Wednesday 9 November 2011

Review: Glow - Amy Kathleen Ryan

A ship heading for New Earth is halfway through its incredible journey across the galaxy.

On board, sixteen-year-olds Waverly and Kieran are part of the first generation born in space.

They are in love.

They believe their future is written in the stars.

They have never seen a stranger before . . .

. . . until the day that they are wrenched apart, and suddenly find themselves fighting for their lives.

Sky Chasers Series:
Sparks (2012)

Visit Amy Kathleen Ryan's website for more information.

About 50 years ago 2 ships set out from Earth to begin colonisation of a new planet, they are still on their journey through space waiting to reach their destination.  The New Horizon left a year before the Empyrean and so should be miles ahead of them so it comes as quite a surprise when the second ship catches up with the first.  Why would the New Horizon stop and wait for them?  Both ships have had fertility issues since leaving Earth but it appears that only the Empyrean was able to resolve their problems.  The New Horizon remains childless and without a new generation they have no hope of surviving the journey to New Earth.  Waverly and Kieran were the first children born on Empyrean, they are supposed to get married and begin a family of their own but before they get the chance their ship comes under attack.  People from New Horizon fight their way onto the ship and manage to escape with all of the female children.  Empyrean is left badly damaged and it is up to the boys to try and fix the ship so they can go in search of the New Horizon to get Waverly and the other girls back.

I have very mixed feelings about Glow.  On the one hand each of our main characters are taken on a very dark and difficult journey, the story really makes you think and I was very curious to see how each of them would survive the ordeals they have to face.  Amy Kathleen Ryan isn't afraid to put her characters in harms way and there were genuinely times when I didn't know if they would both make it to the end of the book, for that reason alone I was completely hooked.  On the other hand there are times when the story gets quite preachy and comes across as very anti-religion.  Now I'm not a religious person so I wasn't offended by the story but I don't like to be preached at and I didn't like the fact that anyone who was religious was portrayed as a fanatic.  There were quite a few times I almost gave up reading because of it.

The main problem I had was that I didn't connect with Waverly, with all the things she has to go through I should have felt heartbroken for her but I found I didn't much care one way or the other.  I didn't really feel the connection between her and Kieran, although she claims to love him I didn't think she was really interested in him.  It was more a case of her doing what she felt was expected of her.  For the most part I liked Kieran more than Waverly but towards the end of the story it felt like he had a complete personality switch, it just came out of nowhere and I wasn't quite sure what to make of it.  The other main character Seth was a psychopath, I just couldn't stand him and was completely horrified at the ending.  He had been a nasty piece of work throughout the whole story and it was like we were supposed to suddenly believe that deep down he was actually a nice person.  Yes, there were times I felt sorry for him but his actions proved to be unforgivable no matter what the circumstances were.

I am curious to see what happens in the next installment of the series, I have plenty of questions about where things will go from here but I'm really not sure if I will continue reading.  I guess I'll wait and see what other reviewers have to say before I pick up a copy of Sparks.  I do think there is potential for the series and would suggest giving it a try if your a fan of science fiction or dystopia but if you're easily offended by religious stereotypes then you might want to give this one a miss.

Source: Received from Macmillan in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.


  1. Great review. I had no idea that religious people were portrayed as fanatic. That's not very good. Still I want to try this book, but I probably will wait untill the sequal comes out. :)

  2. Huh. I consider myself spiritual but not religious, but I feel atheism has become a religion of it's own--with all the fanatics (can we say the opposite of wrinkly?). People destined for each other bore me. Also, maybe I'm alone in this, but I don't like books where the author "isn't afraid" to put the characters through some hardship. Yeah, I can use some danger and get quite violent at times in my writing, but if you just keep traumatizing your characters, you have characters with PTSD at the best. And if they don't--going merrily on their way anyway--it pisses me off. And if they do, I have my life for that bullshit. I'm not looking to read it for pleasure. Except for maybe reading someone like Lavalle or Clifton or Shange or Morrison, where at the end of all of it, you feel like you've grown and understand so much more of the human condition. But it was still exhausting to read them.

  3. @ Nina - it definitely came across to me that the religious people in the story were portrayed as fanatic. I'll be really interested to see if you agree with me though! If you do read it let me know what you think of it :o)

    @ Bets - you've hit the nail on the head when you mention PTSD! I'm sure all of these characters should have been on the verge of nervous breakdowns (in fact some of them did go completely over the edge lol) because of everything they had to go through. I haven't tried any of the authors you mentioned so I'm going to have to look up some of their books & give them a try



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