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174 of 180 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please don't avoid this book because of HK review!
This is a brilliant piece of SF/F writing and does not deserve to suffer simply because HK reviewed it in "her" usual, incoherent style. The two professional reviews give a good summary of the plot, so I'll just comment on why I enjoyed the book so much:

Kenyon's characters are so vivid that I found myself attached to even minor characters, wondering what...
Published on June 18, 2007 by Amazon Customer

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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Worldbuilding + Flawed Writing
30 Words or Less: An undeniable triumph of world building, Kay Kenyon's The Entire and The Rose is a science fantasy tale of two worlds worth exploring despite the gradual pace dictated by occasional prose problems.

Bright of the Sky: 3/5

The Good: Absolutely unique world-building that combines science fiction and fantasy elements and continues to...
Published on March 16, 2010 by Patrick M. Wolohan


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174 of 180 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please don't avoid this book because of HK review!, June 18, 2007
By 
This is a brilliant piece of SF/F writing and does not deserve to suffer simply because HK reviewed it in "her" usual, incoherent style. The two professional reviews give a good summary of the plot, so I'll just comment on why I enjoyed the book so much:

Kenyon's characters are so vivid that I found myself attached to even minor characters, wondering what happens to them after they leave the stage. There are only a handful of writers whose characters I've actually had dreams about, writing further adventures for them in my head, after I finish a book. Kenyon is one of those writers, and I can't wait to read the subsequent installments in the series.

The characters are the stars for me here, but I must mention how fascinating the world is that Kenyon has created. The two parallel worlds are revealed gradually to the reader throughout the course of the book, but even from the first scenes they feel solidly real. They make sense because Kenyon adds the kind of telling details that bring them alive most subtly and completely for me. Both worlds come complete with nuanced social and political stresses: corporate greed and executive dogfights, difficult family dynamics, political power struggles, clashes between cultures, xenophobia, and lots more. It sounds like a lot for one book, but the strands are so skillfully built and intertwined that the reader's knowledge builds in an apparently natural way. From the first, wrenching scene in the Rose (future Earth) universe--where we encounter an entire ship at the mercy of technology so complex that only one person on board is capable of fully understanding, much less controlling it--to the first scenes in the Entire universe--where we witness a summary execution by one of the powerful and terrifying Tarig--Kenyon sets up fascinating and illuminating parallels between the two parallel worlds.

The plot is complex and surprising also. The pace is never dull, yet events are allowed the proper time to build believably and achieve resonance for the reader. Kenyon doesn't pull any punches, and the consequences of the characters' decisions are sometimes brutal, adding increasing depth to the plot and characterization as the book progresses.

Entirely enjoyable. Highly recommended for those who enjoy both SF and Fantasy worldbuilding and want something complex and engrossing.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Worldbuilding + Flawed Writing, March 16, 2010
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This review is from: Bright of the Sky (Book 1 of The Entire and the Rose) (Paperback)
30 Words or Less: An undeniable triumph of world building, Kay Kenyon's The Entire and The Rose is a science fantasy tale of two worlds worth exploring despite the gradual pace dictated by occasional prose problems.

Bright of the Sky: 3/5

The Good: Absolutely unique world-building that combines science fiction and fantasy elements and continues to grow throughtout the entire series; Carefully plotted narrative that spans and evolves over four volumes; The world is exceptionally well integrated into the narrative rather than being adjacent to it.

The Bad: Early volumes have problems with jarring perspective changes; Worldbuilding often uses infodumping rather than in-narrative elements; The story isn't well segmented into individual novels, leaving readers with an all-or-none decision.

The Review: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Rarely is this truer than in Kay Kenyon's science fiction/fantasy hybrid quadrilogy. An undeniable triumph of world building split into four books, The Entire and the Rose is 1700 pages of complex characters and intricate narrative. The events of the series revolve around Titus Quinn, the first denizen of the Rose (our universe) to cross through into The Entire, a complex infinite world constructed by the harsh, alien Tarig and inhabited by a number of races of their creation. Several years before the series begins, Quinn and his wife and daughter were pulled into the Entire when the ship he was piloting broke apart mid-wormhole jump. Quinn returns months later in our time with no family and little recollection of what happened despite living in the Entire for over a decade. When science proves that his ravings about a second reality may in fact be true, Quinn returns to the Entire in search of his missing wife and daughter and to explore what, if any, benefit The Entire may offer Earth. As Quinn quickly becomes embroiled in the politics of the world he left behind, it becomes obvious that much more is at stake than the fate of his family. The plot only gets more complex from there, the majority of which takes place in the profoundly strange world of the Entire, although the story does take place in both universes.

