Published by Pyr
One would think bringing a series to conclusion in three books would provide closure for the characters and the imagined universe. One might be incorrect in that assumption, especially when considering Kay Kenyon’s four book Entire and the Rose sequence. I said of the third volume in the sequence:
There was a strong sense of closure upon the conclusion of the volume, but the unresolved plot elements still linger enough that the concluding volume Prince of Storms will be most welcome upon its publication.
Well, that fourth and final volume arrived and despite having the book for a year before reading it, the story was fresh enough in my mind that I was able to pick up the storyline very quickly. The storyline is quite simple – the protagonist Titus Quinn has a difficult choice to make. He must determine the outcome of two worlds – his birth world of Earth (the Rose) and his adopted alien world the Entire. Complicating this choice is the fact that his daughter Sydney was taken by inhabitants of the Entire, and because of the inequality of time’s passage on the two worlds, she has risen up to a position of power in the beautiful world of the Entire and taken the name Sen Ni. Kay managed to make The Prince of Storms a strong novel that truly wraps up the story rather than simply extending it. In other words, the series is incomplete without the book and the book itself is necessary and not simply tacked on and is more than a mere afterthought or epilogue to the saga,
Where previous volumes featured a wider cast of characters, this novel is very much the story of Quinn and his difficult choices in light of the events of the previous volumes. Throughout the series, Quinn and his daughter Sydney are rarely, if ever, together physically. The much awaited reunion of father and daughter in The Prince of Storms was powerfully emotional and encapsulated a lot of the positives about Kenyon’s writing throughout the novel and series as a whole, such as the tight dialogue and the stakes of two worlds / realms / universes resting on the shoulders of two humans.
As with most concluding volumes of a series, the quality and ultimate judgment of the series itself can rest on the proverbial shoulders of the last book. Now complete, The Entire and the Rose can be judged as a whole. Kenyon laid out a vast landscape of characters, sense of wonder, power struggles, and strange beings from the very beginning of A World Too Near. What held it all together from the beginning; however, were the human characters who had to reconcile all the strangeness with their own sensibilities and lives. That theme comes full circle, as I’ve noted above, with Titus and his daughter. What seemed tragic in earlier volumes is emotionally balanced in this volume. Readers of the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy would do themselves a favor should they read these four books. Kenyon’s series is an achievement in deft and assured world-building, controlled and entertaining storytelling, and captivating and emotional writing.
The series as a whole is something I recommend without hesitation and the final volume is only proof that Kenyon had a great long-game plan with these books from the very beginning. Unfortunately, this is not something that can be said for a lot of writers playing in the multi-volume game these days.
© 2011 Rob H. Bedford