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The All-Consuming World

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  677 ratings  ·  230 reviews
A diverse team of broken, diminished former criminals get back together to solve the mystery of their last, disastrous mission and to rescue a missing and much-changed comrade... but they’re not the only ones in pursuit of the secret at the heart of the planet Dimmuborgir. The highly-evolved AI of the universe have their own agenda and will do whatever it takes to keep hum ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 7th 2021 by Erewhon
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Katie There are several f/f and f/nb pairings. One member of one pairing has also been involved with men. Other characters shift pronouns, gender identities…moreThere are several f/f and f/nb pairings. One member of one pairing has also been involved with men. Other characters shift pronouns, gender identities, and bodies over conversations or over lifetimes. (less)

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Average rating 3.28  · 
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☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Fun stats time: there are
~700 'fuck's,
21 'goddamn's in all its glory-bearing variants,
12 straightforward 'c*nt's and
3 'vantablack's in this text.
Anyway, what's with all the 'fucking' used on every other page? No, multiple times on most pages.
Q: the fuck-do-we-do-now silence .... fucking delighted ... Fuck. I knew it. I fucking knew it. I fucking told you ...
“Wait, I thought you fucking said you found her already—”...
“You said she fucking contacted you.”
“What the fuck is this shit?” ...
Jul 07, 2021 rated it did not like it
I wish I could give this a higher score, but that score would be very false. I actually can’t remember the last time a book fell below my expectations this hard.

I read These Deathless Bones by Cassandra Khaw a few months back and gave it 4 stars and have really been looking forward to their upcoming novella Nothing But Blackened Teeth. I was also looking forward to The All-Consuming World and was more than excited when I was granted an ARC of it.

Unfortunately, this novel was almost unreadable. I
May 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Okay, so it turns out I'm a total fanboy -- still -- for Cassandra Khaw.

We're moving way beyond Lovecraftian food shows and diving head-first into an amped-up version of Altered Carbon, classic Heist fiction, enough ammunition to choke a city, and world-eating super AIs to keep things toasty. Delicious. Fast-paced. Salty as all hell.

In a universe where it's all dog-eat-cyborg, only the angriest survive -- and believe me, this novel is ALL about the rage, the pain, and the f***ed up Lesbian Cybo
Feb 02, 2022 rated it did not like it
Shelves: off-world, scifi
I have loved so many of Cassandra Khaw's other books and short stories, but this didn't feel like her - instead of the punky, rebelliously ornate scifi that I think it was meant to be, it just felt like a mess.

Plenty of other reviewers have covered the points I want to say, so I'll keep this brief, because I hate writing negative reviews for books - no matter what else, writing a book is deeply personal, hard work, and reading is so subjective that just because I didn't like it doesn't make it b
Jul 08, 2021 rated it it was ok
on another episode of me being disappointed by books that sound good: nothing captured my attention, no strong worldbuilding and i had a difficult time getting through the chapters. also, personal opinion but there was so much profanity every four sentences that it kinda put me off, even though i generally don't mind swearing in books. ...more
On my blog.

Actual rating 2.5

Rep: sapphic mcs, nonbinary mc, genderfluid mc

CWs: suicide, eye gore, violence, surgical procedures, amputation

Galley provided by publisher

The All-Consuming World, for me, was a book that was a whole lot of vibes, and not a lot of actual… anything else almost. I’m not even sure I can truly say I liked this book, in part because I’m not sure if I know what was going on half the time. There’s a heist? An estranged team of criminals? They want to tear down some syste
Sep 25, 2021 rated it liked it
I'm deeply torn about this one. On one hand, I adore the things that Khaw does with language. This little novella took me ages to read because I kept going back to reread over and over their frenetic, frankly bonkers phrasing in absolute marvel. I love Maya especially as a character, and if her endlessly repetitive, "Fuck this, fuck you, and fuck that too," attitude grated a bit in the beginning, I found her character arc fulfilling, and this entire book stuffed with flashy, awesome ideas and ch ...more
3.5 stars.
With every flesh-shredding bullet, Cassandra Khaw's main character Maya swaggers and shoots her way into and out of every situation she gets in in this wild, ultra-violent and spectacularly profane and fast-moving and sometimes impenetrable plot.
On the surface, this is a getting the band back together type stories, if your band is a group of women who happen to be clones, criminals, and have a serious case of "I hate you" for each other. It turns out there's a legit reason for the ani
The SciFi Book Guy
May 02, 2021 rated it did not like it
So yeah, I tapped out and couldn’t finish this book. Sorry dudes, I very rarely do this, and I did try to push through, but the grind wore me down. It’s such a shame because the story has everything I would want in a book. Hell, it has everything I dream of. I was so amped to read this book that I texted my friends to let them know that I’d be ignoring them for a bit. Except I forgot to let my mom know and she called me when I was just getting settled in to read. “Not now mom, I got my Yeti Ramb ...more
Amanda at Bookish Brews
Sep 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Stunning, expansive, punk, angry, imaginative, dense, ornate, turbulent, brilliant

