It was interesting to read this immediately after reading When She Woke by Hillary Jordan, because both books are similar in that they posit future dystopias in worlds run by puritanical theocracies. Additionally, women are valued mainly for their child-bearing (and, of course, pleasuring of men with sex, voluntarily or not). A hypocritical religious hierarchy plays a pivotal role in exercising mind control over the populations. The most striking similarily, however, is that in both books, the most evil character tries to subdue the heroine by fixing her chamomile tea. Needless to say, I shan’t be tempting fate anymore by drinking that clearly nefarious concoction.
In Glow, the earth has been made virtually uninhabitable after the usual ecocide scenario, and two ships, the Empyrean and the New Horizon, are heading for “New Earth.” The Empyrean contains mostly secular families, while the travelers on New Horizon believe, like the Puritans once did, that they are on a religious mission to create a new moral beacon out in the uninhabited parts of the universe.
Waverly, 15 is the oldest girl on the Empyrean, and is romantically involved with Kieran, 16, the oldest boy, out of 252 children on board. There are no children on board the New Horizon because of a mysterious fertility problem. Forty-three years into the mission, the Empyrean is attacked by the New Horizon, and all the female children are taken hostage. They are told the others are dead or lost in shuttles, and that the older girls from the Empyrean must donate their eggs to the women of the New Horizon.
From this point on, we follow the fates of Waverly and Kieran in alternating chapters. The book doesn’t end with a cliffhanger, but nor does it end in a clean-cut way, since this is only book one of a trilogy.
Discussion: Similarly as in When She Woke, there is a lot of discussion among characters in this book over belief in God, and whether fundamentalist religions offer a legitimate or desirable way to express that belief, or indeed, if any belief is even justifiable or possible.
I didn’t see the point of a huge chunk of this book (involving the two boys Seth and Kieran), but I am willing to suspend judgment since it is only book one. Often with trilogies, plot lines don’t become clear until later on in the series.
Evaluation: Not bad, but much of it strains credulity, and in my opinion is certainly not “the most riveting series since The Hunger Games,” as the blurb contends.
Published by St. Martin’s Press, a division of Macmillan Publishing, 2011