Review: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
October 17, 2011 § Leave a comment
The audio of Glow was narrated by Matthew Brown & Ilyana Kadushin who did a wonderful job bringing this futuristic world to life. Ilyana Kadushin is already known as an incredible narrator from her work on the Twilight saga audio books. Both she and Matthew Brown breathed life into the characters on board these ships, alternating from male to female depending on the POV that was being presented in the book. Their narration was probably my favorite part of the book and they definitely kept me engaged in the story.
Glow introduces us to Waverly, a teenage girl trying to decide if she wants to marry the nice boy, Kieran, who says he loves her or if she would rather explore other options with the bad boy, Seth, that she is undeniably drawn to. These seem to be normal teenage concerns even though her life is anything but ordinary. Waverly is one of the first generation born aboard one of two ships bound for “New Earth” where she is expected to marry and to help populate this new world. Things are thrown into chaos and uncertainty for Waverly and her shipmates on the Empyrean when the other ship launches an unexpected attack on her ship, kidnapping all of the young girls and bringing them on board the New Horizon. Waverly takes it upon herself to discover the truth about the intentions of the captain and pastor of the New Horizon, and will risk much to get everyone back to the Empyrean and to those she loves, if they’re still alive.
Glow reminded me a bit of Across the Universe with the sinister leaders and their shady intentions and the clueless people who follow blindly behind a corrupt system. The leader of the New Horizon was fascinating in her ruthlessness. I was intrigued by how she used her charisma to persuade a group of desperate people that God would condone their horrible actions. I think we’ve all seen examples of this and it was interesting to see this topic explored. However, I sometimes had a hard time understanding where the author was heading in regards to religion and the way it was used on both ships. There were so many varying degrees ranging from fanatical, to controlling, to inspirational, to just plain crazy. I’m not certain what the author’s intention was, but it simply left me confused. It was obvious that the “bad guys” used religion to excuse their horrible actions as well as to control people. But I wasn’t sure about how that same religion was being used by the “good guys” in a way that seemed equally as fanatical and more than a little crazy.
I also had a difficult time understanding why Waverly would be attracted to either of the guys in Glow. Seth is an obvious sociopath with violent tendencies and no impulse control. And Kieran, the “nice guy” has either suffered a head injury that has caused him to hallucinate or is, at worst, a schizophrenic, but at least a mostly benevolent one with only occasional violent outbursts. Either way, I found both of these guys to be unlikable and definitely not love interest material. Waverly herself is an very strong and capable heroine who did her share of suffering throughout the story. I loved her strength, perseverance, and courage in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds as well as her vulnerability which kept her realistic and relatable.
Overall, while I didn’t “love” Glow, there were many things I liked about it. There was a lot going on in this action packed story. There were many different plot lines and unexpected twists. This usually makes it easy for me to stay engaged in a story, I enjoy the tension building, the shocking plot twists, and the excitement of the final confrontation. I enjoyed all of these things in Glow. Glow is certainly an action packed page turner that has many twists and turns that will shock, surprise, and satisfy fans of dystopian themed fantasy. I hope that many of the issues I had concerns about will be cleared up in the sequel.