Saturday, May 17, 2008

A World Too Near, by Kay Kenyon

A World Too Near changes the nature of the story Kay Kenyon set up in Bright of the Sky. In the first book Titus Quinn, a human star pilot from Earth, returned to The Entire, a parallel universe in which his wife and daughter are held captive. Kay Kenyon's description of The Entire from her website gives a good sense of what The Entire is:
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.
At the conclusion of Bright of the Sky, Titus returned to Earth (also known as The Rose to denizens of The Entire) with the knowledge that the Entire is dying and that the Tarig lords intend to destroy The Rose (Earth) in order to use its energy to maintain The Entire.

Now, in A World Too Near, Titus Quinn returns to The Entire to destroy the fortress of Ahnenhoon and with it, the weapon which would destroy The Rose. To do so, he must once again risk his own life and the lives of those few of The Entire who are willing to harbor and help Titus.

Kay Kenyon opens A World Too Near not with Titus, but rather with his wife Johanna, long held captive in The Entire. With this opening Kenyon expands the novel to provide a new perspective and while A World Too Near is essentially the story of Titus Quinn, it is also that of Johanna and her choice to save The Rose even though she knows she will never return.

When I reviewed Bright of the Sky I noted that while I was impressed with Kenyon's writing craft and imagination, the novel moved far too slowly and that Bright of the Sky required too much effort for not enough reward.

After reading A World Too Near I've changed my mind. The reward is there.

A World Too Near is a much stronger novel than Bright of the Sky, one in which Kenyon's imagination is matched by her storytelling, where the excitement and tension of not knowing if Titus will succeed in saving The Rose or when the double cross will happen. Kenyon expands our knowledge of the world(s) and tells a fairly fast paced story at the same time. She uses old and new characters in different ways, and rewards those readers who took the time to get this far.

A World Too Near is well worth the time.

Reading copy provided by Pyr SF.

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