Author: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Narrators: Matthew Brown and Ilyana Kadushin
On the Empyrean, life is routine in deep space. Grow the crops, raise the livestock, and prep yourself for the life you are supposed to lead—repopulating the human race on a new planet, which you'll reach in about 40 years. Waverly and Kieran have known this their whole lives, as they were the first two successful births in deep space. When Kieran proposes, Waverly knows she should be happy to accept, but a part of her is hesitant.
But all this changes in an instant.
The New Horizon, the Empyrean's sister ship, has somehow managed to rendez-vous with them, something that should never have happened. A vicious attack and a traumatic separation force the children, especially Waverly and Kieran, to grow up a lot faster than they have had to thus far. Now, their main concern is survival.
This book was really intense. I listened to the audio version, and I found that I got too stressed out listening to it at night, so I would turn it off and put on Bedtime Magic instead. The situations in Glow were truly awful to think about. True manipulation, sabotage, violence, sinister motives, all of them were in here. And yet, ethics are always at the root of each issue. At what point does a person become an accomplice if they do nothing while watching atrocities? To what extent should someone go to do what they think is right? I was always eager yet afraid to find out where the action was going, and how one character would triumph over another. And that's what it came down to at the end. There was no compromise, only a winner and a loser.
The book is split between Waverly's and Kieran's perspectives, in the third person. Kieran, still on the Empyrean, is caught in a really bad situation. As the captain's protege, he tries to assume control, but finds that not all the boys are willing to let him. What ends up happening is a Lord-of-the-Flies-like breakdown, which was really terrifying to hear about for me.
Waverly, on the other hand, is stuck on the New Horizon, where there are no children. Fertility disappeared among the women on this ship, and that is the reason the girls from the Empyrean are brought aboard. For a woman, listening to how the pastor Anne Mather manipulates her congregation/ship and the girls is downright despicable. That said, she has this humanness that is startling at points—you're not sure when to trust her, if you can at all. She was very complex, and I really liked that.
One problem was with Kieran and Waverly, though more so with the former. I never really connected with Kieran, only because he is pretty dull. Waverly seemed a bit distant to me as well, though I could understand her better since she's a girl. It was really nice to see her stick to her guns, too.
What I didn't like much was the how anti-Christian a lot of the book seemed. I understand what Ryan was trying to do, but I think she missed the mark. She made it seem like all Christians are manipulative and controlling. Some are, sure, but not all, and I personally would have liked to see a positive instance in there.
As for the narrators, Ilyana Kadushin again did a great job. She is just a delight to listen to. Matthew Brown was all right. I wasn't crazy about his voice, but it did the job, and I got to listen to Kadushin for half of the book anyway.
I'm interested to see where this series goes. It wasn't my very favorite, but it certainly got my attention and I enjoyed listening to it.
Disclosure: The publisher sent me a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!