Book: The Bright of the Sky
Author: Kay Kenyon
Category: Science Fiction
Series: The Entire and the Rose, Book 1
Titus Quinn along with his wife and young daughter were thought to be dead after a space mission gone wrong. When Titus reappeared with white hair, aged, little memory of his time spent away, but claiming to have been to another realm, Minerva, the company that had sent him on his mission, figured that he was distraught over the loss of his wife and child. But Quinn was adamant that he had been to a parallel universe and that his wife and daughter were still there. Minerva wrote him off as crazy, let him go, and paid him to keep his mouth shut about what he believed had happened.
Then an artificial intelligence system leads Minerva to question whether Quinn's nonsense ramblings might have been true. They pursue an unwilling Titus Quinn in hopes that they will be able to get him to go back to this parallel universe in a mission find the correlates that will allow easy access between the realms. At first Quinn doesn't want to give the company that deserted him the satisfaction of him agreeing to go, but the lure of being able to save his wife and daughter is one too enticing to pass up. So Quinn relents and sets off to an alternate universe known as the Entire.
The Entire is a world that is continually bright. Though without a sun, the sky remains lit in an everlasting stage of burning light. This strange world is inhabited by the Chalin, a people that are descriptively close to the human race yet very different, and host of strange creatures that live alongside the Chalin. Ruling over this world are the Tarig Lords. The Tarig are insectoid-like creatures: Seven feet tall, bronzed and cruel. They are set on keeping the people of the Rose (earth) from knowing about the Entire even though they are very aware of the Rose. Scholars of the Entire have been able to look through the veils separating them from the Rose for and have taken some of the earth's customs and shaped their own culture with them, like loosely modeling their culture after the ancient Chinese. The time in the Entire is also different. In a sense it is warped. Their years go by faster than the earths and this somehow extends the life spans of the people there, granting them thousands of years of life.
Upon his tumultuous arrival into the Entire, Quinn tries to regain his memories. With the reluctant help of Yulin, who would rather see him--the infamous Titus Quinn--dead, but feels that he may be able to use Quinn to advance himself, Quinn is able to slowly regain his past life in the Entire. But the threat to him is great. During his previous stay in the realm, Quinn had formed a reputation. He was a man of the Rose that lived tentatively among them for many years until his notorious escape that left him with many enemies. Quinn has to be careful to go unnoticed as getting caught could mean not only his demise, but that of those who are aiding him.
One of his aids is the beautiful Ji Anzi. Anzi is the niece of Yulin and a Chalin woman who knew Quinn during his past time in the Entire. She helps him in re-learning the Chalin language and customs, and in disguising himself as a Chalin man. These are the tools Quinn will need in order to have any measure of success in his mission. When Quinn begins his great quest, Anzi is his travel partner. The two navigate their way across the bleak Entire. Their travel is wrought with danger as they try to hold on to their anonymity while meeting new people, avoiding the ruling Tarig Lords, and discovering secrets that threaten life as both of them know it.
Really, I've barely even scratched the surface of this book. There are many characters who are brought to life through their own motives, both on earth and in the Entire. I did find that the time spent reading about the Entire was more interesting than the chapters spent reading about the earth goings-ons. Not to take away from that aspect, because it has its own much needed place in the story. But the Entire is more intriguing, and is described in such depths that it becomes almost tangible. Credit goes to Kay Kenyon's writing for this, that is descriptive yet very simplistic. She takes her time with the story and lets the world of the Entire unfold in imaginative detail. Many passages I went back to more than once just to savor the prose.
Here, During their journey, Quinn sits with Anzi and watches ebb. The ebb is the time when where the sky burns less fiercely. Night for the Entire.
She sat next to him, watching the veldt dim. The sky, having lost its high glitter, now fell quickly into the last of day. A lavender blush colored her face, the roof of the train, and the veldt. In the distance, the storm wall crouched dark and solid-looking, and to one side a wisp of the sky, an axis fell to the plain like a dust devil. The train carried them onward, swaying and humming. They had been traveling for eight days and in all that time they had not passed one other inhabited area. The Entire, Anzi had said, was mostly empty. This emptiness, combined with the vast distances, forced a calm on activities, as though there was enough time for everything.
The Bright of the Sky was a pleasure to read. While the overall pace of the story meanders in some places, the endearing characters, worthy foes, unseen surprises, and effortless prose kept me turning the pages. I've already ordered book two in this series and am anticipating it's arrival. Grade A.