October 22, 2017

Review: City Without End by Kay Kenyon.

Perhaps the toughest prospect an author can take on is the concept of a multi-novel, fully fleshed out alternate universe. While most writers already have a firm reality (ours) to hold a virtual mirror up to, science fiction and fantasy writers must worry about minutiae caused by the inner workings of their imagined world. Cross a rule that you’ve established, and avid fans will know.

A fascinating new universe has been established by author Kay Kenyon with her Entire and the Rose series. We managed to pick up the series at volume three, City Without End, out from Pyr books earlier this year. Volume IV, which we also plan to review, entitled Prince of Storms, is due out early next year.

City Without End lays out a stunning vista of an alternate universe worthy of a Dune or Lord of the Rings in both its size and scope. Within the alternate realm known as the Entire, human transplants from a near future government project have been flung into a fantastic battle between the denizens of Entire and the Tarig lords. Chief protagonist Titus Quinn has enabled a kind of “Cold War” standoff via his creation of an all destructive nanotech weapon, but its passing threatens to destabilize the delicate balance between the Entire and the Rose, threatening to take the Earth with it. Incidentally, the “Rose” is a referral to our own realm. The journey takes us to the Entire-circling realm of Rim City, in what must be one of the most mind blowing descriptive passages of a huge megalopolis in all of science fiction! Some inserted diagrams and maps of this alternate realm would have been a nice touch…in Rim City, Titus finds his now adult daughter engaged in a partisan war against the Tarig lords, engulfing not only Rim City but a race known as the Navitars, on which their culture depends. I think of the Navitars as a sort of Guild navigators turned mystical priests ala Dune…it is via their clairvoyance that the River Nigh can be successfully navigated. Overall, Ms. Kenyon presents us with a world that is fantastical and complete; its only too bad that a brief primer or glossary wasn’t presented for those of us that picked up the series with this volume. Perhaps a reader to the series is advised to start from volumes I and II, Bright of the Sky and A World Too Near.

The science is brief in this series, as it lends itself to more of a fantasy bent. I thought that the star Sirius disappearing in the night sky as the Entire began bleeding over to our universe was a nice touch…hey, we’d definitely take notice that something odd was afoot if the brightest star in our sky vanished!

The Entire and its universe are both myriad and complex; for a breakdown of the five primacies of the Entire and a brief dramtis personae, the following link from the authors’ site is useful.

I would recommend City Without End for those looking to embark into a fantastical saga of epic proportions. But do your homework, and start from the beginning! Will Titus Quin win his battle against the forces of the evil Tarig lords? Will the Entire and the Rose saga make it to the big screen and our collective cultural mythos the way that the Lord of the Rings saga did? Read City Without End and you can say that you were on the hip cutting edge long before the box office blockbuster hit… in a sci-fi world currently dominated by films based on toys and video games, we are in desperate need of some science fantasy brain candy! Now, on to our recently arrived review copy of Prince of Storms to continue the saga!

 

Comments

  1. John Anealio says:

    I loved Bright of the Sky. I really need to get back into this series and read the rest of the books. I can’t get enough of the artwork in this series.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] in an unforgettable cross-dimensional clash that winds up the questions left by the third book, City without End. The rich universe of the Rose and the Entire created by Mrs. Kenyon knows few equals, and [...]

  2. [...] to say, much like in the epic fantasy piece City Without End that we reviewed a while back, the actual science in The Horns of Ruin is a bit sparse. But hey, [...]

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