The World Carried On is an epic tale written by Channing Cornwall. In this novel, his most ambitious to date, he intricately weaves a story that is captivating from the first paragraph. Channing breaks the mold with The World Carried On by giving the reader multiple perspectives to unwind the mysteries and adventures that await. With each chapter, we bounce around the primitive post-apocalyptic environment learning about its inhabitants and interconnections. By seeing things from every angle we get a better understanding of the motivations of all the characters showcasing the ambiguous nature of human conflict.
While the main characters are the twins Malin and Marek they are not the main focus. We root for them because they are the most innocent, brave and moral but by contrasting their innocence with the imperfections of the supporting characters we see humanity as it truly is, flawed. As we learn about what drives the conflicts between characters in the world we also get a glimpse into how the world ended up the way it is now, which is a world reborn from the ingenuity of humans but only made necessary by the cruelty of humans.
This story does not have a clear good vs evil motif but instead paints a bipolar dichotomy of human nature as one marred by internal conflict, confusion, and motivated by survival. Throughout the book, each character is fully realized and vividly depicted giving depth and life to everything that happens. By revealing each side of the equation we are not allowed to easily cast aside any individual or group as simply evil but rather we see into the justifications that are generated when one is forced to decide whether to fight, run or submit.
Nothing is wasted in the lines of this book. Channing's writing is both poetic and concise, which is a very difficult balance in such a long novel but there was no time where I wanted to skip a section or felt that it was meandering aimlessly. The story is full of intrigue and mystery as with each new piece of knowledge I learned I was left with more questions. Nearly every chapter left me wanting to know more and excited about what might happen next. The pacing is wonderful and builds subtly toward the climactic ending beautifully. Even while there is so much going on it never feels needlessly complicated or bewildering but instead, Channing guides you ever deeper into the rich world until soon you find yourself drenched in intrigue and adventure.
Channing just gets better with each publication and I am genuinely impressed with The World Carried On. I recommend it to anyone interested in a deep story that is both sophisticated and fun.