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Bright of the Sky (Book 1 of The Entire and the Rose)

November 21st, 2010

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Book Overview:

Kay Kenyon, noted for her science fiction world-building, has in this new series created her most vivid and compelling society, the Universe Entire. In a land-locked galaxy that tunnels through our own, the Entire is a bizarre and seductive mix of long-lived quasi-human and alien beings gathered under a sky of fire, called the bright. A land of wonders, the Entire is sustained by monumental storm walls and an exotic, never-ending river. Over all, the elegant and cruel Tarig rule supreme. Into this rich milieu is thrust Titus Quinn, former star pilot, bereft of his beloved wife and daughter who are assumed dead by everyone on earth except Quinn. Believing them trapped in a parallel universe--one where he himself may have been imprisoned--he returns to the Entire without resources, language, or his memories of that former life. He is assisted by Anzi, a woman of the Chalin people, a Chinese culture copied from our own universe and transformed by the kingdom of the bright. Learning of his daughter's dreadful slavery, Quinn swears to free her. To do so, he must cross the unimaginable distances of the Entire in disguise, for the Tarig are lying in wait for him. As Quinn's memories return, he discovers why. Quinn's goal is to penetrate the exotic culture of the Entire--to the heart of Tarig power, the fabulous city of the Ascendancy, to steal the key to his family's redemption. But will his daughter and wife welcome rescue? Ten years of brutality have forced compromises on everyone. What Quinn will learn to his dismay is what his own choices were, long ago, in the Universe Entire. He will also discover why a fearful multiverse destiny is converging on him and what he must sacrifice to oppose the coming storm. This is high-concept SF written on the scale of Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld, Roger Zelazny's Amber Chronicles, and Dan Dimmons's Hyperion.


Book Review

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out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12796 user reviews
Science Fiction Kay Kenyon, noted for her science fiction world-building, has in this new series created her most vivid and compelling society, the Universe Entire. In a land-locked galaxy that tunnels through our own, the Entire is a bizarre and seductive mix of long-lived quasi-human and alien beings gathered under a sky of fire, called the bright. A land of wonders, the Entire is sustained by monumental storm walls and an exotic, never-ending river. Over all, the elegant and cruel Tarig rule supreme. Into this rich milieu is thrust Titus Quinn, former star pilot, bereft of his beloved wife and daughter who are assumed dead by everyone on earth except Quinn. Believing them trapped in a parallel universe--one where he himself may have been imprisoned--he returns to the Entire without resources, language, or his memories of that former life. He is assisted by Anzi, a woman of the Chalin people, a Chinese culture copied from our own universe and transformed by the kingdom of the bright. Learning of his daughter's dreadful slavery, Quinn swears to free her. To do so, he must cross the unimaginable distances of the Entire in disguise, for the Tarig are lying in wait for him. As Quinn's memories return, he discovers why. Quinn's goal is to penetrate the exotic culture of the Entire--to the heart of Tarig power, the fabulous city of the Ascendancy, to steal the key to his family's redemption. But will his daughter and wife welcome rescue? Ten years of brutality have forced compromises on everyone. What Quinn will learn to his dismay is what his own choices were, long ago, in the Universe Entire. He will also discover why a fearful multiverse destiny is converging on him and what he must sacrifice to oppose the coming storm. This is high-concept SF written on the scale of Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld, Roger Zelazny's Amber Chronicles, and Dan Dimmons's Hyperion.
http://www.bookpool.org/479-bright-of-the-sky-book-1-of-the-entire-and-the-rose/

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  1. Paladin08
    November 21st, 2010 at 22:35 | #1

    Rating

    Yes, I picked up this story because the cover caught my attention. Anyone who says you shouldn’t do this is lying to themselves that covers don’t matter. It mattered here and I’m glad for it.

    I listened to the unabridged audiobook version narrated by Christian Rummell.

    First off, Mr. Rummell does an excellent job!

    His voice reflected the full range of emotions and provided very distinct voices for characters. A superb performance worth listening to, even if you’ve already read the book.

