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?Science fiction is one of those genres that has been a part of me for years, and though I don't read it quite as often anymore, I'm always intrigued when I find a touch of it in YA. From first glance, Glow seemed exactly like my cup of tea. Not only is it heavy on the sci-fi, but the plotline contains dystopian elements, which I have also come to adore much more recently. Unfortunately, finishing the book left me with more mixed feelings than I had hoped to have.
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.
Glow follows the perspectives of two very different characters, fifteen-year-old Waverly Marshall and sixteen-year-old Kieran Alden. The pair of them, alongside their respective families and others, are on a ship bound for "New Earth" after the collapse of Earth as we know it. Before the ship, named the Empyrean, reaches the planned destination, however, its journey will be interrupted by another ship, the New Horizon, that should have been far ahead. Young Kieran and Waverly's developing relationship is quickly torn apart as an all-out attack is waged upon the Empyrean, leaving Kieran to rescue survivors while Waverly fights to discover the truth upon the New Horizon.
The strength of the characters in a novel are always central to my opinion. In the case of Glow, the only character that I felt any sort of attachment to was Waverly. She was not fearless, but she certainly was brave and intelligent. Waverly's love interest, Kieran, was not particularly understanding towards her opinions and emotions. I was also bothered by some of his decisions and behaviors. The other main character, Seth Ardvale, somehow caught the attention of Waverly, but in my eyes, he was more of a deceptive jerk than anything else. Just when I thought he had an ounce of kindness in his heart, he'd turn around and throw it all out the window.
In my opinion, the best part of the story was the attention and finesse in regard to the sci-fi details. The setting was clearly well-researched and vivid. I also enjoyed Ms. Ryan's writing style, which was always fluid and almost poetic at points. I don't expect to pick up the sequel, but perhaps I'll have a change of heart when Spark rolls around in July.
Rating: 3/5 stars