Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Publish Date: September 2011
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.
I finished GLOW about a week ago, and I'm still thinking about it. I was prepared to really like it (sci-fi nerd here), but I was absolutely blown away by this story. To begin with, the description above doesn't do the book justice. Sure it's sci-fi, but it deals with so much more. Issues relating to morality, religion, loyalty, and just how far you are willing to go to survive are woven throughout the book in a way that made me tear through the pages, eager to discover what was going to happen to the characters.
**Minor spoilers below**
The story begins on the spaceship Empyrean. They departed from Earth about a year behind the spaceship New Horizon on a mission to colonize a new planet to ensure the survival of the human race. We meet 15-year-old Waverly and her boyfriend, 16-year-old Kieran, who is supposed to become the next captain of the Empyrean. They were the first of several hundred children conceived in deep space and born on the ship, and they're feeling pressure from the adults to marry and start producing the next generation of children, the ones who will actually live to colonize the new planet. Then the New Horizon shows up and their world is shattered. A crew from the New Horizon forces it's way aboard the Empyrean, kills most of the adults on board, tries to destroy the ship, and then departs with all of the young girls. The girls are told that they've been rescued from the Empyrean because of some catastrophe that happened on board, but Waverly and a few of the other older girls are suspicious. Then Waverly learns the truth--the women of the New Horizon have been unable to conceive children and they need the girls from the Empyrean to help create their new generation. The book then alternates sections from Waverly's point of view on the New Horizon and Kieran's point of View on the Empyrean. Oh, the things those poor characters had to go through!
**End of spoilers**
As for the characters...I haven't read a book in a while in which the characters are painted in so many shades of gray. One minute, you think you know exactly who the bad guy is, then the next you can see how/why they do the things they do. You might not agree with what they're doing, but you understand why they did those things. And sometimes you feel sympathy for them. That's a huge plus to me when an author can pull that off. I can honestly say I can't wait to get my hands on the second book in the series!
Have you read any good books lately? Please share in the comments...I'm always looking for great new books to read:)