Today is my stop on the blog tour for ‘Jati’s Wager’ by Jonathan Nevair organised by Storytellers on Tour. This is the second book in the Wind Tide series, and you can find my review of the first book ‘Goodbye to the Sun’ here. It was a delight to return to this series.
I hope that you will check out the book and the author, and enjoy the rest of the tour with the schedule in the banner below or (HERE).
Disclaimer – I received a copy in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.
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.
Jati’s Wager is a book that I’ve been looking forward to ever since I read Goodbye to the Sun, and it was an absolute delight to return to the Wind Tide series. Second books always have that much more extra weight resting on them, but Nevair has more than risen to the challenge, and as much I love Goodbye to the Sun, I enjoyed Jati’s Wager even more. Also, I have to give a shoutout to the fact that there is a ‘story so far’ section at the beginning of the book because a lot has happened and it was nice to have that anchor before diving into this one.
‘Epochs die hard, and rarely do they go peacefully…’
This line was when I knew I was going to love this book – that it’s right near the beginning made it all the better. It also brings me one of my favourite aspects of this book and that is the writing. There is an almost academic edge to these books, which considering that this is Sci-Fi, and features a universe with so many layers in terms of its technology, cultures and politics works really well. It never feels heavy-handed though, but more like an experienced hand on the rudder, keeping abreast of all those complex currents. It works so well, because Nevair balances it beautifully with emotive characterisation, gripping action scenes and some truly breathtaking imagery – there were so many moments in this book that felt like you were stood there watching the world he was describing unfold right in front of you, and I love how he uses all the senses to draw you into those scenes he is painting around you.
One of the things that I loved from the first book was the balance between the scale of a Space Opera, and the narrower, character-driven story happening on that grand stage. That balance is maintained here, even as the setting continues to expand. Again, that expansion feels incredibly organic, as we are taken on a journey alongside the characters, encountering new worlds and cultures, and the wonders and trials of life in space as they encounter them. It’s a wonderful way of building up the myriad layers that make up this book, and weaving together a cohesive narrative wherein every aspect is as vital as the other.
As with the first book, Jati’s Wager is very much character-driven, and one of the reasons I think this second book stands so strongly, is that following different characters, although there was a familiar face as the titular Jati stepped up from secondary character to protagonist. Jati was a stand out character in the first book, and simply shines in the spotlight, and their personality could carry the story alone. Not that they have to, as we also have a new POV character in Ailo. Ailo is a great character in and of herself, and it’s interesting to see the concept of a ‘streetwise teen gone rogue’ in space, especially within a setting such as the one that Nevair has created, where there are so many factions and possibilities. It was a delight watching her reactions to new sights and experiences, and it felt so very much like what you would expect from a teenager in those situations. However, what I really loved was the dynamics of the two of them together, it’s an unusual duo with the age difference, and yet Nevair brings them to life in such a way that it works ridiculously well and you’re easily drawn into that dynamic.
Once again, I enjoyed how Nevair plays with different POVs in an unusual way. In this book that takes the form of a POV from Gerib, Ailo’s imaginary friend. I’ve always loved being able to see those internal thoughts for a character, and Nevair has taken that to a whole new level with this. It takes a little while to get used to the interactions, especially as Gerib is a character in and of themselves, but while different, it works really well and once I had got used to it, I enjoyed those internal conversations. Not only was Gerib fascinating himself, but he added a whole other dimension to Ailo – and having since read the guest post on Whispers and Wonder, it makes even more sense, and again it harkens back to that academic aspect of the book.
As with so many aspects of this book, it felt as though the characterisation had reached a whole new level in this book. Jati and Ailo were very much the stars of the show, but the rest of the cast was just as unique and gripping in their own way, and I really felt that the dialogue shone. Nevair populates his book with living breathing characters and weaves a story around you that leaves you unable to avoid becoming invested in them, and between the wonder and the action in Jati’s Wager, prepare to have your heartstrings well and truly pulled by the twists, turns and turmoil in this book and the ending is really the icing on the cake – and I ended up having to sit there and read it again, because what a wonderful conclusion to this book.
Jati’s Wager is an absolutely fantastic addition to the series, and in my opinion, has taken it to new heights. I can’t wait to see where Nevair takes us for the final book in the series, and Jati’s Wager has firmly cemented Wind Tide as one of my favourite Sci-Fi series. This is a book and series that you need on your shelf if you enjoy multifaceted space operas, with all the scope and epicness of a far-reaching universe, combined with the intimacy of a character-driven story.
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.
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
You can enter here:a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js
If you’ve read it, or read it in the future, please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic book.