To provide any more detail than that would ruin the game-changing revelations that occur frequently throughout the series, shifting plots and loyalties in unexpected but exciting ways. There are several power players on both sides of the divide and rarely is there any way of knowing who is playing who. If the Earth universe is referred to as the Rose, the other universe labeled as the Entire might be better known as the Onion. From the start of the series to the final pages, Kenyon slowly peels back layer after layer of world building, unveiling an amazingly concocted world. Religion, politics, cultural divides, a forever war, teenage cults, complex transit systems: the facets of the Entire go on and on. Kenyon details aspect after aspect of her created universe and she does an unbelievable job of unobtrusively bringing the elements she has previously cultivated back into the main plot.

It's a rare occurence but if anything there is almost too much world building. The Entire is inhabited by a number of races and species all of which are fairly unique when compared to the genre standards. However, a few of these races are almost superfluous, with not a single primary or secondary character coming from their ranks. Kenyon could have either edited them out or integrated them into the story as well as she did the primary species of Humans, Chalin, Tarig, Inyx, Hirrin, and Paion. The cultural depth of these imagined races is continually capitalized upon by Kenyon and as a result the few species that don't get starring roles ultimately fall to the wayside.

While the extraneous elements could have been handled better, the world of the Entire and the thoroughly constructed characters that inhabit it are the main attractions of the series. Kenyon's writing, on the other hand, leaves a little bit to be desired especially in the early volumes. Kenyon writes from an extremely tight third person perspective and she has an unfortunate tendency to jump perspectives mid-scene without warning, generating confusion and necessitating rereading just to confirm which character was thinking what. Kenyon gets better at this as the books go on but early on these jarring transitions occur disappointingly often especially considering a small change symbol (which is often used to switch perspectives between scenes) could have easily been used to remedy this problem. As the books progress, Kenyon does manage to reduce the frequency with which these occur. The third and fourth volumes are much stronger than the first in this regard.

Kenyon also has a propensity to take a "tell not show" approach to her worldbuilding and while the world is interesting enough, there is no in-narrative reason for the characters to lecture the way they do. Consequently, the books of The Entire and The Rose read somewhat slowly. While not a bad thing in and of itself, these are not necessarily beach reads and due to the complex nature of the world and plot, it should be read in its entirety for full effect, commanding a significant time investment on the part of the reader.

Additionally, it is important to bear in mind that this epic series would be best described as science fantasy. While Kenyon maintains the premise that all of the places and structures of her world are science-based, the science satisfies Clarke's axiom and is indistinguishable from magic. Anyone who goes into this series expecting to understand the physics underpinning the world will be sorely disappointed. Despite the trappings of science that frame the Entire, at its core it's a fantasy world; it exists and behaves the way it does because the story dictates the way it does. But it works and it works well.

Here is a review of the individual volume.

Bright of the Sky: Arguably the weakest book in the series, Kenyon's series debut suffers from exposition overload. Kenyon essentially sets up the story three times; first in the future Earth universe, than in the future Entire world, and then revealing Quinn's backstory and what occurred during his first trip to the Entire. With three full histories to explain in additional to all of the characters she introduces, it doesn't feel like a whole lot happens. The last fifty or so pages feel rushed when compared to the whole and while the end of the book comes at a natural stopping point it doesn't really resolve any of the threads introduced. With such a To-Be-Continued ending, it produces contradictory emotions - on one hand there was too little payoff after the slower prose associated with complex world building; on the other hand, A World Too Near beckoned from the shelf immediately. Bright of the Sky is also the book that suffers the most from those aforementioned perspective shifts.

Ultimately, The Entire and The Rose is more than a sum of its composite volumes, so much so that it was too difficult to reach a conclusion on one book before reading the others. The story flows through the pages like one of the arms of the Nigh (a river of exotic matter from the story), bearing strongly motivated characters through alternating periods of slow progress and torrential action. The narrative twists and turns unexpectedly, creating new letters to place between points A and B. At the core of Kenyon's series is her imagined Entire, rivaling any fantasy world for its complexity and surpassing the vast majority for sheer inventiveness. Despite some missteps in presentation, Kay Kenyon's The Entire and The Rose has created a unique science fantasy series that is worth reading, well, in its entirety.
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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Premise, Poor Execution, August 26, 2010
By 
Luxie P. (Brooklyn, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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Something about a book really has to stand out, for good or ill, to make me actually write a review about it. The catalyst, for this novel, is the fact that the concept is great - a really interesting story - but the execution is miserable. I started to put the book down several times, out of irritation, but ending up actually finishing it just for the sake of the story.

The problem is that it really is poorly written:

-- Awful, jarring switches between character and perspective - errors of style and flow that are taught in freshman composition.
-- A hero who is really a jerk, but every horrible decision and character flaw is forgiven because the poor, angsty man has just suffered SO MUCH...sob. He treats everyone around him like crap - but feels completely justified in his own distrust and anger at others.
-- The human villains are cartoonishly evil - making unsubtle threats that make no sense for someone with their supposed power and influence and position to make. And the attempts to humanize them are laughable, as well.

