12 October 2011

REVIEW: GLOW

Glow
Author: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Series: Yes, #1 Sky Chasers
UK Publisher: Macmillan
UK Release date: October 2011
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian
Kindly given by the publisher for an honest review

When earth is no longer sustainable to live on spaceships set off for a New Earth. For Waverly and the other children born on the Empyrean, life in space is normal and happy. At least until their twin spaceship, the New Horizon, docks next to them when it should be years ahead of them.

Review: To grow up in space, never seeing a sunset, waves hitting the beach or mountains seems odd and slightly sad to me, but for Empyrean’s children space is their home. I imagined it might be quite cool to travel through space, with normal gravity and views of the cosmos, but the reality seems more sterile. Whilst they are in the nebula they see no stars, and really the view doesn’t change that much (just more black space out the window!) Leaving the confines of the spaceship is virtually impossible, and must drive some people to suffer from ‘cabin-fever’ after so many years, and for the New Horizon it must be even worse, and in some ways explains why some characters acted the way they did. This setting was different and interesting, and I’m really intrigued to find out whether they ever reach their new planet!

Glow touches on what it takes to be a good person and a leader. It doesn’t matter if you are female, male, religious or secular, you can still fail your people. Anne Mather’s use of religion uplifted the crew and made them believe they were working towards a higher power and bigger goal, however her deception and willingness to commit crimes to ensure the survival of their crew was deceitful and heinous. I didn’t like the way she twisted religion, blending lies and truth, to make people follow her. In contrast Seth used fear to lead and control the other boys. Whilst he was a bully, he was upfront about what he was doing. In neither situation was it a black or white answer as to whether they were right or wrong.

As I’m not particularly religious I don’t like being preached to, and at one point I almost thought that’s what Glow was trying to do with its sermons. Thankfully however, Amy Kathleen Ryan doesn’t just present one point of view, but through a third person perspective is able to show a variety of views and opinions, each justified by different characters. I guess this is quite good because depending on your own opinion as a reader you can then relate more to a particular character that shares your outlook. But the problem with this for me is that I sympathised with almost everyone despite their conflicting viewpoints and morally wrong actions, because you could see their justification and reasoning. Although I liked Waverly the most I didn’t have an overwhelming sense of connection with any one character. I’m hoping that in the next book, we get to see even more of Waverly so that I can build on the connection I do have with her.

Glow was intriguing and definitely thought-provoking. I knew what might happen on New Horizon, but I couldn’t help feeling a horrible sense of dread and fearful anticipation all the same. Amy Kathleen Ryan really makes you think how far you would be willing to go to save humanity. I can’t wait to see what happens next in the Sky Chasers series.

Rating: 4*

2 comments:

Vivienne said...

Mmmm, not sure about the preaching. I have read mixed reviews of this one so a little reluctant to read it.

Jamie (Mithril Wisdom) said...

I've got Glow on by shelf and I was really iffy about reading it. After this review I'll probably give it a go. Thanks :D