    To the story. . .

    I have to agree with the one reviewer who commented that this was like Flash Gordon and how one individual can have such an demanding impact on another civilization. The character of Titus has his honorable strengths: unwavering determination and family is his 1st priority. These strengths propel him through obstacles, but they also become his greatest weaknesses by creating more obstacles.

    I’m personally tired of another story that has a “strong female protagonist” (a.k.a. Ripley from Aliens) and so found it refreshing to have a strong male character that seems missing from a lot of the stories I seem to come across lately.

    There is a wide-range of supporting characters who all have their interesting parts and thus don’t feel like cardboard dummies but “real” characters in their own right.

    The science is very light in this book, making the sense that I was reading more of a fantasy story vs. a sci-fi. So if you are looking for some hard-science book then this isn’t for you.

    The story moves at an even pace. It’s not a roller-coaster of excitement like a James Rollins novel, but it keeps things moving. I personally like the testosterone action stories, but the intrigue in this story creates the suspense that other books use through physical action. Thus realize this is more of a story of alien espionage.

    The book is a cliffhanger!

    All initial goals are NOT resolved only further frustrated by the story events. Thus, if you are looking to simply get a sampling of this author and stop reading after this book, then think again. I’m currently 50% of the way through book 2 and it is engaging, but I still prefer to have each book resolve some major plot line. This doesn’t do that.

    OVERALL:

    I’m hooked.

    The world is rich with characters and plots-within-plots.

    The main character of Titus is strong enough to carry the story.

    I find myself rooting for many of minor characters hoping they will play a bigger part and hoping they will also find a happy ending. But I don’t think I’ll find out if anyone has a happy ending till book 4.

  2. M. Borchelt
    November 22nd, 2010 at 14:20 | #2

    Rating

    I thought this book was great. I generally tend towards the shoot em up side of science fiction, but I have to say I got completely lost in this book. It was really mesmerizing. And, to top it off, I’ve read some of Kenyons other stuff with mixed feelings. I’ve read two other books from her (Braided World and Seeds of Time) and I’d give them only a 3.5 and 2 star rating. But this book was great!

    The characters were likable, hatable, lovable,… they were very good characters. As the story progresses the characters progress and change as they develop relationships with the people they interact with. I don’t think I’ve read another book that’s done better with its characters.

    The plot is solid and interesting; however, it can seem a little whimsical and the science of it seems a little stretched, but, other then that, it’s got an excellent plot.

    One thing I enjoyed was that this book was not very predictable. One page you think there character is going to do this and the next you think something completely different. I love that in a book. Well done!

  3. Patrick M. Wolohan
    November 24th, 2010 at 14:43 | #3

    Rating

    30 Words or Less: An undeniable triumph of world building, Kay Kenyon’s The Entire and The Rose is a science fantasy tale of two worlds worth exploring despite the gradual pace dictated by occasional prose problems.

    Bright of the Sky: 3/5

    The Good: Absolutely unique world-building that combines science fiction and fantasy elements and continues to grow throughtout the entire series; Carefully plotted narrative that spans and evolves over four volumes; The world is exceptionally well integrated into the narrative rather than being adjacent to it.

    The Bad: Early volumes have problems with jarring perspective changes; Worldbuilding often uses infodumping rather than in-narrative elements; The story isn’t well segmented into individual novels, leaving readers with an all-or-none decision.

    The Review: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Rarely is this truer than in Kay Kenyon’s science fiction/fantasy hybrid quadrilogy. An undeniable triumph of world building split into four books, The Entire and the Rose is 1700 pages of complex characters and intricate narrative. The events of the series revolve around Titus Quinn, the first denizen of the Rose (our universe) to cross through into The Entire, a complex infinite world constructed by the harsh, alien Tarig and inhabited by a number of races of their creation. Several years before the series begins, Quinn and his wife and daughter were pulled into the Entire when the ship he was piloting broke apart mid-wormhole jump. Quinn returns months later in our time with no family and little recollection of what happened despite living in the Entire for over a decade. When science proves that his ravings about a second reality may in fact be true, Quinn returns to the Entire in search of his missing wife and daughter and to explore what, if any, benefit The Entire may offer Earth. As Quinn quickly becomes embroiled in the politics of the world he left behind, it becomes obvious that much more is at stake than the fate of his family. The plot only gets more complex from there, the majority of which takes place in the profoundly strange world of the Entire, although the story does take place in both universes.

