So I just finished Kay Kenyon‘s novel Bright of the Sky. And it was fantastic.
The novel is the first in her Rose and the Entire series. The Rose and the Entire are also the setting. The ‘Rose’ is our universe, and the ‘Entire’ is a parallel universe of truly epic proportions.
Kenyon does a fantastic job of blending science fiction and fantasy. The Entire is a world with a wholly different set of physics than our universe. At the same time, it’s a scientifically sound universe in and of itself.
The beginning of the book, which involves a distant future and a bit of science fact, is laid out in such a way that I, an English major with minimal scientific knowledge, was able to get what she was saying, the nitty gritty details of the scientific plausibility of the world she was revealing. It was deft, and it was appreciated.
The Entire is a world unlike anything I have ever read. Though it is science fiction, the sheer scope of its alien characteristics made it feel like it was a fantasy world. Weird creatures, unique customs, and a system of mysticism that borders on the magic, all combine to make you wonder at it all.
Now, the protagonist Titus Quinn (who gets the award for most badass name of a protagonist of a book read by me in the last six months) is your standard fish out of water. He’s from the Rose (our world) and he goes to the Entire (their world). His internal commentary give us a point of reference. So far, pretty standard. But Kenyon takes it a step further – ten years before the book even started, he was there. (These aren’t spoilers.) He’s suppressed these memories, and as he explores the Entire, they come back to him. So rather than being your standard stranger, he’s actually quite famous over there, and has to deal with that. A very nice twist on an established trope.
Best of all is Kenyon’s writing style. In addition to making the science incredibly accessible, Kenyon’s words just flow past you. There are occasional sound bites of truly beautiful prose, but for the most part, the words are ignored and all you take away is there meaning. For me, with a novel about a concept world like the Entire, that’s the way I like it. Every paragraph flows seamlessly together into a constantly streaming narrative. It’s really craftsmanship of the highest order.
Overall: 5 out of 7 Roses.