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Glow was not really what I expected. I was hoping for an epic battle, where the New Horizon would come and take the girls from the Empyrean, and then those left on the Empyrean would retaliate and attack the New Horizon to recover their girls. Yeah, that didn't happen. Only the first part really. And then the boys sit around and just wait until they get out of the nebula to do anything.
I'm not sure if it was supposed to come off this way, but I definitely felt that the girls, and Waverly in particular, were much stronger characters than the boys. Waverly refuses to give up hope, and is constantly trying to uncover Anne Mathers' secrets and make her way back to the Empyrean. The boys, and Kieran, on the other hand, kind of just sit around and wait for something to happen. They mutiny, and then they get over it. And then they mutiny again when they realize the first mutiny was probably a mistake. It's kind of a mess.
I did enjoy the world building and the plot construction though. I think it's interesting when novels are set in space - there's so much an author can do with that, since nothing is limited. The better their imagination, the richer and more engrossing their world built on a spaceship becomes. Ryan really develops her spaceship worlds, and I often felt like I was the one wandering around the ships trying to find things. The way she imagines that life would be sustained is creative and interesting, and the passengers don't have to give up the things they loved from Earth.
Plus, the idea of one ship having infertile women and one ship having a solution to the problem is something new and different that I haven't encountered before. Usually books in space have some sort of mystery, but mystery kind of took a step back to allow for the conflict to take over. I felt bad for the women aboard the New Horizon, especially since they had no idea what Anne had done to try to bring them babies. They were basically as innocent as the girls, and were being lied to in order to further one person's plan.
I understand wanting to make the ships different in some way, but I really didn't understand why all of the religion was necessary in the book. Especially real religions. I was hoping that they would turn out to be fictional, like in Girl of Fire and Thorns, but the more I read the more I saw otherwise. I'm not sure many people would be attracted to this book if they knew about the huge role religion plays in it, and how it's dealt with. I understand that Christianity has been used to justify some horrible things (e.g. the Crusades, etc.), but was it really necessary to make all of the bad guys religious? I don't think so.
When I started reading Glow, the different points of view and the seemingly haphazard arrangement of them kind of threw me off. The third-person omniscient viewpoints were also unsettling at first, since books that switch between characters are typically written in first person. After about 1/3 of the way through the book though, I started to get used to it. I'm not sure why Ryan chose to write the story that way, but I guess it works in the long run.
Overall, I wasn't really as impressed by this book as I had hoped I would be. It was a good story with interesting characters and conflict, but there were too many things that got in the way of my enjoying it fully. I think anyone who enjoys YA novels in space, or the Across the Universe series might like this book. It's not on par with Across the Universe, but I'm hoping the rest of this series pushes it up a few notches to get there. I would give this book a 3/5, but I will definitely be reading the sequel.