In Bright of the Sky, Kay Kenyon introduced readers to the world of the Entire, an exotic environment whose imagery is a cross between fantasy and science fiction. This unique hybrid was the backdrop for what appeared to be one of the most fascinating ongoing scifi series on the market today. Having thoroughly enjoyed the opening volume of The Entire and the Rose, I was eager to read its sequel, A World Too Near.
I'm glad to report that Kenyon delivered once again. Indeed, this second volume is as satisfying as Bright of the Sky. Moreover, A World Too Near raises the stakes even higher. With two quality yarns under her belt, it feels as though Kay Kenyon could well be one of the most underrated science fiction authors out there. A pity she doesn't get more love. . .
When former star pilot Titus Quinn returned to the Entire to search for his missing wife and child, he unearthed a secret that threatens reality as he knows it. Forced to reconsider his plans, he needed to overcome the odds stacked against him and find a way to return to our universe, the Rose, in order to warn his superiors of the menace Earth faced. And in so doing, he had no choice but to abandon his loved ones to their fate.
Now Titus Quinn must travel back to the Entire, this time armed with the means to eliminate the threat which hangs over Earth. Yet in order to do so, he will have to traverse the galactic reaches of the Entire and journey to the fortress of Ahnenhoon to unleash the nanoscale military technology he carries. But to his dismay, he'll discover that an unwanted companion was sent to the Entire with him. Even worse, on their way to Ahnenhoon Quinn will uncover the terrible truth about the weapon he carries. Time is running out, and he'll soon realize that he holds the faith of both universes in his hands.
Once more, the worldbuilding is the most enthralling aspect of this novel. The Entire is a milieu unlike anything you have ever read about, and it's fascinating to discover more of its secrets during Quinn's perilous journey. Revelations about the storm walls, the River Nigh, Ahnenhoon, the Paion intrusions, and more are ample evidence that Kenyon's creation resounds with even more depth than I thought. Add to that secrets about the Tarig Lords, and you have quite a few surprises in store for you. Rich in details, A World Too Near should have you clamoring for the third volume, City Without End.
Although Titus Quinn once again takes center stage in this book, the supporting cast plays a much bigger role in this one. Hence, even though the journey to Ahnenhoon is pivotal, other storylines are nearly as important in the vaster scheme of things. I particularly enjoyed Johanna's -- Quinn's wife -- plotline. Through her, we learn more about the Bright Lords and the fortress of Ahnenhoon. Sydney's storylines, which seemed so interesting in Bright of the Sky, took an odd turn in this second volume. I can't elaborate much without spoiling the story, but let's just say that I found her quick acceptance of one of her father's enemies in the midst of the Inyx to be a bit far-fetched. In addition, the political intrigue involving players such as Cixi and Lady Chiron added another dimension to an already superior read.
Other than Sydney's plotline, my only complaint would have to be Kenyon's tricky habit of jumping from one POV to the next without any break in the narrative. At times it takes a paragraph or two to realize that you are no longer in this or that character's head.
The rhythm keeps you turning those pages, and Kay Kenyon closes the show with a bang. I can't wait to see where the author will take this tale next.
I commend The Entire and the Rose to your attention. Good, good stuff!
The final verdict: 7.75/10