Goodbye to the Sun – Jonathan Nevair

On the desert planet of Kol 2, the Motes have been oppressed for years by the Targitians, and long to regain their freedom within the Sagittarius Arm. A resistance is developing. The Motes, led by the pilot Razor, abduct the influential ambassador Keen Draeden in order to broker a deal for their independence. However, when things fail to go as planned, Razor and the Motes must work with Draeden, whose past continues to haunt him.

When people ask me about Keen Draeden, I always lie. The truth is, I never really knew Keen. He wasn’t the kind of person who let you in.

I, Laura, read Goodbye to the Sun, the first installment of Jonathan Nevair’s Wind Tide trilogy. WOW, what a start! I was instantly taken in by the prose. Nevair’s writing is so beautiful and really draws you in and connects you with the story and characters. After reading the first page of this book, I knew I would love it. Nevair perfectly describes the landscapes of the Sagittarius Arm. You feel completely immersed in the scenes on Kol 2 and Heroon. The unique tides of the blue desert sands and the weather patterns on Kol 2 were also a nice addition to the story and added some depth to the planet.

I liked that gender identity and politics were part of this book. The characters address each other in a way that allows readers to learn more about the culture/gender politics and how the characters are identifying at the time. My only critique of this is that the way the characters identify their gender/pronouns is described at several encounters that the characters identify themselves, which didn’t seem totally necessary to me. There were also some other aspects of the story that may have been over explained a bit, but I take this as more of a world/plot building tool in a first novel. I’m assuming that these explanations become less frequent as you read on in the Wind Tide books.

This book shifts, with a portion of the book told in first person account from Razor, a member of the Motes. She is working to negotiate the life of well Draeden in order to provide a better path forward for her people who have been stripped of so much. The Motes are a group of people whose life on the planet Kol 2 is changed forever by colonialism. Treated as lesser beings, the Motes are secluded and removed from their own land and the results are devastating. The lush planet becomes a vacant desert. Razor and her people have been fighting for years to give their community a better life and to reunite their members. This fight takes them away from their homeland on a tumultuous mission that they didn’t expect, but hopefully allows them to rebuild their community.

The other portion of the book is a third person narrative that follows ambassador Keen Draeden. When Keen is first introduced, I didn’t like this character very much. However, Nevair’s third person account humanizes Draeden and allows readers to find that his situation is not as black and white as we may believe. Keen is haunted by his past in many ways and it makes him so much more relatable and readers are able to empathize with his situation.

‘What is it I fear, exactly?’

‘What you see before you.’

‘And that is?’

‘The past. And the future.’”

There is an author’s note at the beginning of the book that informs readers that Goodbye to the Sun is inspired by the tragedy of Antigone. I was not that familiar with the play, but knew of Antigone as Oedipus’s daughter from mythology. I did read a brief synopsis of the play after finishing Nevair’s book, and think that it was a very creative adaptation of Antigone.

While I admit that I am currently in my “sci-fi” era, (in which I have found myself drawn to science fiction stories and been enjoying them greatly), I would have enjoyed this book regardless. Goodbye To The Sun is an excellent book with interesting characters, complications, political intrigue, and action. I will definitely be continuing on with the series and look forward to seeing how Nevair shapes this story going forward.

5/5 stars

Read this book if you enjoy: Andor (Disney+); Dune by Frank Herbert; Dune (HBOmax); The Book of Boba Fett (Disney+); The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

When I was reading Goodbye to the Sun, I got so many Andor “vibes,” but if you like any of the above titles/media, you will find similar themes in Goodbye to the Sun. 

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