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    Review of BRIGHT OF THE SKY by Kay Kenyon (see her website)


    Pyr, April 2007

    Ex-pilot Titus Quinn was in disgrace. He claimed he'd been somewhere for years or decades, yet he'd been missing only a few months. But when the powerful Minerva corporation discovers a possible 'brane' separating our universe from additonal dimensions, Quinn is their best hope to attempt to open negotiations--negotiations that might lead to safer trade routes between the stars.

    Quinn is angry. Angry he was mistreated for so long. Angry Minerva threatens his brother and his brother's family as blackmail for his cooperation. Angry that he lost his wife and daughter somehow within the alternate dimensions of 'The Entire.' He wants to return to The Entire for his own reasons--to find his family--though, and agrees to serve as Minerva's ambassador. Once in The Entire, he allies himself with a beautiful woman, Anzi, of that other dimension. Meanwhile, Quinn's daughter is spreading the seeds of revolution among the sapient riding beings to whom she was given. Allies or not, however, the mantis-like creatures who rule the Entire seem unbeatable and unalterably opposed to any contact between their universe of the Entire and Quinn's universe, which they name 'the Rose.'

    Author Kay Kenyon does some really excellent world-building. The corporation-dominated future Earth, with its human and mechanical sapients, its low IQ 'dreds,' and its dole are convincing extrapolations from current trends. The Entire uses a Chinese model, complete with its bureaucratic aspects, but is a remarkably compelling and interesting place. The dark secret that underlies The Entire creates a plot twist that changes all of Quinn's plans and all of the possibilities for a future. The confluence of dimensions Kenyon creates definitely has the potential to sustain multiple novels.

    If Kenyon's strength is her world-building, her weakness is her characters. Quinn may be angry, but his 'it's all about me and what I want' attitude is unsympathetic. Anzi has a lot of potential as a character, but we aren't given the information we need to understand why she wants to help Quinn, or why she finds him so compelling. Especially in light of the risks she takes on behalf of herself and her family/clan, I really needed to understand this. Quinn's daughter, Sydney, more than any other character, shows potential for the future. In BRIGHT OF THE SKY, though, she is not really integral to the central story arc and doesn't get enough screen time to make us care.

    I enjoyed Kenyon's world-building and look forward to more books in this series. I do hope, though, that she'll increase her attention to creating characters whom we can care about.

    See more reviews of novels by Kay Kenyon.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 7/21/07

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