Monday 5 December 2011

Review: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

GlowGlow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis from the back of the book:
Teenagers Waverly and Kieran believe their future is written in the stars. They are part of the first generation born in space.
They are in love.
They have never seen a stranger before... until the day they are wrenched apart and suddenly find themselves fighting for their lives.

Book 1 in the Sky Chasers series
I struggle to even imagine how claustrophobic to have been born on board a spaceship travelling toward a distant planet- never feeling the wind, seeing the ocean, or feeling the seasons change around you- but that is the situation for teenagers Waverly and Kieran. They are among the first generation born on board the Empyrean and have grown up having never left the confines of the spaceship and knowing everybody on board. When another ship meant to be years ahead of them pulls up alongside them with no explanation, and then attacks, taking hostage most of the girls and seriously damaging the Empyrean, their calm orderly existence suddenly changes. There are a heavy number of casualties, and those that are left separate to either chase the New Horizon in a shuttle in a rescue attempt, or stay behind to try to repair the Empyrean. Kieran can do nothing as Waverly is taken aboard the other ship and sped away from him.

I loved the way that this book kept changing my outlook on who exactly the bad guys were. I genuinely couldn't decide who were the good guys and who were the aggressors- my opinion kept switching between the two ships, as different stories were told and different revelations exposed. It is difficult for Waverly to extract the bits of truth from all the lies that she is told from the people on the New Horizon, but a new picture of her old life gradually forms in her mind, leaving her completely confused. She has to make the decision whether she is better off with her new family on the New Horizon, or if she should fight to get back to Kieran on the Empyrean.

Meanwhile back on the Empyrean, with just the boys left to run things, the situation becomes a little bit Lord of the Flies in space for a while. Keiran finds that he has no idea how to lead, and this leads to a serious conflict between him and Seth, who has always resented Keiran. The story is told in alternating chapters from both Kieran and Waverly, so we can see what is happening on both ships but they have no way to communicate with each other, or even to know whether the other is still alive. Waverly and the other girls are watched constantly and find clever ways to secretly communicate their plans to each other. Waverly is definitely a smart and headstrong girl, and will never let herself be bullied into anything- whether it was the pressure to marry Kieran on the Empyrean, or pressure to co-operate with her kidnappers on the New Horizon. She has very set opinions and will stick to her guns.

Glow was a thought-provoking sci-fi thriller, showing what it takes to be a leader and portraying the good and bad sides of humanity- an exciting emotional thrill-ride of a read, definitely quite traumatic in parts but also terrifyingly believable. This book would work fine as a stand-alone book on it's own. It is very well-written and there is plenty of action, drama and emotional turmoil in this book, as well as a brilliantly clever plot line. However, I really want to see more of this adventure, and these characters again, and I feel that there is still much more story to tell. Bring on book 2!

Book two in the Sky Chasers series is titled Spark and is due to be published July 2012.

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