Glow – Amy Kathleen Ryan


“A ship heading for New Earth is halfway through its incredible journey across the galaxy. On board, sixteen-year-olds Waverly and Kieran are part of the first generation born in space.

They are in love.

They believe their future is written in the stars.

They have never seen a stranger before…until the day they are wrenched apart and suddenly find themselves fighting for their lives.”


Behind the beautiful cover, Glow is a thrilling story told in alternating perspective between Waverly Marshall and Kieran Alden. Their lives on board the Empyrean spaceship had always been peaceful, with their biggest concern being when they should get married…until they faced an unprecedented attack from their sister ship the New Horizon.

In amongst the chaos of the attack the girls are separated from the boys and whisked away to the New Horizon. With Waverly and Kieran apart they fight hard not just to stay alive but to find a way back to each other.

Before starting this book I’d heard many comparisons thrown around, everything from The Hunger Games to Across the Universe, and though I can see where there might be similarities, Glow does stand on its own.

I had fairly mixed feelings about Glow, by the end, I did really enjoy it, it definitely hooks you in once you become familiar with the setting and characters but the turn of events especially with how they affected some characters left me unsure as to how I felt about them.

I was surprised by how strongly religion is used in Glow and though at times it came across as quite preachy especially from characters like Anne Mather and Kieran, it’s contrasted by Waverly and other members of the Empyrean. It would’ve been better if there more characters in the middle rather than characters who were totally with the religion or totally against it because it tends to force the reader to pick a side as well.

During their time apart Waverly and Kieran each had dark and difficult experiences that have left lasting impressions, some more horrifying than others.  Each character proved their strength, both mentally and physically but by the end, I found Waverly to be more likeable than Kieran because his transformation into the ship’s more or less spiritual leader made him seem very different to the boy he was in the beginning and made you lose that initial connection with him.

Seth was another character I had a hard time connecting with just because it was hard to figure out if we’re meant to sympathize with him or not. The same goes with Anne Mather, I wanted to believe her reasoning for her choices but some of her actions made me unsure.

It was clear that Amy Kathleen Ryan wasn’t afraid to push her characters to their limit and it’ll be interesting to see those repercussions and how they’ll affect their relationships with one another in the next book.

For the sci-fi fans this book definitely gives an awesome insight into what living in space would be like. Perhaps not with as much detail as Across the Universe, but still covers things quite well.

Though I didn’t love it, Glow was definitely enjoyable and worth a read.

Pages: 307
Publication Date: October 2011
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Challenge: n/a
Rating: [rating:3.5]

Teaser Quote: “It was true, Kieran realized later that night, alone in the darkness, hungry and aching, and missing Waverly. He was very afraid.”

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