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Home » Amy Kathleen Ryan, Authors, Doll Desilula, Reviewers, Reviews

ARC Teen Review: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Submitted by on September 2, 2011 – 12:00 pm3 Comments

Author: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Book: Glow
Release: September 13, 2011
Series: Sky Chasers 1
Reviewer: Desi
Source: St. Martin’s Griffin
Purchase: – Book Depository

If a violent battle destroyed the only world you’ve ever known, would you be brave enough to save who was left? Would love be strong enough to survive the fight? Either way, there’s no turning back.

The Empyrean is the only home 15-year-old Waverly has ever known. Part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space, she and her boyfriend Kieran will be pioneers of New Earth. Waverly knows she must marry young in order to have children who can carry on the mission, and Kieran, the handsome captain-to-be, has everything Waverly could want in a husband. Everyone is sure he’s the best choice. Still, there’s a part of Waverly that wants more from life than marriage, and she is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

Suddenly, Waverly’s dreams are interrupted by the inconceivable – a violent betrayal by the Empyrean’s sister ship, the New Horizon. The New Horizon’s leaders are desperate to populate the new planet first, and will do anything to get what they need: young girls. In one pivotal moment, Waverly and Kieran are separated, and find themselves at the helm of dangerous missions, where every move has potentially devastating consequences, and decisions of the heart may lead to disaster.

This was one of my most anticipated new releases of 2011. It is being marketed as “the most riveting series since The Hunger Games” and if that isn’t enough to grab your attention there is the gorgeous cover to tantalize the eye. Despite the comparison to The Hunger Games trilogy and the incredible artwork, I had some issues with this book that left me disappointed. Even as I sit here and draft this review it is difficult for me to pin-point the main culprit to blame for my lack of love for GLOW…I will try to explain as best I can.

First of all, the above synopsis really gives a great grasp of the overall plot and I admit it IS a good story line. Without spoiling it for anyone let me elaborate just a little… Earth as we know it no longer exists. In an attempt to save the human race from extinction two large ships (and in my mind I see the Enterprise from Star Trek only in the shape of an egg) are built and like a outer space “Noah’s Ark” are equip with plants, animals and of course lots of people. But instead of populating the ships with diverse groups they divide them by beliefs. One ship has secular passengers and the other ship carries people who are religious or spiritual. The story is told in alternating perspectives of two young adults on the secular ship.

The big thing that ate away at me was how the author portrayed the religious ship. The putting down of people who chose to believe in a higher power distracted me. In the beginning of the book it is disclosed that one of the main characters, Kieran, is more religious as is his family. They pray before meals and do not force their views on others. However as the book progresses we go through a whip-lash of emotions. In part because of actions by another group that claim to be spiritual, Kieran’s actions and beliefs begin to make him look bad to those he cares about. But when you take into account the ordeal that Kieran went through on his ship, it is remarkable that he was able to find motivation and hope. Kieran’s character was one that grew on me as the story progressed. In my opinion he grew the most. He went from being somewhat of a privileged wimp to overcoming hardship, stepping up to the plate and finding a way to be a leader.

The heroine of Waverly was difficult for me to like. For starters, she has an important role on her ship. She has a young boy who adores her, but she doesn’t seem to feel the same about him and we see her looking at another boy (Seth) and possibly considering him. Perhaps it is because she is encouraged to plan a future with Kieran that she is so easily distracted by another, but whatever the reason I never felt sympathy for her in regards to her boy problems. As the drama unfolds and things get tense and scary for Waverly my opinions changed a little. But, even after everything is said and done she is very close minded and judgmental of Kieran and what he accomplishes in her absense.

In regards to Waverly’s attraction to Seth, let me just say that I found Seth to be a monster who showed his true colors when his ship was under duress. He lashed out at others and let his personal jealousy turn him into a mean and unforgiving bully that lies and manipulates to make himself look good…if the author was really wanting to make him a potential suitor for Waverly she did not convince me whatsoever.

I guess my issue is that I felt like the author painted all spiritual people in a negative light…and that is just my reaction personally. In my opinion there are good and bad in everyone and just because one person uses their religion to mask ulterior motives doesn’t mean that anyone who prays or preaches an uplifting message is going to do bad things to others. There are some really awful things that are done by the secular group but those instances felt glossed over in comparison. I felt like the book would have been really amazing if it had made a clear case that nobody is perfect and there is potential for evil in everyone despite their views or morals. Instead the little things stuck out and took my attention away from what was actually a very well written book.

In summary, I didn’t love this book like I had hoped I would. It was page-turning and engrossing but not necessarily enjoyable. I couldn’t find a clear cut hero to cheer on. There are some deep and dark issues that factor into the plot and will most likely be explored in the next installments. I am going to trust the author and hold out hope that my discontent will prove unworthy by the time book 2 is released.

Also reviewed by: What YA ReadingChicklishThe Pretty Books

Desilula is our resident "Tween" who helps give us insight to all the Young adult and children's books from the perspective of....well...a young adult. She loves to read and write and absolutely hates math! Her favorite books include classics like "Little Women" and "Alice in Wonderland", but she is hip with all the latest young adult books including her favorite, "Hunger Games"! She enjoys hanging out with friends and doing activities like swimming, skate boarding, climbing trees, and performing in plays or musicals. She plays a little piano, and a little guitar (mostly power chords;)) and has played in a band. She loves animals and plans to travel the world someday!
Doll Desi
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  • prettybooks says:

    Thank you for linking back to my review! I’m sorry you found it disappointing. I suppose that’s always the problem with an anticipated or hyped up book, sometimes it just cannot live up to expectations.

    Seth really was awful. I wasn’t too fond of that part of the storyline. I thought he was going to be a different character, based on what we see of him in the beginning of the book. I also agree with your comments about the portrayal of religious people because, to me, the motivations of the antagonists would’ve still be present whether they were religious or not. It didn’t ruin my overall enjoyment of the book though.

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  • Mona Leigh says:

    I’m always searching for new YAs to read, and I appreciate your honest review. It really irritating when a book gets rave reviews and I buy it only to find it fails to capture my attention.

    This sounds like a book best saved for a day when I have plenty of patience. Thanks.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Connie says:

    Great Review!

    Heres mine:

    This is a very fast paced book. A story set in the future, at a time when the earth is dying, two space ships have been launched to the same destination but initially within different time frames. Both ships have fertility problems on board, one overcomes them, the other does not. One ship is religious, the other is not. Conflict arises and when the two ships meet up chaos arises.

    I think this book would be better suited to older teenagers as there are some adult themes in it and some rather dark things do happen, which I found a little disturbing.

    What I also did not like was how difficult situations often bought out the worst in the characters in the book, rather than the best in them. At first I thought Seth and Kieran would turn out to be good characters, but in the end was less sure of them both.

    The strongest and best character in the book by far was the girl Waverly, who I found myself rooting for.

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