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I Belong

Review: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan


AuthorAmy Kathleen Ryan

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Series: Sky Chasers

Publication Date: September 13, 2011

Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages

ISBN-100312590563 (St. Martin’s Griffin)

ISBN-13978-0312590567 (St. Martin’s Griffin)

Reviewed byMacie


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…

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he’s the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren’t all from the outside.

Quick and DirtyHumanity is put to the test when the future of the human race is at stake in this emotional space travel science fiction novel. 

Opening SentenceThe other ship hung in the sky like a pendant, silver in the ether light cast by the nebula.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review

Glow begins on the ship, the Empyrean, with Kieran proposing to his girlfriend, Waverly. The scene between the two of them really sets up their characters well. Kieran is the golden child of the ship who is immersed in his future as the possible successor of the captain of the Empyrean. Waverly, who is thoughtful and strong willed, is the oldest girl born on the Empyrean. Everyone assumes she is going to marry Kieran, but Waverly is still hesitant, especially about Kieran’s religious views. We find out that there are two ships, the Empyrean and the New Horizon; that set out from Earth to form a New Earth. The Empyrean is mostly secular and the New Horizon is religious. The way Amy Kathleen Ryan approaches religion is interesting since I never thought about what it would look like so many years into the future.

The two ships are exactly alike, except for the inclusion of religion on the New Horizon. Both are equipped with farming areas and animals that provide what the people need to survive. That is, until we find out that the New Horizon had fertility issues, leaving their crew without any successors. The mission will take many years to complete, so the lack of children would doom the New Horizon to fail. Their course of action is to break into the Empyrean and steal the children for their own. Ryan does a great job at revealing information as the characters learn it to keep her readers in suspense.

The New Horizon’s plan only half works since they only manage to kidnap the young girls, which may or may not have been their plan all along. The girls are taken away from the only home they ever knew and forced to live with families on the New Horizon without its passengers batting an eye at the ethics of what’s happening. How the followers of Christianity could ever willing embrace this plan is explained in the character of Anne Mathers. Mathers is the New Horizon’s pastor who rose to power and eventually took over the ship through questionable means. The interactions with Waverly and Mathers when Waverly is trying to get the whole story of what happened to them was very well done. Anne Mathers is an appalling woman who uses the guise of a matronly follower of God to get what she wants. The scary part is how well it works. She has almost the whole ship at her feet as she proudly steals young girls and uses them to correct their fertility problems. I know I felt emotionally drained at times after reading the book at times. You feel so much empathy for these characters as their lives are ripped apart.

The boys left on the Empyrean don’t fare much better. Separated from the adults, the boys have no clue if their parents are alive or if they will ever see their sisters and girlfriends again. They must work together to do what they can for the remaining adults and set course to follow after the New Horizon. Some of the scenes with the boys, especially the younger ones, were heartbreaking for what they had to go through. This is definitely not a light read, and it will definitely pull you in to the world of the future.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and the writing was excellent. This is definitely a book, and series, I will be revisiting again.

Notable Scene

The shuttle lurched as it left the Empyrean, then settled into a smooth flight. To Waverly, used to the immense farming bays of her home, the shuttle felt asphyxiating and small. Passenger seats lined the walls and the one hundred and thirty girls sat facing the center of the room, staring out the portals and looking tearfully at one another.

Samantha Stapleton sat Indian style on the floor, twisting her hand in her lap. The girl looked at Waverly with round eyes.

Waverly felt sick to her stomach from the zero gravity. She was strapped in, but she couldn’t feel the weight of her body, and with her palm she kept touching the seat underneath her, making sure it was still there. She had a strange feeling of nonexistence, as if she’d left her body behind and were floating above these frightening people.

She should have listened to Seth. She should have run away.

“I’m still alive,” Waverly told herself. She knew it because she could feel Felicity’s leg next to her own. She wanted to reach out and touch her friend, hold her hand they way they’d done as little girls. That wasn’t so long ago, but Felicity seemed very far from her now, so Waverly kept to herself. She didn’t want to be this scared, so she didn’t want to act scared.

The red-faced woman who had started the shooting floated at the head of the cabin, strapped into a harness that hooked to the wall, holding her weapon to her chest. She kept her smallish eyes trained on the girls, but something about her was unsteady, and every so often she sniffed. Waverly thought she might be crying, but such a monster should not be capable of tears.

The Sky Chasers Series:

1. Glow

2. Spark

FTC Advisory: St. Martin’s Griffin provided me a copy of Glow. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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One Response to “Review: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

  1. Nina @ Death Books and TeaNo Gravatar

    I just got this from a book swap… This seems like an interesting read. Five skulls? Seems like I’ll enjoy this.

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