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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Glow (Sky Chasers #1) by Amy Kathleen Ryan

hardback cover
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.

Released: September 13, 2011          Pages: 307
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin         Source: won through Goodreads First Reads giveaway
paperback cover
First Look: ***** This is the first ever book I’ve won through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. It looked pretty interesting, though I wasn’t sure what to expect since I haven’t really read any YA science fiction of this kind (the intergalactic, spaceshipy* kind). Now, though, I think I’ll have to look more into the genre.

This will probably be a shorter review, since I’m backed up (again).

Setting:  ***** I like how the author gave variety to the setting, even though the whole thing took place on a spaceship. She used just the right amount of description and details to give us a picture of the setting. It was unique, too—I don’t think I’ve ever read about a setting that’s a vehicle floating in space.

Characters: ***** It took me a few chapters, but after that I really started to like Kieran and Waverly. I admired Waverly’s strong willpower and the organized way Kieran handled things on the spaceship. They were likable and relatable characters. I liked the side characters, too.  

Plot: ***** I really got into the plot. It kept me wanting to read it, and I didn’t get bored. I liked all the twists it had, too. For some reason, the whole thing had a Chaos Walking sort of feel to it, though I’m really not sure why.

It all seemed plausible, too…except one thing. The other spaceship was supposed to be light years ahead of the Empyrean. Yet when the two met up, nobody was really suspicious. The girls all believed the fake story fed to them, about how the invaders just so happened to have saved them at the right time. It didn’t make sense.

Uniqueness: ***** It was unique to me, though I haven’t read much in this genre.

Writing: ***** The writing did a good job telling the story. It didn’t distract from it at all, and I think the third person worked well for the split POV. At first I wasn’t sure about the POV being in chunks of chapters instead of alternating every other, but after awhile I didn’t mind it.

The author did the same thing I talked about in my review of Ashes, though. She used the phrase “the girl” over and over, in place of Waverly’s name. Again, it really gets on my nerves when adult authors do this. I feel like it puts distance between the author and the reader and the narrative, and unnecessarily reminds the reader that the main character is not an adult, but a girl.

Likes:  Girls would have an easier time connecting to Waverly than boys, just because of one plot element. “They took her…what? That is SO not okay! You go get ‘em, Waverly!”

This is neither a like nor a dislike, but I’m using Blood Red Road (which I’m enjoying, by the way) as a mouse pad right now. It works great. Anyway….

Dislikes: In the beginning, I didn’t like the religious message that was given off. The “good ship” was made up of agnostics and atheists, mostly. The “bad ship” was made up of religious people. I wasn’t okay with that. After awhile, though, it seemed that Kieran had reached some kind of religious awakening, which went a long ways towards helping this problem. With the ending, though…now I’m not sure of the religious message. I’ll have to wait and see what happens in the next book, in the way of religion.

Overall: All in all, I really enjoyed this. I loved the plot and really got attached to the characters. The premise was cool, and it was carried out well. It was full of action and had lots of twists. It’s more of a 4.5 star read, really, but I round down to four (usually, in the case of half stars, I round up, but since five stars is a big honor, I round down for 4.5s). Recommended for fans of straight-up science fiction, or for people interested in starting out in that genre. It could have been a five star book, but a few writing quirks (and the sketchy religious message) kept it back for me.

 *Again, more technical terms, here.

Reviews of other Sky Chasers novels:
Spark (Sky Chasers #2)

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  1. Another spaceship YA book that I've really enjoyed is Across the Universe. If you liked this (which I haven't read but I want to!) you might enjoy the other one. I love Beth Revis's writing style.

    1. I've heard lots of good things about Across the Universe. I'll need to check it out!


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