Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
15-year-old Waverly and her boyfriend Kieran were born and raised on the Empyrean, a ship headed to New Earth to colonize and continue humanity. Waverly feels pressured to marry Kieran and help repopulate humanity. But Waverly has other dreams as well. But suddenly, the Empyrean’s twin ship the New Horizon attacks and abducts all of the young girls aboard including young Waverly. And Kieran, who has been groomed to be the next captain, is thrust into leadership when all of the adults are injured in the attack or have left in shuttles to rescue the girls.
Waverly and Kieran are sympathetic characters, placed in horrible circumstances and forced to grow up early. This futuristic, young adult space opera is first in a new series. This first installment is dark and full of heartache and overwhelming odds.
Not everything is as it seems at first. And several situations made me pause and think, as good intentions lead to bad decisions. Because of the amount of techno-babble, I would think only science fiction fans will be able to endure through some of the repetitive scenes aboard the Empyrean as everything seems to be falling apart when Kieran is left in charge. Otherwise, this engaging story is full of adventure, drama, and mystery. With several plot twists and surprises along the way, the story certainly kept me guessing till the climactic ending.
The audio version is read by two voice actors: Ilyana Kadushin and Matthew Brown. Having both a male and female was great for going back and forth between Waverly and Kieran’s point of views. Both have clear voices, adding distinctions between characters to tell them apart.