Book Review: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Genres: Young adult, dystopia, science fiction.

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… Read more…

Glow captured my interest from the very first page. It’s the sort of book that will make you miss your stop if you’re reading it on public transport (always a sign of a good novel, I think). I’ve never read anything quite this science fiction-y before; I’ve never, ever read anything that takes place on a spaceship. I had wondered whether I’d find it difficult to believe but I was thoroughly impressed. The spaceship setup is stunning. It is very well constructed and detailed, and I could easily imagine this enclosed fictitious society up in space. While I have absolutely no idea whether Amy Kathleen Ryan is accurate when she’s talking about hulls and shuttles, it sounded pretty authentic to me.

As for the plot, it’s not as romance-centric as suggested by the cover tagline and the synopsis. It had been described to me as ‘The Handmaid’s Tale set in space’ and I did get that from the novel, which has the dystopian aspects of ‘control over reproductive rights’, fundamentalist religion and being held captive. This is a very loose comparison, however, and I’m by no means saying that Glow is the YA version of The Handmaid’s Tale. Nonetheless, it was extremely enjoyable. The novel switches between two viewpoints: Waverly and Kieran. Waverly is a strong-willed character and I found her to be much more interesting than her counterpart. I’d personally even say she was a strong feminist character, which I think is important to note. I also felt like there was an underlining ‘liberal’ vs. ‘conservative’ debate in the story.

I really wish I could give the novel the full five star rating, because opened me up to a whole new genre and is a fantastic addition to the YA science fiction that’s out there at the moment, but the story was a little too slow for me in the middle when it stays on Kieran’s perspective for a few chapters. I kept wishing it would switch back to Waverly’s perspective. (But that’s just me showing character favouritism!). I also wish that certain parts of the story could have been a bit more emotional, especially the situation with Waverly and the girls. I quite like crashing down, completely horrific,  emotional wreck-type scenes!

Overall, Glow encompasses genres that are extremely popular right now: a splash of dystopia, a hint of post-apocalyptic Earth, a slight love triangle, and interesting science fiction. I’m that glad I had the opportunity to read and review Glow. I’m only sad that it has a massive cliffhanger and I really wish we did not have to wait so long for the second book in the new Sky Chasers series.

Glow will be released 13th September in the US and 7th October in the UK.

Thank you Macmillan Children’s Books for sending me this book to review!

My Rating: ★★★★

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

  1. […] reviewed by: What YA Reading – Chicklish – The Pretty Books Desilula is our resident "Tween" who helps give us insight to all the Young adult and children's […]

  2. […] I really enjoy the sub-genres dystopia and post-apocalyptic (and a little bit of space too, as in Glow) but is this ‘real’ science fiction? I only found out this week that there is seen to […]

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