    To provide any more detail than that would ruin the game-changing revelations that occur frequently throughout the series, shifting plots and loyalties in unexpected but exciting ways. There are several power players on both sides of the divide and rarely is there any way of knowing who is playing who. If the Earth universe is referred to as the Rose, the other universe labeled as the Entire might be better known as the Onion. From the start of the series to the final pages, Kenyon slowly peels back layer after layer of world building, unveiling an amazingly concocted world. Religion, politics, cultural divides, a forever war, teenage cults, complex transit systems: the facets of the Entire go on and on. Kenyon details aspect after aspect of her created universe and she does an unbelievable job of unobtrusively bringing the elements she has previously cultivated back into the main plot.

    It’s a rare occurence but if anything there is almost too much world building. The Entire is inhabited by a number of races and species all of which are fairly unique when compared to the genre standards. However, a few of these races are almost superfluous, with not a single primary or secondary character coming from their ranks. Kenyon could have either edited them out or integrated them into the story as well as she did the primary species of Humans, Chalin, Tarig, Inyx, Hirrin, and Paion. The cultural depth of these imagined races is continually capitalized upon by Kenyon and as a result the few species that don’t get starring roles ultimately fall to the wayside.

    While the extraneous elements could have been handled better, the world of the Entire and the thoroughly constructed characters that inhabit it are the main attractions of the series. Kenyon’s writing, on the other hand, leaves a little bit to be desired especially in the early volumes. Kenyon writes from an extremely tight third person perspective and she has an unfortunate tendency to jump perspectives mid-scene without warning, generating confusion and necessitating rereading just to confirm which character was thinking what. Kenyon gets better at this as the books go on but early on these jarring transitions occur disappointingly often especially considering a small change symbol (which is often used to switch perspectives between scenes) could have easily been used to remedy this problem. As the books progress, Kenyon does manage to reduce the frequency with which these occur. The third and fourth volumes are much stronger than the first in this regard.

    Kenyon also has a propensity to take a “tell not show” approach to her worldbuilding and while the world is interesting enough, there is no in-narrative reason for the characters to lecture the way they do. Consequently, the books of The Entire and The Rose read somewhat slowly. While not a bad thing in and of itself, these are not necessarily beach reads and due to the complex nature of the world and plot, it should be read in its entirety for full effect, commanding a significant time investment on the part of the reader.

    Additionally, it is important to bear in mind that this epic series would be best described as science fantasy. While Kenyon maintains the premise that all of the places and structures of her world are science-based, the science satisfies Clarke’s axiom and is indistinguishable from magic. Anyone who goes into this series expecting to understand the physics underpinning the world will be sorely disappointed. Despite the trappings of science that frame the Entire, at its core it’s a fantasy world; it exists and behaves the way it does because the story dictates the way it does. But it works and it works well.

    Here is a review of the individual volume.

    Bright of the Sky: Arguably the weakest book in the series, Kenyon’s series debut suffers from exposition overload. Kenyon essentially sets up the story three times; first in the future Earth universe, than in the future Entire world, and then revealing Quinn’s backstory and what occurred during his first trip to the Entire. With three full histories to explain in additional to all of the characters she introduces, it doesn’t feel like a whole lot happens. The last fifty or so pages feel rushed when compared to the whole and while the end of the book comes at a natural stopping point it doesn’t really resolve any of the threads introduced. With such a To-Be-Continued ending, it produces contradictory emotions – on one hand there was too little payoff after the slower prose associated with complex world building; on the other hand, A World Too Near beckoned from the shelf immediately. Bright of the Sky is also the book that suffers the most from those aforementioned perspective shifts.

