Bright of the Sky by Kay Kenyon
Published by Pyr
Sample Chapter: http://www.kaykenyon.com/chp-sky1-kk07.htm
Kay Kenyon brings epic storytelling on multi-universal level to Pyr with her latest book, Bright of the Sky. The novel opens a sequence entitled The Entire and the Rose, the Rose being what the people of the Entire call the Earth. The theme of dichotomy seen in the name of the series (our world contrasted against another) can be seen in the first book. The protagonist, Titus Quinn is an outcast – he is in a self-imposed exile after having returned from the Entire. A radiant and otherworldly place, the Entire seemingly robbed Titus of his wife and daughter before he returned. At the outset of the novel, this isn’t Titus’s only problem – the company for whom he works does not believe him and think him insane – for while he was missing for months on Earth, he claims to have spent years in the environs of the Entire.
This then, is where the narrative truly begins. An experimental means of communication has been created by Titus’ company which may allow him a return to the Entire. The Minerva Company, Quinn’s former employer, is preparing for another interstellar voyage to the Entire and he is asked to be part of it. In the brief space of the novel between Quinn’s introduction and his return to the Entire, Kay does a fine job of building a believable future scenario, one that mirrors our own. She also gives Quinn a supporting cast that could pay the consequences should Quinn not give into the company’s wishes. With the consequences set up, Kay then thrusts Quinn back to the Entire.
The scenario is less than favorable for Quinn, since he made many enemies during his last stay in this alien environment. Enemies including the Tarig, the ruling class of the Entire – a powerful alien race responsible for creating the various races of sentient life on the Entire. The first race he encounters upon his return, and the race with which Quinn can most easily communicate are the Chalin – a human-like race based on ancient Chinese culture. Quinn is imprisoned in a jar, then brought to a Chalin noble, Yulin, who wished to kill Quinn. At the behest of Yulin’s niece, Quinn is spared and eventually allowed to search out his lost daughter, rumored to be a great distance from where Quinn enters the Entire.
The Bright of the Sky has both a fantastical feel, as well as science fictional trappings, such as interstellar travel, super-corporations. It might even be fair to say the novel has the feel of a Planetary Romance. I enjoyed following Quinn on his journey through the alien landscape as he encountered one race, thanks to some of them traveling to earth, may be considered early inspirations for devils and gargoyles. On one leg of his journey, Quinn and his traveling companion float across the landscape in the belly of a giant fish-like creature. When Quinn’s daughter comes into the story, she is the bonded rider of an Inyx, a four-antlered mount. Kenyon provides a snapshot of these creatures on her detailed Web site: http://www.kaykenyon.com/bks-entire_univ.htm#sentients.
Over the course of his journey, Quinn adopts the identity of a man who looks and sounds more a local denizen, Dai Shen. Again, the dualities and dichotomies come into play as Quinn/Shen must play the role of a Chalin while still focusing on his personal goal of finding his daughter. Quinn’s goal is itself a duality – he came to the Rose under the guise of an emissary of the Minerva Company with the more self-appointed goal of finding his daughter.
With a rich and vivid setting, peopled with believable and sympathetic characters and fascinating aliens, Kay Kenyon has launched an impressive saga with Bright of the Sky. My only criticism involves some of the scenes where the narratives point of view character switches from Quinn to those who interact with him in the Entire. The transitions aren’t entirely smooth and I found myself re-reading passages to be sure to whom the words were being attributed. These scenes were very few, but did jar the otherwise smooth and quick pace of the story. That said, Bright of the Sky, like the best novels opening a larger sequence, balances closure with open plot strands.
© 2007 Rob H. Bedford
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