Sunday, September 23, 2012

Glow (Sky Chasers #1) by Amy Kathleen Ryan

  • Title: Glow (Sky Chasers)
  • Classification: Young Adult (Ages 12 and up)
  • Genre: Dystopia
  • Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (September 13, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0312590563
  • Author's Website:

Two ships are racing to a new world. The Empyrean thrives while the New Horizon is slowly dying. Both ships are supposed to be identical, but one has figured out how to successfully keep a fetus viable till birth while the other apparently hasn't, and the females on the New Horizon are no longer able to conceive. Now the New Horizon is requesting assistance from the Empyrean and is asking permission to board, but the ship's captain is refusing. Whatever it is the first ship wants, the captain isn't willing to part with it. When the New Horizon boards the Empyrean without permission and takes all it's young females by force, lies, dark secrets and deception will be revealed.

This book had a lot of potential at the beginning, and caught my attention immediately. Slowly, however, approximately half way in, it started a downward tail spin that it never seemed to be able to pull out of. In a nutshell, I was disappointed.

So where do I begin? Glow did something that can make or break a series, it delved into religion. Religion is always a touchy subject, and in this book I felt things went a little awry. The spaceships were divided into two groups of people. One ship, the New Horizon, is full of religious fanatics and the other, the Empyrean, is filled mostly with nonbelievers. Let me just say I hate it when books make religious people out to be bad guys bordering on the evil. That was the first thing that got my dander up with this book. Secondly, Kieran, one of the main characters, is one of the few believers on the Empyrean, and he hears the voice of God. This makes me a little nervous in a book because now it sounds as though religion will play a major role in the series, and that makes me a little leery because I have to wonder what lesson is this series going to try to teach? Thirdly, they make people in authority and the majority of adults out to be bad guys. While sometimes adults can't be trusted and do bad things, the leadership of each of the ships and a majority of the adults appear to be corrupt. Fourthly, (and these are not in any particular order I'm just writing them down as they occur to me) we have sexually abused girls which just makes my skin crawl because of the way it was portrayed in the book. Granted they didn't show a rape taking place and they didn't go into depth about what transpired, but it is implied that rape of young girls (in their early teens) was a common practice on one of the ships. So while the reading level for this one states it begins at age 12, I felt it truly wasn't suited to such a young audience. Maybe 15 and up or higher?

The world building in the book was pretty good. The ship has different areas which produce their own food and anything else the occupants of the space craft might needed. All residents have specific jobs that they are assigned, which keeps the ship functioning efficiently and ensures there is enough food, clothing, etc. for its occupants. I liked how the author went into detail as to why the people on the New Horizon, who had to slow down their ship thereby eliminating the gravity on the ship, were weak. You can tell the author did a little research and I was impressed by this. There have been articles that discuss how zero gravity can affect people and weakness is a major side effect.

As for the main characters I initially liked Waverly, but later, after a bad experience, she just lost all of her appeal. She's in a relationship and, rather than confide in her boyfriend/potential fiance, *SPOILER ALERT* she believes the lies of a boy who attempted to murder said boyfriend. A boy who is vying for Waverly's affections. Seriously? I don't care how young or naive a person is this just struck me as one of the DUMBEST things a character has ever done in a book. *END OF SPOILER*

Kiernan is the other main character. He's likable and was the captain's favorite and his protegee. When the ship is attacked by the people on the New Horizon, he has to take over control of the ship while the adults try to fix what those on the New Horizon sabotaged. Kiernan is the character who hears God's voice and attempts to introduce religion to the Empyrean. This could be a brilliant move or the death blow to the series. From what I saw in this book, I'm leaning toward the latter.

Overall, I'm giving this book a 1 out of 5 roses. Plenty of controversy and things for a book club to discuss in this one, but the majority of those who read this one with me weren't impressed. It started out very promising, but I just didn't connect with the story and ended up being very disappointed.

Notes to keep you in the know:
To learn more about how zero gravity affects people check out this article:

Order of the Series:

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