    Ultimately, The Entire and The Rose is more than a sum of its composite volumes, so much so that it was too difficult to reach a conclusion on one book before reading the others. The story flows through the pages like one of the arms of the Nigh (a river of exotic matter from the story), bearing strongly motivated characters through alternating periods of slow progress and torrential action. The narrative twists and turns unexpectedly, creating new letters to place between points A and B. At the core of Kenyon’s series is her imagined Entire, rivaling any fantasy world for its complexity and surpassing the vast majority for sheer inventiveness. Despite some missteps in presentation, Kay Kenyon’s The Entire and The Rose has created a unique science fantasy series that is worth reading, well, in its entirety.

  4. C. R. Lawrence
    November 25th, 2010 at 03:47 | #4

    Rating

    I don’t read a lot of science fiction, but I do enjoy a good story and that is exactly what I found when I opened the pages of Bright of the Sky by Kay Kenyon. The characters in the book were brought to life for me and the worlds so vivid and real. The pages were packed with enough suspense and drama to keep me on the edge of my chair and it was easy to envision this book (and the promised 3 to follow) as a series of movies. Whether you are an avid scifi reader or just an occasional reader like me, I am sure you will so thoroughly enjoy this book that I can’t hesitate to recomend it. Now what to do during the next 12 months while waiting for the second in the series? Thanks Kay for a great read.

  5. S. S. White
    November 25th, 2010 at 18:12 | #5

    Rating

    The book is science fiction, but it also feels like a fantasy, but in a very grounded, realistic way. Arthur C. Clarke is always quoted saying “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” and that statement really shines through in the world-building involving the Tarig and the Entire. So much of this book left me shaking my head in bewilderment, wondering how such things were even possible in a science fictional universe, but I kept remembering that quote, and I took comfort from the fact that the characters questioned the very things I was too, and such things will apparently play a larger role in the overall scheme of things.

    And speaking of the overall scheme of things, I have some suspicions. To write them here would reveal some serious plot points about the book, but Kenyon has certainly raised some questions, and there’s so much I’m looking forward to discovering in the later books. This is an easy book to recommend, because there’s so much to enjoy and appreciate, and I’m even looking forward to tackling some of her earlier titles when I get the chance.

  6. Louise Marley
    November 27th, 2010 at 15:33 | #6

    Rating

    It’s so nice to have fun reading science fiction again! Kenyon’s story is big and sprawling and colorful, and yet the story is so accessible, with memorable characters and good, but not esoteric, science. I love this adventure/romance/thriller of a book, to say nothing of the fact that the cover itself is worth the price. Kay Kenyon and Stephan Martiniere (the cover artist) make a great pair, and bode well for the future of this kind of sf.

  7. K. Maxwell
    November 28th, 2010 at 01:54 | #7

    Rating

    When Titus Quinn, a top pilot for Minerva Corporation vanishes with his ship in a disaster it is hardly surprising in itself. However, when he turns up a year later raving about an alternative universe that his family is stranded in he is quietly mothballed by his employers – that is until they unexpectedly find proof that maybe he wasn’t raving and that Titus may be their best resource to uncover an alternative method of interstellar travel.

    The Entire and the Rose is a strange title for a book, but it quickly makes sense once you start reading the story. Titus is a driven and tortured character. He’s a man who’s past means much more than even he realises and he may turn out to be fulcrum on which the future of the universe depends.

    I enjoyed this novel. It’s well written with an original and beautifully described alternate universe. In many ways this book sets up the basics of the characters of this series, some of the stakes involved and gives the reader a good understanding of two worlds. It’s certainly enough to make me buy book 2 of the series in hardcover when it becomes available – which looks to be 4 books long if the authors introduction is anything to go by.

