Amy Kathleen Ryan earned an MA in English Literature at the University of Vermont, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the New School Creative Writing for Children Program in New York City. She is also the author of two widely acclaimed young adult novels, Zen and Xander Undone and Vibes. Glow is the first book in the SkyChasers series.
The Empyrean is the only home Waverly has ever known. Part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space, she and her boyfriend Kieran will be pioneers of New Earth. Waverly knows she must marry young in order to have children who can carry on the mission, and Kieran, the handsome captain-to-be, has everything Waverly could want in a husband. Everyone is sure he’s the best choice. Still, there’s a part of Waverly that wants more from life than marriage, and she is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.
Suddenly, Waverly’s dreams are interrupted by the inconceivable – a violent betrayal by the Empyrean’s sister ship, the New Horizon. The New Horizon’s leaders are desperate to populate the new planet first, and will do anything to get what they need: young girls. In one pivotal moment, Waverly and Kieran are separated, and find themselves at the helm of dangerous missions, where every move has potentially devastating consequences, and decisions of the heart may lead to disaster.
The first few chapters of the book were very confusing for me because I felt I was missing some key pieces of information, like why these people were on a space ship, how long they had been there, how they produce food and oxygen. When all this was explained a few chapters into the book, I felt more comfortable and started to enjoy the story line.
It is an interesting plot and I was intrigued by the desperation and panic of the crew of New Horizon that made them attack their sister ship. I found Waverly to be slow on the uptake sometimes; she figured things out a little too late, when there had been many clues and her conclusions were hard to miss. There were never any revelations in this book which shocked me. I found the characters to be largely inaccessible in this book; I read about them and watched them suffer, but I felt detached the whole time. I never found myself flipping pages and anxiously waiting to find out if everything turned out okay.
The shining glory in this novel is the villian: the Pastor of New Horizon, Anne Mather. She truly believed she has a mandate from God which allows her to harvest fertile eggs from unwilling young girls, which really terrified me. Invariably I found the sequences concerning the boys left behind on the Empyrean more engaging than the ones about the girls on New Horizon. I think this was mainly due to Seth, who isn’t at all your typical foil to the Golden Boy (in this case, Kieran). He is a complex and interesting character with a palatable dark side. I look forward to getting to know him better in the sequels.
This is an interesting novel by Amy Kathleen Ryan, and I wonder what she will come up with in the next SkyChasers novel. I’m sure that if you like science fiction and space travel then you will enjoy Glow.
About the book: