living things in a greater and deeper ecology.”
From the moment he saw Star Wars: Episode IV in the theater as a child, Jonathan’s eyes turned to the night sky and the capability of FTL drives to whisk him off to distant star systems. After two decades of academic publishing, he finally got up the nerve to write fiction and bring those worlds to life.
Jonathan lives in southeastern PA with his wife and rambunctious mountain feist, Cricket. When not writing and teaching, he spends his time chasing his dog through the woods and hoping he’ll be able to walk in space before he croaks.
Jonathan Nevair (he/him/his) is the pen name for Dr. Jonathan Wallis, Professor of Art History at Moore College of Art & Design, Philadelphia
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Publisher Info: Shadow Spark Publishing
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