Review: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Glow (Sky Chasers #1) - Amy Kathleen Ryan

Oh my god, I want bacon so bad. The maple kind, both sweet and savoury. Cooked so it's just crispy, the whole house smelling of wholesome bacony goodness.


The only problem is I'm vegetarian. I have been for about three years but recently I have never craved meat so bad. I can honestly say, hand on heart that until now I have never wanted any meat products. The transition from omnivore to herbivore was genuinely a breeze. So I really don't know what's come over me. I want steak, sausages, burgers, roast lamb and most of all bacon. I want to eat meat until I'm bloated and ashamed. And then I want to eat some more. So far I have resisted temptation but I don't know how much longer I can hold off. I'm telling myself that my morals are more valuable than my petty wishes. But are they? After all, I'm only one girl. What can one girl do to change the earth?


According to Waverly of Glow, a helluva lot. She had no qualms about chowing down on some chicken soup (mmm .... I'd forgotten about chicken soup) but she had some very strong opinions regarding right and wrong, justice and freedom.


Glow baffled me. It started off questionable. So I'll say to anyone thinking of throwing it at the wall after the first 50 pages to do so (the first 50 pages defo warrant it) but then go pick it up and bash on as it gets a whole lot better.


The story goes that Waverly and Kieran are teenaged lovers aboard a space ship bound for New Earth, a planet chosen to become home for the next generation of humans after our current home planet becomes uninhabitable due to pollution and destruction. Disaster strikes when the sister space ship, carrying a second load of voyagers attacks and Kieran and Waverly are left fighting for their lives and questioning everything they thought was true.

Yeah, the first 50 pages teach the lesson that perseverance pays off. Glow almost lost me when I read that they were growing tobacco on board. Yes, they were cultivating many different crops to be used to feed the passengers of the space ship and to introduce to New Earth when they arrived. But why grow tobacco?! Why grow a drug, which is used to feed addiction and line the pockets of the government due to the hefty taxes imposed?! (I'm not hatin' on smokers. I'm a smoker. I'm just stating facts.) I just couldn't get my head around this. It really bugged me. I also felt the sexist undertone grating heavily on my very soul. Is it really acceptable for Waverly to be encouraged to have no aspirations other than to be a wife to Kieran and bear his children? Is that really okay?


Turns out no. As the rest of the book goes on to insist IN CAPITAL LETTERS! Girls have the right to any choice they make about their lives. Male or female, we're all equals. Wade your way through that initial slog and you will find a roller coaster ride of emotion. I'm not even exaggerating. My heart was in my mouth (I feared a doctor would be required).


The girls are kidnapped by the evil sister ship, it transpires because they cannot have children and need young, fertile girls to give them a leg up into motherhood. Like, this is some twisted shit. The action scenes are awesomely written. There's nothing particularly lyrical about it, it's blunt and to the point which I love and adds to the tension.


I love the character of Waverly. She's strong, determined and brave. She never once lays down and waits for someone else to rescue her. She gets shit done. I don't think women should ever be satisfied to live their lives in the shadow of a man. This does not mean that I am a man hater. I love men! I just feel that it's vitally important that women believe they can do, in every respect. Not confident dealing with anything regarding your car? Read, learn, grow! There's so much information online. Don't believe you can fix that broken lamp? Read, learn, grow! There's no excuse (unless you can't read. And if you can't read? Learn, grow! There's hundreds of free programmes at schools, colleges and through the job centre that will allow you to improve you skills.) Never believe men when they say you can't do something! You can! You can do anything you want. The first step in achievement is belief in yourself. I love Waverly because she learns this following her kidnap. She learns to trust herself and not to lean on anyone when the going gets tough.


And it gets pretty tough. After her kidnapping, Waverly and the rest of the girls are tricked and controlled by the evil pastor and leader of the sister ship, Anne Mather. She's pretty wicked, and as far as villains go she's fairly menacing. I like her character as it's difficult too know what the deal is with her. Is she lying? Is she really trying to protect the girls, or is she trying to manipulate and steal from them? Makes for an interesting, engaging read. There's a lot of layers to the characters, and their motivations and intentions are not always easy to figure out. It's so great to read a YA dystopia which genuinely surprised me and held my interest.


The end was naturally a cliffhanger. The book is after all, part one of the Sky Chasers series. I intensely hate cliffhangers. It feels like a money grabbing stunt to ensure that you have to buy the next book because you absolutely have to know what happens next. Urgh. I feel that each book in every series or trilogy should be strong enough to stand alone, no book should feel like simply the introduction, or a bridge in the story. Books are expensive, and my local library is poorly stocked so when I pay good money for a book, I expect to get a well rounded, quality written and developed story no matter where the book lies in whatever series. However ..... I actually was not too bothered about the ending to Glow even though that kind of stunt usually has me hulk smashing the book straight into the recycling box, I felt like the cliff hanger ending was actually appropriate and in a natural break in the over all story. So all is forgiven. Kinda.


There was this whole thing at the end about religion and the controlling nature of organised belief and using a higher power and the faith of others to boost one's own ego but ..... I'm not gonna get into that right now. I don't feel like it.


Aargh! I've had so much hassle writing this damn review! I just didn't know what to say about Glow, I was very torn about how I feel about it, in the same way that I'm torn about my commitment to vegetarianism. I don't know if either is a good thing or a bad thing, if I'm enjoying or not enjoying. With regards to vegetarianism, it's not about enjoyment to be honest. It's about not consuming the flesh of another creature, a creature that in all possibility contains a soul and an emotional heart capable of love and hope and compassion. I couldn't knowingly rob another person, be they animal or human of this life if there's the tiniest possibility that they have a perishable soul. I can't be 100% sure that the cow, or the pig or the sheep doesn't hold this in some way or other and therefore I cannot take a chance with eating meat. I would feel like I was eating myself. And that's just plain disgusting. I've seen creatures mourn the loss of companions, I've seen animals comfort others in times of sorrow and grief, I've seen creatures with so much gentle trust in their eyes that it breaks my heart to think they could be led to their own death because they would follow their carer to the end of the earth. I can't do it. Bacon may taste amazing, but it's not worth my integrity.


Wow, there's a tangent up there !!! Did you see it ?!! I went off on it !!! (By the way, I'm not preaching so yeah go ahead and enjoy your bacon you lucky shits. I'm just letting you into my head space for a while. No need to take offence.)


But Glow, yeah read! Enjoy! I'm not sure .....


Holy crap this is a bad review ......


..... and we're done!