Saturday, November 26, 2011

Review: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin/Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: September 13th, 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.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Science Fiction and Dystopia are two of my favorite genres, so I was really looking forward to this book.  I still had the delicious aftertaste of Beth Revis's amazing Across the Universe on my tongue when I heard about this one, making me that much more eager to get my hands on it.  I have to admit, I was kind of let down.  It's not that I didn't enjoy this book.  It was a good read and it had an interesting storyline, but it dragged for me.  I didn't really feel that compelling need to keep reading until the final third of the book.  I'm more of an instant gratification girl, so books that don't move along quickly usually annoy me.  I had a hard time connecting with Waverly; I felt sorry for all she went through, but I never felt like I knew her, and didn't really feel a pull to want to get to know her.  Kieran and Seth intrigued me a little more, especially the dynamic between the two of them, but I'm not really sure if I actually like or trust either.   For me, he most vibrant of the characters was Anne Mather, the captain/pastor of the New Horizon.  She evoked nothing but disdain from me, but she had depth that the other characters lacked.  She seemed to bring the story to life; the parts of the story that involved her seemed to be the most gratifying.  Although slow to grab me, I will say that once the story started moving, it really clicked.   I quite enjoyed it from there, which makes me really want to read the second book in the series, Spark, when it comes out in July. I think this series has potential because the idea behind it is unique and thought-provoking, I just think too much time was spent in this first book setting everything up.  

On another note, when I was about 60 pages in, I got the audio version from Macmillan Audio for review, so I switched formats, and I think the audio version was well done.  The readers, Ilyana Kadushin and Matthew Brown, breathe a life into otherwise rather flat characters.  I felt that it was a little on the long side though; the book is only about 300 pages long, but the audio was 10 hours long.

My Rating: ★ ★ ★  

Grade Level Recommendation:  Because this book is basically about reproductive slavery, I would put it at a high school level.  There isn't really any objectionable content for middle school aged readers, I just don't think they would understand the gravity of what is happening.  Grades 9 and up (ages 14+).

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