Monday, October 10, 2011

Review: Glow by Ryan

Glow by Kathleen Ryan
Goodreads listing
Published: Out now
Stars: 3 out of 5

Quick Book Talk:
In this story, two teens aboard the spaceship Empyrean are on course to colonize a New Earth on a new planet. That means that they (as the oldest of the new generation) are expected to marry and procreate-and soon. Something goes wrong when the first ship sent from Earth a year in advance, the New Horizon, slows down to wait for the Empyrean to catch up. All hell breaks loose. In space.

I have to confess that one of the driving reasons I wanted to read this book is because there is a huge spread in the reviews! People either seem to love it or hate it. I have read reviews that claim that Glow is just religious propaganda, and reviews that call Glow a "Lord of the Flies in space". (I loved that, and agree).
Lesson the first: and you would think I would know this by now: stop reading reviews before reading the book.
Lesson the second: books hit people in different ways.
To me, this was a great space odyssey. It had all of the characteristics: a rigid rule system, a sense of isolation, danger, and a strong community (on both ships). I liked Waverly,  Kiernan was so-so as a YA book boy hero, I found Seth to be the more interesting character (and secretly hope that Waverly realizes that too). There are a ton of one dimensional characters, as there has to be in a large cast. I did not quite understand the true motivation of Anne Mather. And there is a great deal of human emotion involved. Waverly, for example, is not quite sure she is ready to bunk down with Kiernan. It is a question of her age, and what she wants to do with her life. A great many of the men on both ships are perverts and bullies. Sadly, some of the women are also. For the size of this book (307 pages), I kind of expected more back stories. I wanted to know some of the characters better (like Samantha) so that went the you-know-what hit the fan, I would have had a better idea of who was doing what and why. Seth is the only one who really gets any kind of a background story, and it is only because it involves a sweet moment with Waverly.
So, for the first in the series, I thought it was really good-not perfect, but really good. There is a need in YA for more Science Fiction (paranormal elements are NOT Science Fiction).

I would pair this book with Black Hole Sun by David Gill (check out the hunky new cover!) and Across the Universe by Beth Revis.