Friday, 7 October 2011

Book Review: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan.

Product details:
Publisher: MacMillan Children's Books
Paperback, 385 pages.
Release date: October 7th 2011.
Rating: 3½ out of 5.
Ages: 12+
Source: Received from publisher for review.

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

The story of a love divided set in space, Glow, the first book in Amy Kathleen Ryan’s new Sky Chasers trilogy  is a tense, exciting thriller that will keep you hooked from the very first page. Both brutal and exhilarating with frighteningly dark themes, Glow is an intoxicating blend of Sci-Fi and dystopia that will appeal to fans of  Across the Universe by Beth Revis and Ally Condie’s Matched in equal measure.

Fifteen year old Waverly has spent her whole life on board The Empyrean, a spaceship that left a crumbling and devastated earth behind forty two years ago in order to seek out a New Earth where civilization could once again flourish. Along with her boyfriend Kieran, Waverly is seen as the future of the ship and expects that she will soon be married to Kieran who is one day set to take over as Captain of the Empyrean. Waverly’s future is all mapped out for her.  It is expected that girls will marry young and give birth to many children in order to populate ‘New Earth’ once they land. However, when their supposed allies on board the New Horizon unexpectedly descend upon the Empyrean, Waverly and Kieran are cruelly separated, and it remains to be seen if the young couple will remain apart forever or find a way back to each other in what soon becomes a survival of the fittest on board the two spaceships.

Told in a dual narrative, Glow tells us of Waverly and Kieran’s experiences on board the fervently religious New Horizon and the secular Empyrean respectively.  The Empyrean is a ship in chaos and Kieran struggles to maintain control of his crew as he deals with rebellion, mutiny and absolute chaos.  Meanwhile over on the New Horizon Waverly suffers unspeakable horrors at the hands of religious zealot Anne Maher, a self-proclaimed prophet who will do just about anything to get what she wants. As you might have guessed by now, religion is a main theme of this book, and while I am not a fan of religious themes in books, I found that the religious aspects of this one were well handled raising a lot of questions about religious beliefs and motivations and never detracting from the fast-paced plot which maintained its page turning qualities throughout.

Personally, I could take or leave what was happening on board the Empyrean which most of the time amounted to nothing more than a bunch of boys being really, really cruel to each other.  What happened on board the New Horizon was a different matter entirely though.  Waverly is fierce and brave – a character you can really root for as she tries to find a way to escape the strange religious customs of New Horizon, make her way back to the secular haven of The Empyrean, and into the arms of Kieran.  In actual fact, I’m not sure I totally believed in the relationship between Waverly and Kieran. They are presented to us as two teenagers in love, but I often wondered if theirs was a relationship borne out of  not love, but necessity. Certainly Waverly seems at times to want more from her young life than to be a teenage bride.  Then there’s Seth, a boy with a dark side who intrigues Waverly and who I’m sure is going to play a bigger part in her life as this trilogy progresses.

Containing some very dark and unsavoury themes, Glow is not for the faint of heart, but it is a clever, compelling and thought provoking read, and with it’s cliffhanger conclusion, you will be back for more when Spark (Sky Chasers #2) releases in 2012.


  1. OH. I've heard mixed reviews on this one, but your review makes me really want to read it. It sounds exciting and full of action, which I love. I also enjoy books with more than 1 POV. Thanks for sharing! :)

    Xpresso Reads

  2. Great review as always, I've been really curious about this one. Another one that will probably get added to my bookshelves at some point!

  3. I don't mind dark and unsavory at times. This book sounds great and I like the cover.

  4. I shared similar thoughts to your own while reading Glow too. I wasn't all too fond of reading from Kieran's point of view, but Waverly proved to be a great heroine. Thanks for the review!

  5. This book sounds great and I like the cover.
    the uk cover right

  6. I received this for review and was surprised to see it was similar to Across the Universe. Just shows there are o new ideas under the sun. Glow sounds interesting. This is the first review I've read. Looking forward to reading this one! Love the UK cover.

  7. I like that you say it's a combo of Across the Universe and Matched (which are two of my favorites!), but I am not so sure about the dark themes. I usually struggle with that. I may wait on this one. Thanks for the honest review!

  8. @Roro - yep, this is the UK cover. The US cover is here:

    @Julie & Christina - This isn't a combination of Across the Universe and Matched, but I think it will appeal to people who liked those books. :)

  9. I have been unsure about this because of the negative reviews, but the fact it's supposed to be a dark read brings out the curious side of me. I love read things that others deem too "dark, or disturbing" xD I have a copy so I'll give it a thought :)


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