Monday, 4 February 2008
‘The Bright of the Sky’ – Kay Kenyon (Pyr Books)
It’s a big world out there and the odds are that someone else is probably reading whatever you’re reading right now (which is actually quite cool in a way). Let’s narrow things down a bit though. What do you reckon the odds are of two bloggers reading the same book at the same time for a review? If you had put money on this happening this week then you would have made some money as both myself and Pat read Kay Kenyon’s ‘The Bright of the Sky’. Pat beat me to it, with a review, and his thoughts are over Here . Having just finished the book I’m also looking forward to the sequel in what promises to be an enthralling series.
The Universe Entire is a dimension that exists inter-linked with our own. I’m a little hazy on some of the finer details (the world building is first class but I didn’t find some of the descriptive pieces, regarding the structure of the world, all that clear) but suffice it to say that the ‘Entire’ is covered by a sky of fire and is sustained by a never-ending river. The alien Tarig rule over the ‘Entire’ and it’s populace of alien species and ‘humans’ modelled on the Chinese culture of Earth. The only thing that star pilot Titus Quinn really remembers of the ‘Entire’ is that he had to leave his wife and daughter behind, when he escaped, so when the Minerva Corporation offer him a chance to go back he jumps at the opportunity to be reunited with his family. Nothing is that simple though. Life in the ‘Entire’ will force Titus to reassess his perspective and also face up to new challenges for back in our dimension, the stars are slowly going out…
I’ve already mentioned that some of the descriptive pieces, regarding the structure of the ‘Entire’, were a little bit vague to me although I was able to get a general idea of the setting. Where Kenyon excels though is in the work she has put into all the species that Titus will come across. From the ‘human’ Chalin to the horse-like Inyx, every race feels like it has been carefully nurtured and placed in the best place for it to flourish in the page. Characterisation also features prominently in my list of things that make this novel stand out. Kenyon really goes to work on getting the reader straight into the head of every character that she covers. By the end of the book I even found myself starting to feel for some of the characters that were opposing Titus on his quest. This style of characterisation was not without it’s problems though. In the book, the Chalin’s attitude towards the passing of time is that ‘everything happens in it’s own time’ and Kenyon seems to adopt this attitude as well. The thoughts of minor characters are elaborated on in great detail and Kenyon seems happy to let the story pick up in it’s own good time. While what is said is of great interest the pacing of the story sometimes suffered as a result. The story itself transcends it’s ‘stranger in a strange land’ origins by constantly forcing Titus to question himself and his surroundings. By the end of the book everything is so finely balanced that I have no idea what Titus will do next, I guess that I am going to have to read the sequel and find out ;o)
‘The Bright of the Sky’ does have its issues but is a remarkable beginning to a series that I am looking forward to seeing more of. Great stuff!
Eight and a Half out of Ten