‘Glow’ & ‘Spark’ by Amy Kathleen Ryan + GIVEAWAY

Glow

by Amy Kathleen Ryan

St. Martin’s Griffin

Pub. Date:   July 17, 2012 (paperback)

Book received from: Publisher

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Genre:  YA fantasy/sci-fi

Cover:  Pretty- I don’t really see many pink covers

Characters:  Engaging and relatable

Worth the read?  Yes- if you are looking for more Sci-fi in your YA

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Kieran and Waverly are fifteen-years-old and are the first generation to ever be conceived and raised on their ship, the Empyrean, on route to inhabit New Earth.  They are expected to marry, have children, and continue the mission their parents have started.  However, no one could have predicted the disaster their sister ship, the New Horizon, could bring to both colonies of people.  After a crash that may not have been so accidental, the sordid history of their parents’ making comes to light, as does the true nature within each of the ships’ members.

I have thought many times that there is not enough Sci-fi within the YA genre.  At least, not that speaks easily to both guys and gals.  Ryan fixes that, and does so much more.  She is not afraid to approach topics that will make the reader uncomfortable, and to mix in a sort of love story along the way (but not too much).

The members of the New Horizon are not able to have children after a supposed sabotage on the part of the captain of the Empyrean.  After being taken onto the New Horizon, Waverly and the other girls become aware that they are going to be used as human egg farms in order to help the crew conceive.  Caught in the middle of a political battle and used as pawns, Waverly is made painfully aware that there is no easy end to the war between the ships.  It is up to her to save her friends and find a way back to the Empyrean.

Meanwhile, back on ship Empyrean, the boys are left to fend for themselves, after all the adults are killed or missing.  The result is much like a space-age Lord of the Flies, as they are pushed to extremes they never thought possible, and their true natures emerge.  Kieran and Seth battle for control of the ship and the crew within, as well as the affection of Waverly.

Underneath it all is a current of religious fanaticism, adding to the feeling of claustrophobia, that is not often explored in YA.  As things begin to fall apart, many of the kids find comfort in the idea of a higher power, while others see the dangers to which it can lead.  It is important to note that Ryan does not deliver the religious content in a way that is either for or against its institution, but rather allows the reader to explore along with the characters.

Glow is a great start to the series, and ends with an epic cliffhanger.  I am glad I did not read it until the sequel, Spark, was also in my hands, or I would have been chomping at the bit until its release.  The Sky Chasers series is different, explores dark and deep material, and delivers a relatable and broad range of characters.  This is a series not to be missed, and expands the much-overlooked area of sci-fi.  Glow manages to merge Simone de Beauvior, The Beatles, and space exploration seamlessly.  And, I never thought that could be done.

 

Spark

by Amy Kathleen Ryan

St. Martin’s Griffin

Pub. Date:   July 17, 2012 (paperback)

Book received from: Publisher

_____________________________________

 

Genre:  YA fantasy/sci-fi

Series:  Book #2 of the Sky Chasers novels

Cover:  Pretty- Very complimentary to the paperback of Glow

Characters:  Engaging and relatable, and really growing into their own

Worth the read?  Yes- if you are looking for more Sci-fi in your YA

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**This review contains spoilers if you have not yet read Glow**

Spark picks up right where Glow leaves us hanging, and the drama intensifies.  Now that they are all back on the Empyrean, the kids are left to pick up the pieces of their lives.  The adults are still missing, and the quest to rule the ship is at the forefront for Kieran, Waverly, and Seth.  They each have their own ideas, and there is no way they are able to compromise their belief systems.  Too much has happened to each of them, as well as between them to go back to how it used to be.  Realizing how far they are willing to go is the focus of this second installment in the series.

Kieran is driven further into his religious teachings, and Waverly and Seth both see the danger of relying solely on such an outside source.  As their efforts to gain control of the ship fall apart, they are also faced with an intruder on the ship whose sole purpose is to destroy them.  As they discover more of the history their former captain covered up, it quickly becomes clear that there is a much deeper and darker history between the two ships.  However, sorting out the truths is only have the battle.

As the crew of the Empyrean begins to implode upon themselves, their efforts become focused on the interpersonal relationships, rather than the bigger picture.  This all leaves the perfect opening for the return of the New Horizon, and a chance for the captain, Pastor Mather, to gain control of both ships- unless the kids can settle their differences long enough to fight back.

Spark continues the series with a focus on the relationships between the crew of the Empyrean.  While I would have liked to have seen more gender-focused storylines, like in Glow, it adds more layers to the psychological breakdowns happening in the microcosm of the ship.  Again, a perfect cliffhanger for the next book, and I am anxiously waiting for the release.  Sadly, I fear I have a long wait.

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St. Martin’s Griffin has generously offered a copy of ‘Spark’ for one lucky reader.  To be entered, simply comment below & tell me if you have read any good YA sci-fi to recommend, with your e-mail address in the comment.   
Must be at least 13-years-old and live in the US/CAN.  I will pick a winner by random August 30, 2012.

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‘Glow’ & ‘Spark’  can be purchased at Amazon.com, as well as your local independent bookseller.

For more about Amy Kathleen Ryan, go to her website here.

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14 thoughts on “‘Glow’ & ‘Spark’ by Amy Kathleen Ryan + GIVEAWAY

  1. It’s already been said! I Loved the Across the Universe books! Also, Cinder and For Darkness Shows the Stars could be called YA sci-fi in a way! Both are really good!
    hannahsue10ATgmailDOTcom

  2. I loved Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card and Cinder by Marissa Meyer! Thanks for this amazing giveaway – I would love to win!

    susanw28 (at) mindspring (dot) com

  3. *WOOT* This is one series I’ve been dying to read – I’ve always had a soft spot for sci-fi, and used to love watching old Star Trek reruns lol

    The only YA sci-fi I’ve tripped across lately is Inside Out/Outside In by Maria Snyder … which felt REALLY claustrophobic with all those pipes and duct-work running all over the ship.

    I’ll tell ya though, if you’ve NEVER read ‘Silver Metal Lover’ by Tanith Lee – you need to get ahold of a copy. Just the perfect blend of dystopian, romance, sci-fi & YA … it’s an oldie but a goodie 😀

    Thank you for another sweet giveaway ❤
    email follower:
    Mary D.
    zenrei57 (at) hotmail dot com

  4. I read Glow last year and am looking forward to continuing the series with Spark. I just read and reviewed the newest book in the Ender Saga, Earth Unaware, which I consider YA although it’s written for adults too. It was a good start to a trilogy of prequels.

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