Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Glow Review

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.

In Amy Kathleen Ryan's Glow, you are enveloped in the small world of a ship that seems to extend beyond its walls and out into deep space. The opening chapter hooks you and doesn't spit you out until the very end while you're exhausted but yearning for more.

In the beginning of Glow we are introduced to Waverly and Kieran, two teenage lovers destined to be together on a spaceship bound for a "New Earth." They, along with everyone else on the Empyrean, see that there is another ship coming into view which doesn't seem possible. They realize that it is the New Horizon, a sister ship to their own but they shouldn't see for years. Both ships are headed to a new planet to restart human civilization. When the two ships meet, crew members from the New Horizon attack the Empyrean, killing multiple people, and kidnap all the young girls. As the story unfolds, more secrets emerge about the relationship between the two captains and why they needed the girls. A lot of religious and moral issues arise in this book that leave you questioning every character by the end.

The characters are well developed throughout. Ryan does a fantastic job of creating those characters that you just want to hug and tell them that everything is going to be okay, and others that make you grip the book in a rage wishing you could slap them. Those feelings are what make good character development so important in my eyes. Also if you can take characters that you trust from the get go and twist your image of them back and forth until you are left wondering if some of the protagonists should really be considered that. Without going into specific characters so to not spoil anything, most of them change drastically throughout. I am so anxious to see what is to come of each one of them in the next book.

The writing is well done. It was obviously well researched and well thought out. There is a lot of factual science about space travel and the human psyche that come in to play. This book is gripping in a way that I can't describe. I am not usually one for sci-fi but this book had me. Glow is said to be the "next Hunger Games" and the only way I can see a relation is that it is fast-paced and intense. Other than that, very different in every way. Ryan created this world on a spaceship that may be so small but deals with drastically larger issues. Religion plays a big role in this book, as to be expected when starting a new civilization. I didn't like how it became so focused on it by the end though. Human survival is also a huge ongoing theme. How far can one person be pushed and how much can they depend on their own thoughts and feelings to get them through a life and death situation. Okay yeah enough rambling about the writing.

3 out of 5 stars for this one, mid-low shelf.

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