Kristen Simmons – The Glass Arrow
Read By: Soneela Nankani
Length: 12h 05m (336 pages)
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Sci-Fi
Started: 03 May 2015
Finished: 06 May 2015
Where did it come from? LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Why do I have it? I generally like YA SF/F, so I thought I’d give it a try.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 06 April 2015.
Aya’s not going
to be sold as property
if she can help it.
Summary: Aya was captured by hunters in her mountains, and carted off to the city. Once there, she’s put into a holding house, where she is given the name of Clover and theoretically going to be trained to be biddable and obedient, before she can be sold to the highest bidder, her fertility of high value in a society where very few women can successfully carry a pregnancy to term. But Aya is the opposite of biddable, and she is doing what she can to plan her escape. But escape might be impossible when she’s under near-constant surveillance, and her only possibly ally is Kieran, a strangely mute stable boy.
Review: In general, this book was fine – nothing terrible, but nothing brilliant either, and it left me feeling pretty lukewarm towards it. (I’d also forgotten the main character’s name within a week of finishing it, which is never a good sign.) The strongest reaction to it that I had, was that about halfway through, I realized that I am powerfully tired of the YA dystopian genre, and that this book didn’t seem to have any elements that I hadn’t seen before. The Hunger Games is of course the strongest comparison – there’s young people treated as largely disposable property, a wealthy capitol in the middle of a desperately poor countryside, a protagonist who is from the mountains and is hard-edged and doesn’t care about anything feminine but can track and hunt (with arrows, of course) and kick ass, and who is willing to sacrifice herself so her family can stay safe, etc. (And who is also more than a little dense at times – I figured out some things very early on that it took her more than half of the book to figure out for herself.)
This book also takes place over a relatively short time span – I don’t have an exact count, but it seemed like no more than a week, or maybe two. But for all of its fast pace, it also feels weirdly fragmented, like a series of set pieces (solitary confinement, mayor’s house, woods) that don’t entirely connect to each other. There were also elements that came up early on that I was expecting to be brought back into play later in the book, but that never came up again. I’m not sure whether or not this is meant to be the first in a series, so if it is, these things might have been set-up for future books, but in terms of looking at this as an independent volume, it felt like the gun in the first act had been completely forgotten about by the time we got to the third. Similarly, the book gives you no clues what the title has to do with anything until we were more than three quarters of the way through, which made it feel more like an afterthought than an integral theme of the story. So in general, while this book was largely inoffensive, and fast-paced enough to keep me engaged during a day-long road trip, it didn’t really offer me much that I hadn’t seen done elsewhere, and better. 3 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: I think if you’ve got a teen who is tearing through these type of books and is still eager for more, they will probably enjoy this one as well. For adults, though, while it’s not a bad way to pass an afternoon, I think there are better examples of the genre out there.
First Line: RUN. My breath is sharp as a dagger, stabbing through my throat.
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