The All-Consuming World was a book that I was really anticipating coming out. When Erewhon sent me a copy in the mail I was absolutely overjoyed! Erewhon books is one of my favorite publishers, and Cassandra Khaw has other incredible works out. Honestly, opening this book at first was a bit of a challenge. The world-building is dense but flowery all at once and unique to any similar books that I’ve read before, so
Tim Hicks
Sep 29, 2021 rated it did not like it
You'll love it or hate it. I hated it. That happens. All of the following is more about me than about the author, although many of the reviews here seem to be with me.

I'm no fucking saint, but if I wanted a big dose of "Fuck this fuckety-fucking fuckery" I'd have watched Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker. OK, their world is a dystopia, and their situation is too, but we get that.

If I wanted a thesaurus gone amok, I'd re-read The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (Hellfire!) which is, amazingly, even
Bertie (LuminosityLibrary)
I'm really sad that I didn't enjoy this one, it was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. I feel like if you enjoy the writing of this book, you'll love it. Unfortunately, the writing really grated on me and overshadowed everything else I could have loved about the book. It felt like I was reading a thesaurus sprinkled with swear words. It felt like a struggle to sit down and read, to figure out who the characters were, or what they were doing. I didn't enjoy myself at all. It's such a s ...more
Brenda Mcallister
Apr 26, 2021 rated it did not like it
Generally do not like to give a bad review, especially when the book is freely given to me. However I read several chapters and have no idea if the author can write or not. It was like reading a dictionary without a story. Chapter after chapter of random vocabulary words that told me nothing except the author loves the word fuck! My eyes glazed over after a couple more pages and it became one of the very few DNF books on my shelves. Very convoluted descriptions of everything, will not try this a ...more
I got an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Now that it’s officially available to everyone, it’s time for me to bite the bullet and sadly slide this off into my DNF pit, with only casual hope of excavating it later.

I really wanted to like this book. What’s not to love about angry, gun-slinging, sapphic cyborgs scraping by in a post-apocalyptic universe? It has me written all over it, right down to the ample trauma baggage everyone carries and deft exploration of
Danika at The Lesbrary
Dec 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
The All-Consuming World is a little bit heist novel, a little bit noir narration, a hint of Lovecraftian, and a whole lot of gritty sci fi.

Maya is a rabid dog of a mercenary clone who is ready to fist fight with god. She is entirely, illogically, wholeheartedly devoted to Rita, a mad scientist type. Rita is cold, withholds affection, and is always pulling the strings in an elaborate scheme. She’s manipulative, even cruel, and always five steps ahead of anyone else.

This is a fairly short book at
the all-consuming world redefines the word page-turner - the plot races at a whirlwind pace, its permutable rabble of ragtag protagonists playing one reckless risk after another, running against the perils that plague them at a rate of knots. introducing us to a compellingly eccentric cosmos of corrupt AIs, custom-made cyborgs and avenging clones, Cassandra Khaw artfully evades the catch of infodumping, crafting an eclectic cast of casualty-prone, expletive-loving characters. and how can i artic ...more
Laura (crofteereader)
DNF @ 20%

Having read some of Khaw's horror (mostly short stories, but I would argue that's the best way to really get a taste for the writing style: when no words can be wasted), I knew to expect highly detailed and evocative body horror. What I didn't expect was just how... Wordy this book was. It reminded me of trying to read Turn of the Screw before The Haunting of Bly Manor came out on Netflix: I thought to myself "oh, it's pretty short; shouldn't take long." Instead (and Khaw does the exact
Apr 27, 2021 added it
Shelves: netgalley
I honestly wanted to like this, and forced myself to read through the superfluous and pretentious writing, but unfortunately didn't enjoy any of it after a couple of chapters. What's happening? Something to do with Dimmuborgir, but it's all lost in the overly crass drivel.

I'm really hoping Shaw's Nothing But Blackened Teeth is nothing like this, because it's one of my most anticipated reads of 2021 (and mainly because of that cover!)


Many thanks to the publisher for the ARC, but didn't enjo
David Simon
May 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
If Cassandra Khaw’s novel The All-Consuming World was a straightforward science fiction novel, that would be exciting enough. The plot—the ragtag, damaged remnants of a group or women mercenaries, once feared throughout the universe, reunite to save one of their members who may still be alive after their last, failed mission decades before—has all the hallmarks of a classic space opera, and is as satisfying as can be.

