No Song, But Silence: Wintide Book 3

Book Reviews / Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

By: Jonathan Nevair
Genre: Space Opera, Science Fiction
Publisher: Shadow Spark Publishing

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content Warning: death of parent (mentioned), death of sibling, graphic violence and death, blood, trauma, genocide, colonialism, terrorism, executions

WARNING: There will be spoilers for Goodbye to the Sun & Jati’s Wager

No Song, But Silence is brilliant. It is the perfect ending to this amazing space opera. Each book in this series had a theme. In Goodbye to the Sun, it was about loss and misunderstanding which had tragic consequences. In Jati’s Wager, the theme was struggle with wisdom, as the People’s Army rebelled, led by Jati and thier faith to do what is right, while mentoring and guiding Ailo. While it also ended sadly, Jati’s wisdom stayed with her for life. No Song, But Silence gives us unity and hope. Above all of this is the overarching theme of environmental destruction for greed, a metaphor for what we are doing to this planet, and what drives the characters forward. The brilliance of Mr. Nevair’s writing is his ability to tie in all these themes perfectly. While each book will focus on different characters and struggles, he weaves them together perfectly to form a seamless trilogy that runs the reader through a gamut of emotions. His prose is sharp and excellent as ever. No Song, But Silence was written differently than the first 2 novels. They were written with chapters in the third person perspective, interspersed with chapters in the first-person narrative. This third book is told all in the third person. We are looking at hope and unity in No Song, But Silence, and writing it from this perspective gives the reader insight to all the major characters. What they feel we feel. Chapters with first person narratives can only give insight to one character. This was, as with each book, and excellent choice. It played out the story beautifully to its conclusion. I cannot recommend this series enough. Wind Tide is simply a must read for any science fiction fan.

No Song, But Silence picks up the story 13 years after Jati’s death. The story opens on Kol 2, which has become not only the dominant energy supplier in the Sag Arm, but ruled by religious fanaticism. Kol 2 is where Razor came from, and throughout the series, it is mentioned, but the story didn’t focus on it in particular after Razor. Mr. Nevair takes us back to Kol 2 to witness what it has become. We witness what fanaticism can do to a population and how its leaders will justify anything they do to the population in the name of their god. One priest, Lazro, pays dearly for his questioning the rule of the planet, thereby being sentenced to death. For their part in the failed mission on Garassia, Ailo and Nisi were confined to Nisi’s home planet, Berevia. There, under the guidance of Nisi, now her step-sister, Ailo grows into a strong young woman. As with the first two books, gender fluidity is still an important and essential part of this novel. With a trheat looming, they are released from confinement and Ailo finds herself back on Heroon, with all her memories of Jati coming into focus. She still misses her mentor and goes to see the likeness of him carved in a Catinool tree, where she carries a piece of wood from it. One day she vows, she will give it back to him. In another failed mission, Ailo disappears in the Sag Arm, unable to cope with the losses she has experienced. One of those losses is the book from Cin Quinti that belonged to her mother. Jati’s wisdom had taught her about human intervention on the environment, and the beauty all around, and she thinks of it again at this moment:

Ailo pined to cover Jati’s eyes so their Cantinool figure didn’t have to gaze over such tragedy for an eternity…The Cantinool trees would still grow and release their Marmish perfume onto the hot and humid winds. Ribbed Garkens would fly along the rivers of the interior. Plants would thrive…she found a strange comfort in that, a kind of pathos that reminded her of the arrogance and devasting power humans could wield over other living things.” J. Nevair, No Song, But Silence

Fast forward 31 years later. Somehow Lazro has survived and Ailo, living winder the name Tris Hartoon, is running a bar with her partner, Gren, on Tarkassi 9. Has she come full circle, back to where she we met her? Lazro and a mote, Ferra, find her and tell her of a plan to defeat the leadership of Kol 2, bringing peace back to the Sag Arm and freedom for its people. But what is Ailo willing to risk again? What ensues is a page turning, fast race against time with amazing space battles, and planetary chases. It was edge-of-your-seat exciting.

