Saturday, September 15, 2012

Book Review: Glow

Looking back on my summer I didn't read nearly as much science-fiction this year as I did last year which is kinda interesting, I guess I'm just in more of a fantasy mood right now (I'll just blame the hype for The Hobbit for that one). I think this was the only really sci-fi work I read this summer and if I had known that I would've chosen another book.

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Summary: In the future Earth has undergone even more trauma and in an attempt to make sure that some of humanity survives on other world two ships were constructed and sent into space to make a decades long journey to another world. But people will be people, that is to stay manipulative, deceitful, and just plain petty and the children born in space in the journey, namely the viewpoint characters Waveryly and Keiran, are pulled into the fight between the two ships where everything for both of them is at stake.

The Good: I did like some of the science in the book, mainly the idea of using a constantly increasing acceleration to create artificial gravity (although I have no idea if that would work in real life) because where's the fun in science fiction if they don't at least think about how different the future will be? The setting was really where I enjoyed the story the most, it's been a little while since I read sci-fi set in space (I guess Space Opera is the term for it?) and it felt like Ryan really put some thought into how everything would work.

The Bad: I'm not a religious person these days and, although I've had my fair share (if you could call it that) of crazy people yelling that I'm going to hell for not belonging to their faith I like to think that I'm fairly chill when it coms to people and their religious beliefs. I do wonder however if Ryan had even more crazy people screaming at her since by the end of the book it seems to be actively pushing the belief that religion can only be used to hurt people and people never have a choice in it. From the Space Pilgrims (no really, the New Horizon and Empyrean were split between the religious, all of whom seem to belong to the same group, and the secular plus those of other religions, and from the beliefs to the dress of the people on the New Horizon there are some pretty clear parallels) to the sermons at the end it's clear that differences of/about faith are going to be the instigator of even more trouble later in the series and I feel like Ryan said "see, faith can be good too! Nah I'm kidding, people will still force it against others regardless." Also, while there are events in any story that the main character(s) have no control over and have to deal with some authors pull this off better than others I just didn't like how it was done here. Waveryly especially had to go through a ton of stuff, had no control over any of it, and it was frustrating to see that there was no way for her to take control given how young she was. The story could have worked if the characters were older and, now that I think about it, I would have liked that since the characters would have had more options and felt more like, well, characters rather than items being manipulated by the plot. All in all it was a very unsatisfying book to read and I really did consider throwing it while reading it several times.

So, a bust from me and I won't be checking out the rest of the series at all. Guess that'll give me time for more books later on, and I did read some other books with sci-fi elements this summer, although I didn't necessarily like those a ton either.   

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