As it turns out, however, Khaw has so much more up her immensely talented sleev
Mar 01, 2022 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
A bunch of women outlaws reunite to...do what? Right, get one of their own back, save humanity, or just for the prospect of lots of violence? Wait, the two of them who are initiating the operation use plenty of violence just to get the others to join. Killing each other is almost routine; they have plenty of clone bodies for reanimating.

Maya, the main (but not viewpoint) character, is optimized for violence; she can adjust her body chemicals to feel more or less violent, but mostly she stays on
belle ☆ミ (thisbellereadstoo)
dnf @46%

i think this would be great for a sci-fi lover who understands the world but i just couldn't get into it. i wanted to read as much as i can but i couldn't get anything. there was too much vulgarities that broke my concentration a little bit. i didn't want to spend more time on it since i was planning to read another book from the author later the month. didn't want this to influence my experience with that one.
Nova Syzygy
If you held me at gunpoint and asked me to name a single thing that happened in this book, I wouldn’t be able to. This writing style seems to be designed to be skipped over. I understood the words individually, but the paragraphs registered as complete blanks in my brain. I don’t even know what rating to give.
Sep 02, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arcs
The All-Consuming World is about a group of ragtag femme/queer ex-cons who are trying to fight to save one of their own.

I think.

It was really hard to read and understand this book. The prose was mega purple, and all the medical/scientific jargon was not well placed. And if I saw one more “fuck” I was gonna lose it. The inclusiveness of the book felt forced and put in last minute.

It’s possible I had a very early draft of this book and some of these things will be more cohesive in the final copy,
Mae Crowe
The characters in this are so interesting. They're interesting people with interesting backstories and relationships, and I loved getting to know them. Unfortunately, the book never went anywhere significant with any of it. We got some slight character arcs, and hints of an almost heist-like plot, but the story never felt whole. Even the introspection that I adored in this felt unresolved. Still, I enjoyed the time spent with these character, and the writing style was just up my alley. I just do ...more
Brianna Silva
Mar 17, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, wlw
This book is definitely not for everyone. Put simply, it's weird. It's a violent, rage-filled, red-hot, heart-pumping fever dream of an experience.

But for its strangeness and its flaws, I did enjoy it.

The world was interesting to me; a far-future with intelligent space ships, artificial minds ruling the galaxy, and clones with their minds backed up to a cloud, allowing them to die and be reborn again and again.

I also enjoyed the POV of Maya, a traumatized clone made to be subservient and violent
I have very mixed feelings about this. It’s definitely one of those books that I can wax melodic and rant about in consecutive breaths; I've been seesawing about it ever since I finished it.

The All-Consuming World is a glorious mash-up of familiar tropes, unhesitating violence, relentless trauma and endlessly, graphically inventive words deployed as brutal poetry to grind and cut. I loved Maya, utterly compromised enforcer (and how often do we see a woman in that role? Let alone as the protagoni
Jun 24, 2021 rated it it was ok
Imagine that Michael Bay wrote an NC-17 action movie focused exclusively on the equisite suffering of eternal life gained by constantly killing a clone and waking up in a new, slightly degraded, body that required surgical reconstruction into a half-machine, always hurting horrorshow of an existence. Then imagine that you're plotting a heist, but to do so, you have to get together a group of personalities destabilized by centuries of trauma and mutual murder. Now, disassemble all the pieces of t ...more
Oct 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
If I had any doubt about appreciating Cassandra Khaw as a writer, this book did away with it. Written in lush prose, with a complex world, and a ragtag team of deeply flawed characters to root for, The All-Consuming World is a delightfully gritty sci-fi adventure.

First, a couple caveats. Khaw delves into the richness of language and imagery in much of their work. While the beginning of the novel feels a bit overwritten, the language on the page quickly finds its footing. And from the first page
Sep 11, 2021 rated it liked it
How to even begin to review this book.....

There were a lot of things I really liked, and probably an equal amount that left me scratching my head. I see in many reviews that Khaw's use of profanity was quite contentious, but that didn't bother me. Khaw is very precise with language, and if there's profanity it's there for a reason.

The first 50% (or more) of this book is........??exposition??, without every REALLY telling us what happened before the book started. We know something awful transpire
Jun 16, 2022 rated it liked it
For me, a 2.5. A constant assault of over the edge noir ultra violent space opera, with an over the edge vocabulary (and I don’t mean the constant use of fuck). Just, too violent a word stream with too little plot cohesion. Not for me.
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Cassandra Khaw is a senior scriptwriter at Ubisoft Montreal. Her next novella NOTHING BUT BLACKENED TEETH is a haunted house story where messy people make really bad decisions.

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