June 03, 2012

A book with GLOWing Potential

If a violent battle destroyed the only world you’ve ever known, would you be brave enough to save who was left? Would love be strong enough to survive the fight? Either way, there’s no turning back.
The Empyrean is the only home 15-year-old Waverly has ever known. Part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space, she and her boyfriend Kieran will be pioneers of New Earth. Waverly knows she must marry young in order to have children who can carry on the mission, and Kieran, the handsome captain-to-be, has everything Waverly could want in a husband. Everyone is sure he’s the best choice. Still, there’s a part of Waverly that wants more from life than marriage, and she is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.
Suddenly, Waverly’s dreams are interrupted by the inconceivable – a violent betrayal by the Empyrean's sister ship, the New Horizon. The New Horizon’s leaders are desperate to populate the new planet first, and will do anything to get what they need: young girls. In one pivotal moment, Waverly and Kieran are separated, and find themselves at the helm of dangerous missions, where every move has potentially devastating consequences, and decisions of the heart may lead to disaster.

Thanks to the lovely folks over at Goodreads, I scored a copy of Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan in their First Reads contest. I had seen Glow floating around on other blogs and such, but had not actually bought it. The premise sounded interesting so figured "what the hell" and entered. I think I actually entered First Reads a couple of times for this book, but whatev...

This was an awesome little diddy! When other reviews say this book takes off with a bang, they ain't kidding. Right out of the gate Miss Amy has you by the jugular and you keep going. You think, "Oh, I will wait until the pace settles before I start dinner." Yeah, right. Call a pizza, 'cause you are not so much making dinner. HA!

The thing that got me right off the bat was the scene. The whole story takes place on one or two spaceships bound for New Earth. One would think there might be problems here with world building, but alas...no. Now I have to sheepishly admit that I'm kind of a Sci-Fi nerd. A big Star Wars fan, loved the Alien movies, Pandorum, Event Horizon, yada yada yada...you see where this is going. I LOVE Sci-Fi thrillers. Something about being stuck in space in a metal box is just plain scary.

But I digress...

Amy builds a wonderful world on the Empyrean and the New Horizon. You obviously cannot see how large these ships are or how intricate the engineering, but Amy gives you a phenomenal picture. Between the orchards, the animals, the people, and the farms, you get a great sense of how BIG these ships are. And even though she does not describe with fine detail, Amy creates the greatest picture of the ship in your head. I was amazed. One could certainly get lost in the details of describing something you've never seen, but Miss Amy does it well.

Like I said, the action is non-stop. Waverly goes through hell as does Kieran and Seth. At points you feel sorry for all of them, but you want them to keep fighting. The tension never seems to cease, and just when you think it's starting to...BAM something goes wrong.

I really enjoyed the characters as well. Waverly is sort of your girl next door. She is the semi-reluctant hero. The only reason she does what she does is, well, she's the oldest so it's expected of her. All of the younger girls look to her as an elder of sorts so she feels obligated to step up to the plate.

Seth. This boy is the brooding nobody. He's wicked smart, but has a chip on his shoulder the size of Mount Everest. Seth kind of 'loses it' and I'm hoping he gets a chance to redeem himself in the next installment because I really like him. He doesn't back down, doesn't take no for an answer, but he has some "daddy issues" to work through.

Kieran. I'm on the fence with Kieran. The token golden boy. The prodigal son. Kieran is the guy who has everything going for him; he's smart, he's talented, he's got the girl, he's the Captain's favorite... He has it all. When things go from bad to worse (and then worse still), Kieran is given the chance to walk the walk. At first that 'walk' is more like a drunken stagger, but he is starting to get his legs under him.

My only real beef with Glow came toward the end and I thought I might have to put it down. It started to get preachy for me. Now, I have nothing against those folks who are the church-going type, I'm just not one of them. I'm not a big religious book reader so when I saw a sort of preachy feel develop I groaned (a lot) but pushed through.

And I'm glad I did.

What started off sounding like "if you don't believe in God and don't worship Him and give Him thanks for everything in your life, you are an evil and contemptuous person" turned out to be more twisted than I had originally thought. Me likely this. *evil grin*

So in the end, I really enjoyed Glow and am definitely looking forward to Spark, the next installment to the Sky Chasers series. I would like to see if Waverly has it in her to be a leader, if Seth can truly love, and if Kieran will, well, get his head out of his butt...

Did Glow rock my world? Not the fall-out-of-bed kind, but a solid 6.5

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