  8. Luxie P.
    November 28th, 2010 at 15:26 | #8

    Rating

    Something about a book really has to stand out, for good or ill, to make me actually write a review about it. The catalyst, for this novel, is the fact that the concept is great – a really interesting story – but the execution is miserable. I started to put the book down several times, out of irritation, but ending up actually finishing it just for the sake of the story.

    The problem is that it really is poorly written:

    – Awful, jarring switches between character and perspective – errors of style and flow that are taught in freshman composition.

    – A hero who is really a jerk, but every horrible decision and character flaw is forgiven because the poor, angsty man has just suffered SO MUCH…sob. He treats everyone around him like crap – but feels completely justified in his own distrust and anger at others.

    – The human villains are cartoonishly evil – making unsubtle threats that make no sense for someone with their supposed power and influence and position to make. And the attempts to humanize them are laughable, as well.

    Again, the story isn’t bad! I’d love to know how the it ends…just not enough to sit through another book (or, rather, three more books) of the author’s atrocious writing!

  9. Charlotte Harley
    November 29th, 2010 at 00:58 | #9

    Rating

    Excellent sci-fantasy adventure, HK review notwithstanding. Gorgeous creatures, cultures, and a lovely production on the book itself. I agree with the other reviewer: WHAT A COVER. Small editing problem on pages 48-49. I definitely want to go back with Titus again, buy this one.

  10. M. Daly
    November 29th, 2010 at 23:27 | #10

    Rating

    This is a brilliant piece of SF/F writing and does not deserve to suffer simply because HK reviewed it in “her” usual, incoherent style. The two professional reviews give a good summary of the plot, so I’ll just comment on why I enjoyed the book so much:

    Kenyon’s characters are so vivid that I found myself attached to even minor characters, wondering what happens to them after they leave the stage. There are only a handful of writers whose characters I’ve actually had dreams about, writing further adventures for them in my head, after I finish a book. Kenyon is one of those writers, and I can’t wait to read the subsequent installments in the series.

    The characters are the stars for me here, but I must mention how fascinating the world is that Kenyon has created. The two parallel worlds are revealed gradually to the reader throughout the course of the book, but even from the first scenes they feel solidly real. They make sense because Kenyon adds the kind of telling details that bring them alive most subtly and completely for me. Both worlds come complete with nuanced social and political stresses: corporate greed and executive dogfights, difficult family dynamics, political power struggles, clashes between cultures, xenophobia, and lots more. It sounds like a lot for one book, but the strands are so skillfully built and intertwined that the reader’s knowledge builds in an apparently natural way. From the first, wrenching scene in the Rose (future Earth) universe–where we encounter an entire ship at the mercy of technology so complex that only one person on board is capable of fully understanding, much less controlling it–to the first scenes in the Entire universe–where we witness a summary execution by one of the powerful and terrifying Tarig–Kenyon sets up fascinating and illuminating parallels between the two parallel worlds.

    The plot is complex and surprising also. The pace is never dull, yet events are allowed the proper time to build believably and achieve resonance for the reader. Kenyon doesn’t pull any punches, and the consequences of the characters’ decisions are sometimes brutal, adding increasing depth to the plot and characterization as the book progresses.

    Entirely enjoyable. Highly recommended for those who enjoy both SF and Fantasy worldbuilding and want something complex and engrossing.

  11. JFBeilman
    November 30th, 2010 at 13:55 | #11

    Rating

    This is a very deep book set in one of the most fascinating worlds I’ve read about so far. The plot has already been discussed elswhere so I will, instead talk about the alternate world itself. In this universe, refered to as the Entire, there is a diverse aray of alien geography and alien cultures that are very exotic. This makes it far more interesting than our universe, which is refered to as the Rose. The Entire has some features in commin with Frank Herbert’s Dune. Among them are its “navatars” and the effect of the “Bright” on biology. Another fascinating aspect of the Entire are the Chalin people who are modeled on Chinese culture. The Entire, itself, is a mostly flat plain the size of a galaxy, which houses countless billions of “sentients.” These come in a variety of shapes and sizes, not all of them humanoid.

