Monday, 27 August 2012

Review- Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Glow is the story of Waverly. Waverly is the oldest girl in her generation, the first generation of children to be born on board the Empyrean, after a bout of infertility. Their ship and another just like it, the New Horizon, have left Earth for a new planet the believe they can colonize after Earth’s resources start running out and it becomes an unbearable place to live. However something goes wrong.
In the heart of a nebula New Horizon, which should be so far ahead of the Empyrean that they can’t see it, has slowed down enough so that they are almost side along with Waverly’s ship. Crew members from the New Horizon board the Empyrean and quickly everything goes down hill. The girls are taken from their homes, most of the adults are killed, the Empyrean is sabotaged and the boys are left to cope by themselves without a clue. Amidst chaos and fear Waverly must learn that power corrupts, everyone has secrets and but most importantly; how to find a way back home

Today I thought I’d write a review for Glow. Both from the cover and the genre of this book I thought it would be painfully like Across the Universe, which I did not like, and so I was incredibly apprehensive about reading this at first. In fact I didn’t even bother to check out the description, so turned off by the idea it might compare to a book that had disappointed me as much as Across the Universe had done.

However, after seeing a ‘glowing’ (haha like my pun) video review by Raleen on Youtube I decided to give it ago, gritting my teeth and not expecting much at all. First of all I’d like to say that I did not hate this book, but I do have a lot of reservations about it.

The characters are good for the must part, Waverly definitely feels like a tough chick. Unlike so many lead protagonists she does not "umm" and "ahh" about things. She acts. She finds things out, changes what she doesn’t like, stands up against what she doesn’t believe in and battles through out. Some of the other characters like Kieran and Seth also feel well rounded and actually like people, but there is not much more than 5 or 10 characters that feel like that. A lot of the side characters feel flat and uninteresting.

The world building was decent. I felt like this book had enough scientific knowledge in it, although not great amounts. I was a little annoyed during the vacuum scene where it was obvious that the author didn’t know what would actually happen if someone died in a vacuum. However the differences between the two ships in terms of crew felt very real and I did like the way religion was shown in this book. It can give hope and create peace, but it can also be a dangerous weapon of power over people.

My biggest issue with this book was the pacing. Every few chapters we’d get a sentence randomly in an event which said “a few months passed like this” or “after a few months” etc... but it didn’t feel like a few months had passed, nor did it feel like some of the issues should have taken so long to resolve. If you are desperate and angry some things should take weeks at best to overcome. As well as the events in this apparently taking so long no one aged, not one person had a birthday. I know it’s unlikely they’d celebrate a birthday but it could have been mentioned if this book supposedly spans months and months. And the timelines where events where happening on the Empyrean and events were happening on New Horizon didn’t seem to match very well, they could have been happening more clearly at the same or different times.

Over all this book was decent. A good quick read, but it was by no means beautifully written or well thought out really. Science was used when it helped the plot and that was about it, the issues it tackled were good but they could have been handled better. Overall it was decent but not book of the year for me even though I enjoyed Waverly’s character and the storyline I don’t think it was executed as well as it could have been. 

Also what's with the name Glow? Trying to sell to tweeny little girls much?

Paperback, UK Edition, 385 pages
Published October 7th 2011 by Macmillan Children's Books (first published September 13th 2011)
ISBN: 0330535587 (ISBN13: 9780330535588)
Edition language: English
Original title: Glow


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