City Without End

With Bright of the Sky and A World Too Near, Kay Kenyon established herself as one of the most underrated science fiction authors out there. In my opinion, The Entire and the Rose is without a doubt one of the most fascinating scifi series on the market today.

In City Without End, Kenyon elevates this series to new heights. Building on its predecessors, this third volume moves the plot like never before, setting the stage for what is shaping up to be one grand finale.

One of the most satisfying aspects of this new installment is the fact that Titus Quinn no longer is the central figure of this series. Focusing more on various storylines adds another dimension to what has been a multilayered blend of fantasy and science fiction from the very beginning. Witnessing the evolution of the plotlines through a different set of perspectives makes for an even better reading experience.

An uncertain peace exists between Quinn and the Tarig Lords. And yet, having abandoned the nanoscale military technology weapon he carried to Ahnenhoon, Quinn is acutely aware that it cannot last. Time is running out, and he must find a way to save the Earth. Now that she has gained his daughter's confidence, he needs to find Helica Maki before she can put her diabolical scheme into motion. Meanwhile, Sydney has been elevated to a lofty position in the Entire's meritocracy, and the Bright Lords mean to use her as bait to lay an ambush to capture her father. But little do they know that Sydney and her allies have plans of their own. Back on Earth, Caitlin discovers that Lamar and his cohorts are planning the unthinkable. And it's up to her and Rob to stop them before it's too late.

As was the case with the first two volumes, the worldbuilding is the most absorbing element of this series. New secrets regarding the navitars, the Tarig, the Paion, and more are revealed. Once again, Kay Kenyon demonstrates that she possesses a fertile imagination.

Though Titus Quinn remains the main protagonist, City Without End focuses on a number of other storylines. These various threads comprise a complex tapestry which continues to unfold as the tale progresses. Caitlin and Lamar's story arc is especially interesting, as it allows the reader to witness the conflict from the other side of the problem. I felt that both of these characters truly came into their own in this third volume. It's also nice to have a bigger chunk of the action transpiring on Earth. Though she plays a more important role, I continue to be disappointed by Sydney. From the start, I haven't been able to get "into" this character. Yet I found her new ally, Geng De, the boy navitar, to be quite intriguing. There are also a few unanticipated twists involving characters such as Ji Anzi, Mo Ti, and Su Bei.

Although she did tone it down a bit, Kenyon still has a tendency to jump from one POV to the next without any break in the narrative. It was annoying at times in the first two books, but it's not really an issue in City Without End.

Kay Kenyon's latest is full of surprising twists and turns, and the plot moves forward at a crisp pace. No offense to Peter F. Hamilton and other scifi authors in the middle of ongoing series, but The Entire and the Rose could well be the best game in town right now.

I commend this series to your attention. Can't wait to see how the author will close the show!

The final verdict: 8/10

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8 commentaires:

KP said...

I read the Bright of the Sky when it came out and was impressed with Kay's story. Have purchased the following 2 and now waiting on Heart of Fire before I finish reading the series.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed BRIGHT OF THE SKY and wish more people would pick it up! It doesn't sound like this series is coming out in the ole $7-8 paperbacks anytime soon, so hopefully readers aren't just waiting for that edition.

RobB said...

I like the series a lot, too. Question though, you say

No offense to Peter F. Hamilton and other scifi authors in the middle of ongoing series, but The Entire and the Rose could well be the best game in town right now.

I didn't see any Hamilton reviews on your blog, have you read either of the books in The Void sequence?


I did go back and retry book 2 and got into it fully this time. Looking forward now to this one.

Patrick said...

Rob: Just saying that because authors like Hamilton seem to get all the love. Outside of blogs like this and a few MBs like, Kenyon remains virtually unknown.

Which is a shame, if you ask me...

RobB said...

I agree about this series deserving much more attention than it gets. (Still haven't read this third one yet).

I think Kenyon's series, though quite broad in scope, hits some different notes than does Hamilton, Reynolds and the Hard SF Space Opera lot.

If anything, Kenyon's series might even have a wider appeal than those big names. But that's, I guess, essentially what you are saying.

ediFanoB said...

In the meantime I read a lot of reviews about THE ENTIRE AND THE ROSE series. The more reviews I read the more I'm convinced that I need to read them. Even if I read science fiction very seldom.
And your good review is one more argument to get the books soon.
So finally I have to questions which I have to anser by myself: When do I buy the books? AND When do I read them?

pob138 said...

i stumbled across the first two instalments at the library, blindly picking them by jacket description, having never heard of Kenyon, and finished the first two in a week's time. i fell in love with the story and can hardly wait until next january. the hard science is (admittedly by the author) skimmed over, but the depth-of-character, scope-of-world epic quality more than makes up for any short-comings that most non-MIT physicists wouldn't pick up on anyway (including myself). i read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy (of which the two are mingled nicely in this series), yet regardless of the genre, Kenyon is an extremely gifted story teller. these books are neither too lofty in their grasp of hard science, nor do they completely ignore it's integrity. i recommend these to anyone that appreciates good fiction.