March 17, 2012

Review - Glow (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.
Glow is the most riveting series debut since The Hunger Games, and promises to thrill and challenge readers of all ages.

A mix of science fiction and dystopian society Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan centers around three teenagers, Waverly, Kieran, and Seth, living on board the Empyrean headed to a new life on a new planet. When a sister ship meets up with them it becomes clear that the other crew's mission isn't friendly at all, governed by the need to ensure their own survival.
With its thrilling though not completely unique premise I found the first pages fast paced and fluently written, yet I soon discovered several problems which dampened my reading experience. I liked the alternating narration between the main characters, yet with every turning page I had to realize that I just couldn't relate to them and their actions, nor did they show enough depth for my taste. Oddly enough the secondary characters quite grew on me.
More importantly though I had another, much bigger problem with the book. While it is a YA novel the narrative used is aimed at a very young audience, certainly not mature teenagers. In stark contrast to that there is the underlying theme of sexuality/procreation. While the latter is certainly not explicit, I must honestly say this imbalance disturbed me a lot. As much as this novel didn't work for me, I believe with a more elaborate narration and a focus on an older age group of readers, it would have been a great read.
In short: Adventurous journey to a new world with some flaws!

2/5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Pan MacMillan. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


  1. I'm looking forward to reading this book! A lot of reviews are just like yours, mixed feelings. I wonder what went wrong, I need to check for myself. ;)

    Thanks for the review!

    Agnieszka @ Nook of Books
    Check my international giveaway!

    1. I always say, if a book appeals to you, go ahead and read it. Many seem to be on the fence about this one, but hey, it might work for you!

  2. I find the YA market to be a minefield of some stellar reads amongst a lot of mediocre stuff. Yet the target audience is lapping them up so I suppose as long as they're enjoying them, they will keep being published in droves.

    1. True! And I hate when less than mediocre books are being compared to those who are really outstanding. The comparison to "The Hunger Games" really hurts with this one, but I guess you need to lure potential readers in every way you can.

  3. I hear you on this one! It wasn't for me either. Here's my review Glow

    1. Had to smile when I read that you also came to like the side characters more than the main ones. And agreed, I wasn't all that fond of the love triangle either.

  4. Great review!! I 'm not so sure about reading this now... I'm a new follower and just wanted to drop by and say hi :)

    Feel free to check out my blog & follow too!!

    -Riya (The Teen Book Guru)