By Amy Kathleen Ryan
My Rating: 4 / 5
(MINOR SPOILERS BELOW FOR GLOW)
This is the sequel to Glow, which I read earlier this year and loved. I couldn’t find it on the Kobo store, to my surprise, so I purchased the e-book through Google Play. Here is an excerpt of the summary:
After a desperate escape from the enemy ship, Waverly has finally made it back to the Empyrean. The memory of home has been keeping her alive for the past months… but home is nothing like she left it. Forced to leave their captive parents behind on the New Horizon, she’s returned only to find that Kieran has become a strict leader and turned the crew against Seth. What happened to the Kieran she thought she knew? Now Waverly’s not sure whom she can trust. And the one person she wants to believe in is darkly brilliant Seth, the ship’s supposed enemy. Waverly knows that the situation will only get worse until they can rescue their parents – but how? Before they have time to make a plan, an explosion rocks the Empyrean, and Seth and Waverly are targeted as the prime suspects. Can they find the true culprit before Kieran locks them away… or worse?
This book picks up where Glow left off, with Waverly and the girls back on the Empyrean, and Kieran in charge of the ship with Seth locked up in the brig. The adults are still on the New Horizon, in Anne Mather’s clutches.
Throughout the book, Waverly, Kieran, Seth, and the other kids struggle with ideas of revenge and justice, democracy and dictatorship, and how to get their parents back. There are no adults left to run the ship, and so they must handle the day to day tasks necessary to keep everything running smoothly, including piloting the ship, tending to the livestock, and taking on the role of the ship’s doctor.
Some of the history between the New Horizon and Empyrean was revealed in this book, which was interesting, and reminded me that part of what I liked so much about Glow was that there weren’t clear-cut good guys and bad guys – just when I thought I had someone/something figured out, I learned something new that made me see that person differently. In fact, Kieran and Seth seem to have undergone some sort of role reversal over the course of the two books, with Kieran now the leader of the ship and Seth the shunned outcast.
The characters on the Empyrean have gone through some pretty serious, traumatic events since the beginning of Glow (Waverly’s capture and experiences on the New Horizon; Kieran being threatened by Seth and almost killed, and then becoming a self-appointed leader of the Empyrean; Seth going from de facto leader to prisoner aboard his own ship at Kieran’s orders). These events have changed them all, and as a result their relationships have changed. For example, Waverly is no longer trusting and thinks of herself as cold and hard, and Kieran may have been corrupted by his own rise to power, looking at Seth and Waverly as his enemies.
A lot of the conflict in this book takes place between the kids aboard the Empyrean amongst themselves, and I really liked those parts of the story. I couldn’t help but think of Lord of the Flies in space while reading this, so if that appeals to you, you’ll probably enjoy this series.
Somehow I got the idea in my head that there were only two books in this series, and so I read the book expecting things to be resolved by the end, but with just a few pages to go, I couldn’t see how that would be possible (there is a lot of action towards the end of the book!). Well, there was a major cliffhanger of an ending and I was angry with the way things ended, until I saw that there will be another book in this series coming out in the summer of 2013. Gah, I don’t want to wait that long to find out what happens next!!
This book was a real page turner, because I couldn’t quite predict what the characters would do, and when the New Horizon and Anne Mather begin to show up again in the story, I realized that I definitely couldn’t tell what would happen next. I love when I can read a book and not have any idea about what’s going to happen, and just enjoy the journey. This is definitely one of those books.
There is also something eerie about the setting – space! – and knowing that the characters are surrounded by all of that black, deep, emptiness. I get freaked out just watching specials on the Discovery Channel about space, so this series has certainly tapped into something a bit unsettling, as far as I’m concerned, but I liked that, because I felt that it lent some urgency to the story and the actions taken by the characters due to the inherent dangers of their surroundings.
I enjoyed this book as much as I liked Glow, and I continue to recommend this series.