Book Talk: Glow/ Amy Kathleen Ryan

If I only had to choose one word to describe this book, it would be unexpected. In a second, life as you know it will change and you never know what to believe.

Kieran and Waverly live on a ship called the Empyrean. They are the first generation to be successfully conceived in space. Kieran is groomed to be captain of the ship one day. Waverly knew everyone wanted them to marry, but she’s not so sure. Their life changes when the people on a neighboring ship, New Horizons, brutally takes all the girls. Most of the adults on the Empyrean are hurt or killed.

Kieran and Waverly are separated, and they don’t even know if their parents are alive. She tries to find a way to escape, while he tries to get the Empyrean back to working order after New Horizon’s attack. Nothing ever comes easy as the leader of the New Horizons reveals something to Waverly that makes her question what the Empyrean’s captain been hiding. Meanwhile, Kieran is faced with opposition in the tangible form of Seth, who wants to be in charge.

Thoughts and sentiments
Glow raises questions about morality, religion and politics all while incorporating these issues seamlessly into the fictional world of Waverly and Kieran. The setting reminds me of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game series, while the problems are reminiscent futuristic sci-fi when earth is no longer inhabitable, and procreation is vital.

It is hard to know anyone’s true intentions and at each turn, the characters reveal another facet. The focal male character Kieran is portrayed as the typical golden boy groomed for success. He has been with Waverly since they were young.

Waverly is likely going to be his wife, since the people on the Empyrean are concerned about continuing the future generations. However, she is uncertain if she is ready, and she wants her feelings to come first rather than duty. She remembers the day when Seth confessed his feelings for her, but she turned away. Seth is the resident third vertex of the triangle, “bad boy,” and Kieran’s opposite in every way, but he is a bully.

Nothing is as simple as it seems. Kieran and Waverly’s story is not confined within their interactions. There is a pressing issue of fertility on the other spaceship. When New Horizons took all the girls, they stole unfertilized eggs from them as well. Waverly was disgusted, and it certainly raised my eyebrow as well.

Just when Waverly is able to escape to safety with the rest of the girls, she feels as if she has run, willingly, into another prison. Kieran is changed after what happened after the New Horizons came, and he begins a religious leadership. He is no longer the person that she thought she knew and I have a feeling that she never really knew him to begin with.

I like that none of the characters are what any of them seem to be. This certainly changes the dynamic quickly. I can’t trust what I believe, because it will change in the next chapter. This is a good read.

More information about Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan here.

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