The Prose

As previously mentioned, the narrative of No Song, But Silence is different from the first two books. There are no chapters from the first-person narrative. Mr. Nevair’s prose, however, is as beautiful as it was in the first two books. His understanding of the environment and what has happened is profound. The terraforming of planets by Kol 2 into desert wastelands for greed to harvest wind energy, hoard it, and monopolize it to conquer other planets is not wasted on the reader. We get a very clear picture of what has happened, and what it means for the people who live there. Even more, we see what environmental destruction looks like and it’s not pretty. I always found this a metaphor for what we are doing to our own planet. Where will our continued destruction of the environment for greed lead us. In the opening chapter, we see a priest looking over the sands of Kol 2:

“We are not alone in fault. The Wind Tide is a human invention, an intrusion into the ecological spirit of the Arm. We reap more than air riled up into the energy. It is a world system of opposites made manifest. An ebb and flow, where action and reaction form the lifeblood of justice, haunting us with perpetual statis. We stagnate in a moral slack tide.” J. Nevair, No Song, But Silence

A human invention that so often has devastating consequences for ecosystems. His writing is so descriptive that as an Environmental Scientist, I would get so angry when planets were terraformed. To elicit a visceral response from a reader is writing that goes well beyond a simple story.

The Characters

Ailo has grown up and is still very much influenced by what Jati taught her. Nissi has also been a great influence to her, as she grew up in on Berevia under her guidance in their “banishment”. Ailo has matured and become physically tough, and still holds the belief of a free Sag Arm. She had a great character arc in this book, coming full circle, using all that her mentors taught her. She is nothing like the kid we met in Jati’s Wager, save for her love and everlasting allegiance to Jati.

Lazro is a new character, the “rebel” priest of the Targitians on Kol 2, who worship the god Helluean. He’s naïve at first, but his character mentally toughens up quickly. Lazro’s strength lies in his intelligence and his ability to decipher that the Tarigitians can be defeated. His is not physically strong, and has an aversion to killing. He was a priest, but he will do what is necessary. Having Lazro’s brains as a counter to the physical strength of other characters created a balance for the book. He is a gentle soul, and perhaps Lazro is the spark of hope.

Ferra is mote who joins with Lazro to find Ailo. He is the counter to Lazro in terms of his physical strength. Where Lazro takes time to plan, Ferra is more reckless. Having a character who is a mote was a smart decision. It also brought us full circle in terms of characters. We haven’t seen a mote since Razor in Goodbye to the Sun, and in the last book, it is a mote who helps bring hope. Ferra is also astute. Having grown up in the harsh desert of Kol 2, he understands the impact the wind energy has.

“Humanity should be wiser in the Arm,” Ferra said. “Our hubris fools un into thinking we are separate or better than the natural world.” He shook his head in his helmet. “We are nature.”… “
My people did it for Spans…lived with respect for the ecosystem. That was before belief and greed tore us apart. And what did we do? We alienated our species from a beautiful gift”
“What gift?”
J. Nevair, No Song, But Silence

When I read this passage, I was stunned. Mr. Nevair, in these words, summed up my life’s philosophy, and one that I always hoped we, as a people would come to realize. We are part of nature, not caretakers, nor do we have dominion over it. We need harmony and balance and once again be part of the greater whole.

Overall Thoughts

Once again, in No Song, But Silence, Jonathan Nevair has written an absolutely magnificent novel. It is the perfect ending to a trilogy that will remain with me long after I have finished it. We see Ailo grow up and develop into a smart, courageous woman, and the new characters and are fully developed as well with complete story arcs. The book leaves us with unity and hope, which now I see is where the first two were leading us. Mr. Nevair’s writing is beautiful, especially when he speaks to the interconnectedness to nature. It is perhaps these parts that touch me deeply, as I have worked in the field for over thirty years. I can only hope myself that our greed and destruction will not come to fruition and destroy what we have left.  As with all the books, No Song, But Silence is an emotional roller coaster. I sobbed in Jati’s Wager when he died, and sobbed in this book, too. But hope, there’s always hope. We just have to believe. No Song, But Silence is sheer perfection and science fictions at its most brilliant. I highly recommend it, and the entire Wind Tide Series.

Summary (from Storytellers on Tour)
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.

My thanks to Jonathan Nevair and Storytellers on Tour for a beautiful copy of No Song, But Silence

For more information about Jonathan Nevair visit his website at:
Review of Goodbye to the Sun
Review of Jati’s Wager
Purchase the Windtide Series on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

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