Bright of the Sky
by Kay Kenyon
Jakob’s Goodreads Rating: (4) of 5 Stars – “Really liked it”
Recommended for: Fantasy readers looking for a series
In a land-locked galaxy that tunnels through our own, the Entire gathers both human and alien beings under a sky of fire, called the bright. A land of wonders, the Entire is sustained by monumental storm walls and a 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 earth except Quinn. Believing them trapped in a parallel universe—one where he himself may have been imprisoned—he returns to the Entire to free them. Thus begins a tale of high adventure and vast concept, replete with alien cultures, an exotic Mandarin bureaucracy, and a man with nothing left to lose. He may not find what he seeks, but he’ll be offered a view of the multiverse, the power of princes, an unthinkable revenge—and unexpectedly, love.
In this, her first series, Kay Kenyon has created high-concept SF written on the scale of Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld, Roger Zelazny’s Amber Chronicles, and Dan Simmons’s Hyperion.
This book was actually really hard for me to pick a rating. I settled on 4-stars, but there were some issues with it. I ranked it a little higher as there are great indications that through the course of the series this will be really great and the questions I had with the first book will probably be answered. (Currently there are 4 books out in the Entire and the Rose.)
The scope of this book builds and builds the course of the novel. We learn that the universe Titus comes from is called the Rose and the “other place” is called the Entire. (Hence the name of the series.) We find out pretty quickly that Titus somehow crossed into this other place before with his family and somehow he came back, but without his wife and daughter. When we meet Titus, it has been two years since he returned with little to no memory of what happened to him. Through the course of the book we learn some of what happened to Titus and what happened to his memories. We learn that the Entire is well aware of the Rose and one of the rules of society is that the Rose should never know of them. The Tarig have manufactured the entire universe and society in a way that elevates them.
At times a bit of fantasy seems to be mixed in yet, but perhaps we just don’t have all of the explinations. The part where we learned how Titus lost his memories seemed a bit weak to me, though there were many open threads and perhaps this was just one of them. I did however enjoy the story and like to read series, so was happy with the open threads. What she does do a great job of here is world building. The Bright is described just the right amount and more importantly the changes in how Titus views it are done very well and believable.
This series has been compared to Dune, which I think is a good comparison. The complexity isn’t quite as buried as Dune is, but there are complex and unanswered questions throughout the book and left open at the end. I am looking forward to picking up the rest of the series and continuing to discover the world and universe that Kenyon has given us.