    These conciderations come to weigh on Titus Quen’s mind when he has to make a terrible decision which could involve the death of countless “people.” This is what makes this a very thoughtful and deep book. I can’t wait for the next one to come out.

  12. The Doctah
    November 30th, 2010 at 20:58 | #12

    Rating

    I have followed Kenyon’s writing career closely and have read every one of her novels. There’s no question that Bright of the Sky is her very best work yet. It is everything that you expect from her work (beautifully crafted characters that you really care about, a plot and story that holds you attention from the first page to the last and last, but certainly not least, a milieu and “world” that is utterly believable even in its most fantastical aspects) and it is everything that you expect from any science fiction/fantasy story. This truly is one case in which the blubs on Bright’s cover can be believed — there isn’t anyone on the science fiction scene these days who does it as good as Kenyon.

    One of the structural aspects of this book that I found particularly interesting was the seamless interweaving of traditional “hard” science fiction with a fascinating fantasy overlay. I don’t often see this done well (or at all), but Kenyon has managed to do it in a way that makes perfect sense in the context of the story line.

    Bright is a grand adventure undertaken by people whose reality seems to leap off the pages. The off-earth forays of Titus Quinn take place in an almost magical and mysterious world, but one whose structure and purpose (when you find out what that is) make perfect sense. This world (the “Entire”) is populated with some of the most interesting and intriguing characters (recognizable humans whose lives are patterned from glimpses of an ancient Chinese cultrure) and critters (you’ll have to read Bright yourself) that I have come across in my reading. The world-building is just delightful.

    Bright is apparently the first book in a 4-book series so there are some story elements that remain loose at the end of this first book. But the story of Bright, itself, is complete and concluded in this first book. I was left with the usual reaction at the end of a 1st book — “What happens next?” In addition to that anticipation, though, I also got a nice sense of satisfaction that many of the important questions raised and conflicts posed in Bright were resolved (even though that resolution set the stage for what must come next in Volume 2 and subequest books).

    All in all, this was a delightful read and, as I noted above, the best work that Kenyon has done to date. This is one that is worth the hardcover price — you’re probably going to hear people talking about this one and I think you’re going to want to read it.

  13. Shaun Duke
    December 2nd, 2010 at 04:57 | #13

    Rating

    I remember exactly what prompted me to pick up this book when I saw it in the store: the cover. I’m rather partial to covers, especially covers that really reflect the genre of the book. In this case you can see that this is a weird cross between SF and F, and that very much reflects what takes place in the book.

    Mankind travels to the stars through Kardashev tunnels–dangerous ‘wormholes’ that are unstable and unpredictable (sometimes you make it, sometimes you get torn to pieces). Travel is controlled by a massive company called Minerva. But with no other known way to travel quickly to the stars, some people are starting to wonder if its worth the millions that are lost on destroyed ships to travel in space at all. In comes Titus Quinn.

    Titus Quinn is a man who has been to another universe, by accident. His ship, his crew, and his family were with him when it happened. When he appeared suddenly on planet without his wife and daughter, suspicions arise. He talks about this other universe, yet parts of his memory are gone. Nobody believes him and he decides to live a life of solitude, even from his own family.

    But when a ship’s mSap (AI) goes haywire and uncovers a way to this other universe, Minerva suddenly needs Titus to navigate the completely alien world beyond and help find a way to use this other universe to make travel safer. For Titus, however, this is an opportunity for him to find his wife and daughter in a place called the Entire, where ruthless alien lords rule over other sentient beings and death, while forbidden, seems all too easy to come by.

    Bright of the Sky is an interesting novel. While the basics of the story are purely science fiction, it could also be fantasy if you took away the space ships and obviously advanced technologies. I found the world that Kenyon created to be rather fascinating, not so much because of the strong Asian influence, but in the way that she designed her various aliens. No species are useless; they all seem to have a purpose that makes sense. I particularly enjoyed her descriptions of these different species–their bodies, minds, uses, hobbies, etc.

