Author: Kristen Simmons
Genre: Teen Dystopian
Rating 1.5/5 stars
The Overview: The Handmaid’s Tale meets Blood Red Road in Glass Arrow, the story of Aya, who lives with a small group of women on the run from the men who hunt them, men who want to auction off breeding rights to the highest bidder.
In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning.
I was warned about this one. One of my favorite book bloggers posted a review explaining why she did not enjoy this novel… and I read it anyway. To be fair, I’d already been approved for a digital arc, so I was kind of already committed to reading it, underwhelming review or not. It turns out, my fellow book blogger was totally right… this was not a very strong book.
I really love the idea for it – women living in the wilds, on the run from hunters who’s goal is to capture them and sell them to the city as breeding stock. You see, evidently the women who live in the city are incredibly infertile, so the wilds women are high commodities. I thought it sounded fascinating, and reminded me of some of the other similar books I’ve read and loved recently (Wither by DeStefano, The Jewel by Ewing), but it just did not deliver. All of the books in that specific sub-genre require a bit of the “just go with it” attitude, but the plot structure and world building for this one just had so many things wrong with it that it was hard to read. For every rule she gave on how the society functioned, I could think of a couple of reasons why it wouldn’t work. And the thing is, I wasn’t actively looking for inconsistencies, they were just so blatant that my brain couldn’t help but point them out.
It wasn’t just the illogical nature of the plot that took away my enjoyment of the book (although that was the main thing). I also thought the book suffered from poor pacing and a bit of repetition. I don’t think there were enough plot points to sustain an entire novel and probably would have liked it a lot better had it been a short story. The plot points that were there still have me a bit perplexed – very little of the story had anything to do with the overall arc and climax of the book. It almost felt like I was reading three different books in one (or short stories – bam!) and none of them related to each other very well… It was weird.
Eventually I got fed up and just started skimming during the last fifty pages of the book. But I did finish it, which I thought ironic considering how many issues I had with it. It made me go back and really think about what compelled me to keep going. It wasn’t what the author was writing, but rather how she was writing it that kept me reading. I enjoyed the style and thought Simmons had a lovely voice. She made me care about the main character and I had no trouble immersing myself into her perspective. I would love to see this author tackle something that requires a lot less world building and concept so she could focus on the element that, in my opinion, she does very well.
Overall, I was really underwhelmed by this title and it was a bit of a struggle to get through it. I was really excited about the concept and the writing style, but don’t think it ever lived up to its potential. I don’t see myself hand-selling this one anytime soon. Maybe it’s just me though – go check out the “this is her best book yet” five-star reviews on goodreads before making any rash decisions. ;)
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