Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan – Review

Glow

What would happen if every woman was infertile? What would happen if there were no girls under 16? Would boys 16 and under, suddenly left to fend for themselves, end up killing each other? How can the human race survive global warming? Is there a God?

I really was not prepared for how captivating and disturbing I found Glow, the first book in The Skychasers Trilogy. Once this book gets out there, not only will the teens be hooked on this new series, but also their parents and their teachers. Glow is Young Adult science fiction, but cross-over to general fiction is assured.

Glow is a huge book. Its themes are immense. Its scope universal. Glow intertwines Shakespearean drama and fundamentalist Christianity with the nightly news of environment, politics and ethics. We are forced to consider crime and punishment, sexuality, fertility, family, sustainable living, war, fidelity, friendship, religion, honour, leadership, division of labour, gender equality, loyalty, artificial insemination, astronomy, education, tribalism, courage, nutrition, and ultimately the survival of the human race. We also learn all about the effects of varying degrees of gravity on the human body. Like I said, this is a huge book.

Glow is set in the entirely believable future, where the only unpredictable life forms are other humans – no vampires, werewolves or aliens, just the same humans with the same failings as we see in history repeated. Unfortunately, we humans don’t seem to have learnt to get on any better than any time in history.

Earth has become increasingly uninhabitable and two large spaceships set off for New Earth, which is a couple of generations’ travel away. Waverly and Kieran, the eldest of the first generation born in space, are in love. Their ship is attacked, and they see strangers for the first time. When people are fighting for their lives, is it too much to ask that they remain civilised? Is it?

Frankly, after reading Glow, which highlights many of the unsavoury weaknesses of the human character, I sat, overwrought, thinking that human beings are despicable and we don’t deserve to survive. Let them fail to find New Earth! We are all sinners and not worthy! But of course, I now must read the sequel, so I guess we can stay around for a little while longer.

At the end of the book, the author reveals in her Acknowledgments that she based the major themes in her story on the book The Puritan Origins of the American Self by Sacvan Bercovitch, PhD. Well, that explains that, I thought. They can throw out the curriculum for senior high school culture and ideology studies and read The Skychasers Trilogy – and I’m sure they will.

By Jenny Mann

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