Again, the story isn't bad! I'd love to know how the it ends...just not enough to sit through another book (or, rather, three more books) of the author's atrocious writing!
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Space opera at its best, April 26, 2007
By 
It's so nice to have fun reading science fiction again! Kenyon's story is big and sprawling and colorful, and yet the story is so accessible, with memorable characters and good, but not esoteric, science. I love this adventure/romance/thriller of a book, to say nothing of the fact that the cover itself is worth the price. Kay Kenyon and Stephan Martiniere (the cover artist) make a great pair, and bode well for the future of this kind of sf.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe everything you read..., September 13, 2010
I read a snipped of this book and was intrigued by the interaction with the machine sapients enough to assume that the book had potential. I raised an interested eyebrow at the first suicide that takes place very shortly into the book. And that was, honestly, the last interesting thing in three books. I read all three books in this series -- out of sheer stubbornness, to be honest -- and I can honestly say it isn't worth your valuable time. In fact, the author isn't worth your time, given the other 1.3 books of hers I read -- 3rd time in my life I just gave up on a book.

What disappoints me about this book isn't that it is devoid of ideas but rather the opposite: it's devoid of execution in simply every way. The main character isn't likable in any sense of the word and I found myself more and more irritated by him throughout the entire series. Sometimes that's the intent but in fact all of the characters were generally shaped from two-week old deflating balloons. Only three characters took on a bit of shape and they were minor supporting characters. I slogged on through three books not really finding a place to give a tinker's damn about any of them.

The series never has any excitement to it; no suspense; no feeling of danger; no feeling of...well, no feeling: the world is painted in muted colors from beginning to end. The books slog along at a singular pace never seeming to speed up or slow down or do anything but slog along mechanically. Now, I don't fault a book for being slow -- I've loved a number of books that took many, many pages to do a thing -- but I do fault it for being uninteresting in the process. The slowness isn't due to character study; it isn't due to character moments; it isn't due to literary device; it's just due to Kay Kenyon.

And, for all that, in three books, the ending still felt contrived and hurried -- an odd feeling in a series that is paced so slowly.

The previous book of hers I've read is Maximum Ice. It was heart-breakingly slow and filled with uninteresting characters doing things in contrived ways. This was a story pushed to conclusion rather than a story told. I hated myself for having purchased Bright of the Sky b/c I knew I'd be stubborn enough to read the entire thing on the off-chance that her writing would improve with use. I tried reading The Braided World (some kind of weird follow-on-ish to Maximum Ice) but after a 3rd of the book I was dreading picking it up. The characters were her most boring yet -- I couldn't even remember their names, they were so dull.

I read through the authors and reviewers saying how great a writer Kay is and I can't help but wonder how much they got paid for them, for I fully believe none have read her books. She needs a course on how to breathe life into plastic; and her editor needs a job that doesn't involve editing books. Kay can come up with some stories with potential outlines but the delivery...well...it isn't there.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is beautiful and a great starter to an original series that blends Sci-Fi and Fantasy, July 30, 2007
By 
When Titus Quinn, a top pilot for Minerva Corporation vanishes with his ship in a disaster it is hardly surprising in itself. However, when he turns up a year later raving about an alternative universe that his family is stranded in he is quietly mothballed by his employers - that is until they unexpectedly find proof that maybe he wasn't raving and that Titus may be their best resource to uncover an alternative method of interstellar travel.

The Entire and the Rose is a strange title for a book, but it quickly makes sense once you start reading the story. Titus is a driven and tortured character. He's a man who's past means much more than even he realises and he may turn out to be fulcrum on which the future of the universe depends.

I enjoyed this novel. It's well written with an original and beautifully described alternate universe. In many ways this book sets up the basics of the characters of this series, some of the stakes involved and gives the reader a good understanding of two worlds. It's certainly enough to make me buy book 2 of the series in hardcover when it becomes available - which looks to be 4 books long if the authors introduction is anything to go by.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Murder, She Wrote, August 18, 2010
By 
Tai Chi (Southern California United States) - See all my reviews
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The middling rating is due to one huge flaw. The writing is good. Compelling minor characters populate the fully imagined alternative universe. Sure, you can poke holes in "The Entire" concept, but basically it's well-done. I also think the writing is good and direct with plenty of transitive verbs. You will keep reading. There are a few slow points, but suspense about what happens keeps you going. So you may think I was on track to rate this book 4 1/2 or 5 stars, and you'd be right. However, to set up the final chase section the author writes a plot device that is so offensive to me, and so repugnant to me, that I would have rated 1 star if I had not enjoyed the book so much until then. Quinn the protagonist turns into a brutal, murdering monster for no good reason. It's a total break with his character throughout the book (and the author's attempts to remind us of some earlier erratic behavior don't do it). I don't read much scifi or fantasy and maybe aliens aren't considered people, but that attitude's not true to this work. Also, it's violently inconsistent with Quinn's close associations with the aliens, and his former wife's associations as well. It's totally unnecessary to the plot of this book also, since a simple alarm would have served as well. The author forgets what Raymond Chandler taught us - the hero walks through a dark world, and he may be a cynical anti-hero, but he cannot be the darkness. Here, through some sort of moral blindness in the author, a very enjoyable work is betrayed, and the hero is turned into the darkest shadow of all. It's a plot device that rings false. Moreover, it betrays the sympathies of the reader, and Quinn's supporters in the book itself, utterly. This book left a bad taste in my mouth. As Agatha Christie had a character say in "Murder On The Orient Express," harming a child cannot be forgiven.

