Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Series: Sky Chasers #1
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on September 27th 2011
What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?
Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...
Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.
But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.
Space… the final dystopian frontier. While dystopians and I go way back, dystopian novels with space elements have never really been my thing. Out of the four or five space dystopians that I can think of off the top of my head, only one or two of them have ever really impressed me. But since I am a sucker for these kind of books (that cover isn't too bad to look at either, right?), I knew that I had to give Glow a chance. However, I did promise myself if things didn't work out, I might have to give up hope on the idea of space dystopians and I ever getting along.
There are some books that you finish thinking, 'Wow, what a great start to the series. I can't wait for the next.' Then there are others that leave you kinda scratching your head, wondering, 'Do I really get the point to this?' The later thought has been with me ever since I finished Glow.
Glow starts off on the right foot. Ryan builds her world exactly how I need my space worlds. I could venture through the ships. Knew where all the key areas where. But was not bogged down by all the extra details. It was just enough without being too much. That almost perfect balance of details and leaving it to one's imagination.
The story itself is written in the third person. Ryan focusing her attention on Waverly and Kieran's points of view. While I loved getting to see different angles of the story, I found my feelings detached from these characters. I wanted to really see through their eyes. Know their hearts. Their dreams. But Glow, told in this manner, never went as deep as I felt it could have been. And what about Seth? Where was his point of view? He is obviously an important character, a possible love interest. A character, that if some of the set up is to be believed, could have a massive role in the future. The one character that I really wanted to get to know. And he is treated almost like a fringe character? It just perplexed me.
But the most perplexing of all… the religious undertones. I will admit in a heartbeat that I don't get it. I have been racking my brain for what feels like forever… and I STILL don't get it. Ryan introduces us to two ships: the New Horizon and the Empyrean. What sets these two part is religious ideals. New Horizon is a religious ship… the Empyrean is not. Religion in Glow is presented in the most confusing way. One moment, it is almost sinister. Controlling. Turning people against one another. The next, a guiding light, so to speak, in the darkness of the neverending sky. But I am not clear on its purpose in Glow. As a reader, I needed a clear explanation. A better understanding of how this will effect the picture as a whole. I am sure it may become clearer in time… but right now, it isn't there by a long shot.
Although it may not sound like it, Glow was a phenomenal read. Fast paced… kept me on my toes… really had me thinking kind of read. Yes, it has a few short comings. But it is the first book of a series, so I will cut it a little slack.
Kate is the co-blog owner of The Book Monsters. I am a twenty-something year old who is passionate about reading. I currently hold a B.A. in English and am married to my high school sweetheart. We have two (cat) children, Gracie and Kit, who are total divas. I have an insane and possibly unhealthy passion for reading. You can usually find me with my nose buried in a book.
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