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It’s always easier for me to review a book I purchased myself, mostly because I only buy books I’ll assuredly enjoy. Nonetheless, I received this audiobook from the publisher, and I will try my best to provide an honest review without being too disparaging.
As I said in my preliminary review of this book on Goodreads, the storyline was decent. It’s actually what kept me listening through all eight CDs. I could see where the author wanted to take the story, and it made it easier to understand the character’s actions and motivations. I just wish it wasn’t all so nefarious.
As for the characters, I just couldn’t connect or identify with any of them. If I had to pick one that I actually liked, it would have been Waverly. She made some mistakes, but she realized that, and she still showed true heroism in the end. She did what was needed to ensure survival of her people…if not for all, at least for those it mattered most. The character interactions and the dialogue between the characters, at least when told through Kieran’s POV, were just unpleasant to listen to. Not that the events told through Waverly’s were much better, but at least they were of a more mature nature, with much less name-calling and violence.
I think my biggest issue with this novel, is the fact that SO much is crammed into one book, despite the fact that this is the first book in a series. The synopsis makes it sound as if the love story (possible triangle?) is first and foremost, but it really takes a backseat to the colonization of New Earth. Not a problem for me, since I find that sometimes the romantic elements can really bog down a terrific story, but if you were hoping for a love triangle, you’ll be upset, at least in this first installment.
I think there are some that will say that if you like the Across the Universe series by Beth Revis, you will enjoy this series as well, but I cry foul. The premise is slightly similar, but Revis unravels her sci-fi tale beautifully, keeping the reader engrossed while hinting at things to come. But I felt that Glow rushed through so much with no time for reflection and barely any time for reaction.
One thing I would like to point out, with regards to the audiobook, is that I have a newfound appreciation for narrator Ilyana Kadushin. I didn’t much care for her narration of All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin because it felt like she wasn’t involved in the story…couldn’t care less about the characters and what happened to them. However, upon listening to her performance of Glow, I realize that maybe her interpretation of the Zevin story was that Anya didn’t care so much. Because her rendition of Glow was such that I actually felt sad for Waverly’s circumstances. As for the other narrator, the voice of Kieran, my feelings are neutral. It’s not his fault the dialogue between the boys left on the ship was so mundane and juvenile. I do think that I might have preferred the audio with one single narrator, but as the story was told from two separate points-of-view, from two separate ships for the majority of the book, I guess that couldn’t be helped.
An aside: I also received a finished copy of this book from the publisher at ALA Midwinter, and had I been reading from the text myself, I might have thrown the book across the room a few times out of frustration.