The betrayal of the Quinn character was extra dissapointing because otherwise the book was good. It's crucial for a protagonist to make morally justifiable decisions at decision points. In many successful novels, protagonists walk through a dark landscape, and deal plenty of violence, but they remain better than their surroundings. It's crucial to retaining the sympathies of the reader that the anti-hero remain noble at the core. All I can say about "Bright" is - wow, what a mistake to turn the hero into a brutal monster.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous world-building and adventure from one of SF's best writers, April 30, 2007
This book is as big and bold as science fiction gets. You travel with Titus Quinn, the main character, through the universe and into another world on a great wave of narrative energy, and encounter a scary and fabulously detailed alien environment (the storm walls are especially cool). Yet the terrific world-building is balanced by the alien creatures and the many intriguing human and almost-human characters, my favorite being Quinn's daughter, who - well, I wouldn't want to spoil it. Anyway, Kay Kenyon is one of those writers that is so good you wonder why everybody doesn't know about her . . . I can only hope this novel gives her the breakthrough she deserves. Once you read Bright of the Sky and want to read one of her other books while you wait for Book Two of The Entire and The Rose, check out Tropic of Creation. Until this came out, it was my favorite Kenyon novel.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting world, annoying characters, poor writing, April 15, 2011
By 
BlueFairy (New York, USA) - See all my reviews
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Premise: Two years and a bit ago, Titus Quinn, starship pilot, vanished, along with wife, child and ship. A few months later he was picked up on another planet, raving about having spent ten years prisoner in a parallel dimension. Now the company he worked for suddenly thinks there might be something to this theory, and Quinn is going back, ostensibly to negotiate for routes that humans can use for travel, but really to look for his lost family.

I picked this up as a Kindle Freebie. I'm not sure it was worth free.

The "Entire," the other dimension, is an interesting construction much of the time. Ruled by the alien Tarig, it seems to be a universe entirely composed of one twisty landscape. The sky is not a sky, but a river of ever-burning energy, and the "storm walls" keep the Entire structural where it touches our universe. (The whole thing is based vaguely on brane theory. It even cites the name.) The denizens of the Entire include many different types of sentient beings, and they call our universe The Rose, because they have no flowers. (Don't ask me how their plants work.)

Meanwhile, the future human universe is a semi-dystopian Big Business style society. It's not interesting, and the characters based there are two-dimensional and dull.

The narrative voice, however, is the worst part of this book. It's by turns familiar and pretentious, with occasional lapses into unearned poetry. The character focus changes somewhat randomly, which means that I end up knowing things about minor character's motivations that are unnecessary or would be better seen from a different character's point of view. I hate that. Yes, it's a pet peeve of mine, but I think it's a fair one. Don't switch your character focus in the middle of a scene! If you have to tell me what the other character thought, do it later: have her talk to a third character or think to herself later about how happy/angry/excited she is. Don't switch your close focus back and forth. Some authors can do this and not have it feel wrong; most can't.

The characters, particularly Titus, are largely unlikeable, and it takes forever for the story to pick up speed. About halfway through it starts to pick up a little, and then the author kept ruining it with idiotic asides.

"They faced off, each with his own view of the world. Of course it could not be the same view."

The chapters about Sydney (Titus' daughter who grew up alone in the Entire) are the best, but boil down to fairly normal fantasy cliches (imprisoned daughter has destiny, inner strength, blah blah), and the occasional step back to the normal universe to catch up with the utterly forgettable characters there is terrible.

There were a few strong ideas here, but it never pulled off any interesting or tense scenes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book, January 28, 2011
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I really enjoyed the book and thought it was a great read. The author has created characters with depth and believable motivations.
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Bright of the Sky (Book 1 of The Entire and the Rose)
Bright of the Sky (Book 1 of The Entire and the Rose) by Kay Kenyon (Paperback - February 28, 2008)
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