Saturday, November 5, 2011

Review: Glow

GLOW by Amy Kathleen Ryan

"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." -Goodreads

  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • Release date: Sept. 13, 2011
  • Page count: 307
  • Unique elements: Told from two perspectives, Waverly's and Kieran, but not alternating chapters-- you never know when they'll switch
  • Would appeal to: Fans of Across the Universe, dystopian or science fiction lovers
  • BUY Link
Favorite Quotes:

"Mather took her place behind the altar and, smiling down at the congregation, lifted her hands. She seemed to glow from within, and Waverly thought that some special spotllight must be shining on her-- a cheap effect to make her seem holy."

"The elevator doors finally opened with a cheery bell tone that made the violence elsewhere on the ship seem like a dark daydream."

"'When the time is right.' The voice lived in the place between his ear and his mind, where sound becomes meaning."

"Words escaped her like spikes."

Glow was a book I had trouble putting down for more than a few minutes at a time. I had to know what happened with each of the main characters.

And, look at the amazing cover! I love that you can't see Waverly's entire face (leaves something for the reader to imagine), and I love purple. The black represents space to me, so I really think the cover artist nailed it.

At first, I cared most about the protagonist Waverly. She and all the girls on board the Empyrean were snatched from their home ship because the New Horizon's women couldn't get pregnant. I didn't want the narrative to switch from her perspective to Kieran's (all in 3rd person though).

The first thing I thought was that the men were going to rape all those little girls. I was relieved to find out that all the adults on the new ship were very sweet to the girls.

I finally started caring about Kieran, the male lead, when he tries to take over (as the adults tell him to) and the other boys resent him. There's a long point in the story when it looks like he won't survive at the hands of the other boys, especially his archrival Seth (who also likes Waverly). This reminded me a tad of Lord of the Flies, the whole "what will boys do when left without adults?" concept.

We have another love triangle. Waverly and Kieran are expected to be together. But there's that mysterious something about Seth Waverly can't quite put her finger on, even despite his broody moods and loner lifestyle.

I figured out the ending (about who Waverly would like more), but that didn't take away anything from the story. This is the first in a series, so it all could change later.

I found myself wishing for more beautifully painted descriptions; the author paints a picture, but not in a stylistically pleasing way. Her words didn't leap off the page so that I would say, "That author can write!" Although this was the case, it didn't bother me as much as I thought. The action details were well suited to the quick pacing of the story.

Anne Mather, the leader on board the New Horizon, really irritated me. I was proud of the three  kidnapped girls who saw through her pleasantries right away.

I love that Waverly and Samantha, who were enemies on board their own ship, bond over their kidnapping as if they've always been old friends. Strife brings people together in real life as well.

The concept wasn't fully original; Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale pretty much had the claim to books about adults who can no longer conceive and teens who can. I did, however, like the fact that the entire story took place on two different spaceships while their crews were preparing for a home on New Earth. I wasn't exactly clear about which planet that was or where it was located, but I hope readers will get to see the crews as they settle on a planet.

Author Amy Kathleen Ryan definitely thought through the layout and mechanics of the ship. It would surprise me if she didn't have to do a ton of research before writing the book.

I absolutely loved all the emphasis on religion. The New Horizon is full of faithful people, but the Empyrean is not. Kieran's family was one of the only religious groups on board the second ship, and he actually pulls on that to comfort the left-behind boys. Waverly, however, cannot stand the way religion blindly leads people, as demonstrated by Anne Mather. I love that this couple butts heads about this topic and wonder if their relationship can survive such a dispute.

Things that bugged me:
-I didn't understand what the "nebula" was for quite awhile, or that it was a pink mass they were stuck in (Guess I should have paid more attention in science class!) However, part of the fun of reading a book with so much science is not understanding it all, so I didn't question what elements were right and which were wrong.
-There's a part when Waverly and Samantha have figured out how to pass messages to each other through poetry, and the way that Waverly first decodes the message isn't by reading every other word, as the book tells the reader.
-Waverly's biggest flaw is that although she is so strong and stubborn, she chooses comfort over desire in her love life. Some readers may like this because it shows she's human.

Final verdict:
Amy Kathleen Ryan explores the great leaps humans will take to ensure the survival of their species. An emotional journey through loss, religion, trust, and love, Glow's plot twists and futuristic setting beg readers to keep making new discoveries, even after the very last page.  --BUY "GLOW"--


Anna said...

Soo I enjoyed this one, mostly, but I felt like it was lacking in a lot of things and I also felt like the emphasis on religion was just too much. I'm really glad you enjoyed it though!

Anna @ Literary Exploration

Chrissie (Once Upon a Series) said...

I haven't read this one yet but I've heard a lot of great things about it! Can't wait to read it :)

Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

I've heard both great and awful things about this one, but I loved how you broke it down for us. Fabulous in depth review :)

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