Reviews

The All-Consuming World, by Cassandra Khaw

tschlatt9's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

I loved every word! Including all the ones I had to look up! An absolutely vicious read. A lightning strike in a cave of horribly beautiful wonders!

ximilie's review

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challenging dark emotional funny hopeful sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0

yavin_iv's review

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adventurous dark tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75


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bookishjournal1's review

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adventurous challenging dark emotional mysterious sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

 
The All-Consuming World by Cassandra Khaw was a roller coaster of a read for me. The book is about a group of women who were once part of a criminal group called The Dirty Dozen. They spent years together being able to reincarnate into cyborg bodies before their last mission went horribly wrong and the group disbanded. Years later they have to reunite to save one of their own and to return to the place where their last mission went wrong. 

I really enjoyed the premise of this book and was looking forward to diving into the world that Cassandra Khaw built. The world building in this book is incredible and I felt completely immersed because of the descriptive writing style. I also enjoyed reading about this group of women and how their grief and anger has been handled in different ways and seeing all the messiness that comes when you have clashing personalities and agendas. I also really liked how diverse the characters are and always enjoy seeing POC and queer representation in any book.

At first, it was rather difficult for me to get into this book. The writing style is pretty intense and I did feel like it was getting bogged down by the amount of adjectives being used while it almost made me feel like I was reading a bunch of SAT words strung together when simpler terms could have conveyed the point across. After about 80 pages I did want to put the book down but I kept going and found myself enjoying the pacing and the writing style a lot better in the back half of the book. I know some people are going to enjoy the kind of over descriptive prose found in this novel but it didn't really work for me for most of this book. 

Overall, I think Cassandra Khaw has written a very sumptuous books with the kind of science-fiction world building others can only dream of and filled it with characters that fascinating, infuriating, and realistic all at the same time.

I was given an e-ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

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little_imp_academia's review against another edition

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dark tense medium-paced
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A

1.0

aseriesofvariousevents's review against another edition

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2.0

There was something about this book that was so off-putting for me to read. The concept was super interesting, but the end result ended up being confusing and just difficult to get through overall. I didn't enjoy the writing style and none of the characters (except maybe Pimento) were likeable at all. I felt like we were thrown into a conflict that was never really explained in a significant way. I feel like the idea could've been done really well, but this story was just not it for me. 

ninegladiolus's review against another edition

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adventurous dark tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

 A month has passed since I finished The All-Consuming World by Cassandra Khaw, and while I initially had some incredibly conflicted feelings about it, the more I think about this novel, the more I have to admit it is exactly My Brand (TM). The mood is bloody and dark and cyberpunk af, everyone is queer in a variety of ways and no one is fully human, it’s raw and messy, and though many may call it purple, the prose in this novel is rich enough to feast on through several re-reads. No one in the entire cast is without flaw, and Khaw unapologetically leans into those flaws with an alluring combination of the elevated and the lowbrow profane. Though not without flaws, I loved this novel deeply, and I'll be checking out more of Khaw's work moving forward.

Thank you to Erewhon Books and NetGalley for an advance review copy. All opinions are my own. 

templetongate's review

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adventurous dark emotional fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

An interesting premise hampered by confusing exposition.

isadorawonder's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark emotional funny tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5


What does it mean to be human ? 

Casandra Khaw explores this in their new cyberpunk sci-fi novel following two people recruiting their old crew for a seemingly impossible heist. But of course literature has taught us that nothing is impossible. Nothing is smooth sailing, considering their final mission ended disastrously and their leader is much to blame. They must learn to work together again in order to save their old friend and pull off something that could possibly destroy them all. 

I'm confident that my mind is just not developed enough to understand this book because WOW the potential of greatness that I can see, but can't seem to actually feel. Khaw has a very specific writing style that is a mix of high level vocabulary and vulgarity. In the end, these two elements are mixed together to create beautiful prose full of emotional highs and devastation. Still after finishing the book, I'm not sure where I stand with this writing style. I feel like I definitely have a more positive opinion on it and it makes me intrigued to read more from this author. There is an OVERWHELMING amount of quotes I tabbed. 

Where my intelligence fails me is the confusion I faced reading the entirety of this book. I never knew where we were and most plot reveals didn't have much impact on me because I was still trying to figure out why it was so shocking in the first place. Especially that last reveal at the end. And when it came to Elise and Pimento's chapters... lets just say I was only reading words on a page and nothing else. I don't know if I can fault the author for this because this seems like a ME problem. I still liked the characters, especially Maya and Rita. I don't think I've ever read of a female manipulator character, so let's just say I understand why there are so many apologists now ahhh (and I do mean that lightly. Don't be an apologist). Rita is written so well that I felt fear myself when she entered the scene. Maya is a lovely character to get a perspective from because she's actually interesting and serves a greater purpose to the story vs. just walking through it. 

I loved how queer it was. Verdigris is a genderfluid main/side character and I never knew this was something I 
wanted so badly to see on page. I also love seeing characters question humanity and whether they have it or not. Maya is battling this question the entire novel, often finding herself question her emotions. There is the ability to alter yourself with technology and it really pushes that idea if someone who is so altered can still be considered human. Honestly just a die hard of conversations like this. 

I would definitely just check this one out yourself to see if it is for you. 

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yorkiebooks's review against another edition

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adventurous funny tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

Got this given to me from Netgalley in return for an honest review. Thank you so much for giving me it early!

No one writes like Cassandra Khaw.

They’re a whirlwind of talent and this is yet another testament to that.

The All-Consuming World is about an old group of friends/enemies/lovers are getting back together for one final hurrah in order to find their friend Elise and reach a fated planet of Dimmuborgir. Now, this story is a wild ride made only wilder by its vibrant cast of characters but the chapters seemed to read like short stories, leaving only an brief impression leading to  only a surface-level insight. This wasn’t a huge problem but I just wanted to know that bit more about the world and it’s characters to be that more enveloped by it.

Maya is one of the most fun protagonists I’ve read in a while and I love her journey through the novel. Her relationship with Rita as well is something that’s absolutely fascinating and again, if there was just more of the book, I would have love to have seen a fuller exploration of that. Elise herself is perhaps the character we get to know most intimately and because of that , is the best by far out of the cast. She’s witty, she complex, and dead set on her goals making her chapters a real thrill to experience. Verdigris’ whole aesthetic and narrative about their gender expression is really well done but again, I just wanted that bit more with them to make me truly fall in love. Apart from those, however, the others suffered from a lack of screen time which made them feel underdeveloped which is a real shame because they all had a story to tell  just needed that time to do so.

All in all, this is a fun read only too brief to make an impact on me. But the writing in this book is immaculate and that alone is enough to carry this story through to its conclusion. If you like cyberpunk, immaculate aesthetics, stories where everyone and anyone is queer, and writing that is above and beyond - this is the release of 2021 for you!

3.5 out of 5

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