    World building aside, there were some things I really had some problems with. The first chapter ran into an issue that seems prevalent lately: the science got in the way. The first few pages work rather well, but Kenyon seems to let her grasp of quantum mechanics and AIs get in the way and it feels like it clouds over what is actually happening. Another issue was that she periodically switched POV in the middle of sections. Sometimes I caught it, and other times it left me confused about who was talking.

    Given that this is part of a series (a trilogy I believe), I can forgive the rather sad ending to the novel. Presumably the author intends to tie up the plot line that didn’t get resolved due to other issues, which became more pressing for Titus.

    All in all, the novel is good. It would be suited for someone that looks for a different flavor of adventure story–a sort of more subtle adventure that doesn’t attempt to be too grand until the end, fulfilling what I would call a sense of wonder over a sense of pure action. It’ll be interesting to see where the story goes in the next book.

  14. Karen Fishler
    December 4th, 2010 at 15:36 | #14

    Rating

    This book is as big and bold as science fiction gets. You travel with Titus Quinn, the main character, through the universe and into another world on a great wave of narrative energy, and encounter a scary and fabulously detailed alien environment (the storm walls are especially cool). Yet the terrific world-building is balanced by the alien creatures and the many intriguing human and almost-human characters, my favorite being Quinn’s daughter, who – well, I wouldn’t want to spoil it. Anyway, Kay Kenyon is one of those writers that is so good you wonder why everybody doesn’t know about her . . . I can only hope this novel gives her the breakthrough she deserves. Once you read Bright of the Sky and want to read one of her other books while you wait for Book Two of The Entire and The Rose, check out Tropic of Creation. Until this came out, it was my favorite Kenyon novel.

  15. Tai Chi
    December 5th, 2010 at 01:37 | #15

    Rating

    The middling rating is due to one huge flaw. The writing is good. Compelling minor characters populate the fully imagined alternative universe. Sure, you can poke holes in “The Entire” concept, but basically it’s well-done. I also think the writing is good and direct with plenty of transitive verbs. You will keep reading. There are a few slow points, but suspense about what happens keeps you going. So you may think I was on track to rate this book 4 1/2 or 5 stars, and you’d be right. However, to set up the final chase section the author writes a plot device that is so offensive to me, and so repugnant to me, that I would have rated 1 star if I had not enjoyed the book so much until then. Quinn the protagonist turns into a brutal, murdering monster for no good reason. It’s a total break with his character throughout the book (and the author’s attempts to remind us of some earlier erratic behavior don’t do it). I don’t read much scifi or fantasy and maybe aliens aren’t considered people, but that attitude’s not true to this work. Also, it’s violently inconsistent with Quinn’s close associations with the aliens, and his former wife’s associations as well. It’s totally unnecessary to the plot of this book also, since a simple alarm would have served as well. The author forgets what Raymond Chandler taught us – the hero walks through a dark world, and he may be a cynical anti-hero, but he cannot be the darkness. Here, through some sort of moral blindness in the author, a very enjoyable work is betrayed, and the hero is turned into the darkest shadow of all. It’s a plot device that rings false. Moreover, it betrays the sympathies of the reader, and Quinn’s supporters in the book itself, utterly. This book left a bad taste in my mouth. As Agatha Christie had a character say in “Murder On The Orient Express,” harming a child cannot be forgiven.

    The betrayal of the Quinn character was extra dissapointing because otherwise the book was good. It’s crucial for a protagonist to make morally justifiable decisions at decision points. Two books worth reading that stay true to their protagonists are “Scent of Shadows” and “The Wounded Man.” “Scent of Shadows” is an urban fanstasy and “The Wounded Man” is a hardboiled mystery. In these two fine examples, protagonists walk through a dark landscape, and deal plenty of violence, but they remain better than their surroundings. It’s crucial to retaining the sympathies of the reader that the anti-hero remain noble at the core. All I can say about “Bright” is – wow, what a mistake to turn the hero into a brutal monster.

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