Saturday, September 24, 2011

Review: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Series: Sky Chasers (#1)
Pages: 320
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Published: October 1st, 2011
IBSN: 9781742610320

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.

Two ships are headed to New Earth to start afresh. They're the Empryean and the New Horizon, and though the New Horizon is supposed to be light years ahead, they'll make an unexpected rendezvous that will have our protagonists Waverly and Kieran separated for the first time, fighting for their lives.

The dystopian nature of the setting didn't require much suspension of disbelief. An Earth decayed to the point where it is no longer inhabitable isn't so hard to imagine, after all. I'm sure I would have appreciated the outer space aspect more, however, if it didn't remind me so much of Across The Universe. I spent much of the read trying to stop myself from comparing the two.

The third person perspective kept as a distance from our characters, as though we're watching from the outside rather than being inside their heads. In a novel where so many life-changing things are happening, it's hard to really fathom how serious everything is when the you aren't sharing the characters' emotions.

The plot was interesting, with a few developments raising an eyebrow here and there, and I came to enjoy the chaotic nature of two stories running side by side. Though, whenever I began to feel invested in a certain characters' story, the perspective changed. With arbitrarily-lengthed (usually fairly long) 'Parts', switches in narrator felt abrupt and awkward at times.

Kieran and Waverly's relationship dynamic was a realistic one, with both perspectives showing the different ways they view the romance. Separated, they both constantly think of the other, but when reunited, their issues remained. Having their relationship expected of them didn't prove to be as worrisome as I expected -- Waverly's hesitance about this made me like her further.

The ending proved to be the highlight of the novel, making slogging through the beginning seem worth the effort. The next book in the Sky Chasers trilogy is one I'll definitely anticipate.

I give Glow a 3 out of 5.