Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Release Date: 7th October, 2011

Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books

Pages: 307pgs

The Story

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.

The Review

A big thanks to Macmillan Children's Books for sending me a review copy of this book!

When I first heard about GLOW being compared to classics of The Handmaid's Tale and Lord of the Flies - even to the popular Hunger Games trilogy - I had a lot of high expectations for the book, especially when you see such a beautiful starry cover that would make any reader pick it up at first glance! Now in some young adult books I respect all the angst it contains because you as a reader, you start to then sympathize for the characters and even end up loving them. Unfortunately all of my expectations weren't met and I may have set my standards a little too high in this case.

With the first few chapters of GLOW, I was off to a rocky start and that's not a good thing when the main goal of an author is to draw you in and be invested in the story at the beginning of the book. I liked Waverly as our main heroine - at least for a little while - but the character development was the problem for me. And not to mention the way the story was written in third person perspective. Firstly let's talk about the characters. What really threw me off with the storyline was the confused feeling I got. You had weak characters who became strong, the strong ones who became broken, the good guys turned out to be bad guys, and then the bad guys were actually 'good' . . . it just frustrated me. I admit, I admired Amy Kathleen Ryan's ability when it came to writing Waverly's character and she was probably the only character that I cared about as all of the others lacked with an instant connection, which sadly for me, was very disappointing. The boys more so - Kieran and Seth. They were nothing special through my eyes but I did like Seth more compared to Kieran's god-praying ways. Much like the lack of connection, its the same with the way it was written. I've never been a fan of the third perspective but ever since reading Cassandra Clare's writing, I've been forever hooked on it and only a few authors I know can actually pull it off. For GLOW however, I found the third perspective made the book just . . . not work and clearly it was meant for first person. Everything of the third perspective was muddled and woven between characters and most of the time I found myself - again - confused. This was a pity on the author's part because this book had a lot going for it and if it was written in first person, then through my eyes it would've been a winner.

When it comes down to it, I was still entertained by the overall storyline and was interested enough to keep on reading since I was a big fan of Across The Universe, which this book reminded me a lot of. Towards the end, I think the way it ended was the redeeming factor of the entire book and I suddenly had some love for it. But then a certain 'something' happens and ruins the scene completely. Now as an avid reader, I expected something-of-an-ending that convinced me to read the second book - and maybe I will change my mind in continuing this series in the future - but I don't know how to describe it except that it didn't cut it for me. While the suppose and promised 'love triangle' didn't interest me at all, I can still see why people would find this book very appealing as I am a lover of the sci-fi genre. If you're wondering whether you should read this book or not, it's kind of up to you as a reader to take a chance on it. There are a lot of mixed reviews floating about on GLOW and I would recommend you to borrow the book at the library instead of buying it straight away. So overall, my advice to you is read it if you're a sci-fi fan and/or love the idea of travelling in space and seeing the best and worst of human nature. But note to the wise: don't expect too much of a love story because there's hardly any of that that I hoped for.

The Rating

2/5 stars


  1. Thanks for honest review. I'll try to keep other dystopias out of my mind when I read.

  2. Too bad that this never fully captured you. It doesn't sound like my kind of book, although the dystopian premise fits in with the current fad.

  3. Thanks for writing such an honest review. I started reading Glow, but gave up after part one! It really wasn’t for me, which sucks because I was a huge fan of Across the Universe, and like you, had super high expectations for this book.

    At least we can still admire the cover...

  4. Sucks that you had your hopes up for this and the story fell short :( I've read a ton of books in third person and don't have a problem with it, so maybe (hopefully!) I might like this a bit better on that aspect?

    I've seen a lot of mixed opinions about this, so I think if I do end up reading it, I'll try to go in without any sort of expectations. Great review, Erin!

  5. Brandileigh: It's best to go into this book without too many expectations. Thanks for stopping by!

    Alison: You have a 50/50 chance of liking it. Unfortunately it wasn't for me.

    Lux: Yes. Let's just admire the cover. I too was a huge fan of Across the Universe and thought I would be wowed by this. Guess not. But I'm glad to know someone else wasn't a fan of this book like me.

    Brodie: It does suck. I love the 3rd POV but I don't know . . . the way it was written didn't work out for me. Might do it for others though. Thanks for commenting Brodie!

  6. Aw it's a shame you didn't really enjoy this one! It sounded so good as well. I have it on my tbr, and I'm not sure if I'll like it or not, but I'll keep your thoughts in mind. Thanks for the review!


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