The Glass Arrow
by Kristen Simmons
Read: February 3 - 7, 2015
Published: February 10, 2015 by Tor Teen
Source: Gift from Danielle @ Love at First Page (THANK YOU!!)
Category: YA, fantasy/dystopian, women's rights, swoon
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Description: 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 did not expect to like The Glass Arrow as much as I did. But you know what, it was really good! I was not a fan of this author's previous Article 5 - or rather I could not connect to the heroine Ember at all. But one of my favorite parts of this story is Aya. This fierce girl who guards her body in a world where women are bought and sold as breeders, who will do everything in her power to protect her family, and who never stops fighting to get back to them once she's captured. I was able to get inside of her head and understand what drove her, when I never never felt that with Ember.
Aya's journey though this story is harrowing. She has grown up free in the mountains, surrounded and loved by a small group of women and children. But she's also lived in constant fear of being captured by Trackers. These men take the girls they find to the city to be sold in hopes that they will bear boys to rule the society. It is a nasty cycle that Aya becomes thrown into against her will, when she too is captured. Aya is renamed Clover and taken to the Garden where she is groomed for sale. Desperate to escape, Aya does everything she can to sabotage the auctions she is forced to attend. But she is worried her luck won't last forever.
The Glass Arrow reads as a mix between fantasy and dystopian. It's unclear the size of this world or if it was once a recognizable place on our planet. But the thing is, for Aya, whose life is always in the moment, as she's constantly trying to survive or escape, those details aren't the most important. Because of that, they became less important to me as well. But, it is essential to note that this entire society developed to its current state because two men fell in love with one women. Clearly love triangles are the root of all evil. But I knew that already.
The story structure of this book actually resembles the basic structure of Article 5, but this world is so much more compelling - and frightening. What I loved about this book is that it made me think a lot about women's rights and status in society throughout history. And it is terrifyingly relevant to today, because there are places in the world - and even in America - where what happens to Aya is a reality. Where women are the property of their husbands, fathers or masters. This would be an especially great book for a discussion.
Although I think more story could come in this world, as far as I know, The Glass Arrow is a standalone, and the more I think about that, the more I'm thrilled about it. First, everything is becoming a series, which has begun to exhaust me. But also, I appreciate that this story focuses on Aya's own struggles and how one girl understands and survives in this society, without turning into the classic dystopian story with revolutions and social upheavals. Of course I want to see change happen, but those plots have become all the same and rather predictable. And really, how many teen girls have changed the entire world by themselves? Not that we should discourage the effort, but sometimes, it's okay to have different goals.
Of course I can't end this post without talking about the love interest, Kiran. This book has the most beautiful and realistic slow burn romance. Aya has always grown up thinking that men are evil and that trusting any of them is the same as being owned by them. It was lovely watching her start to figure out what it means to have a healthy relationship built on respect, where both parties support each other. Kiran was perfect for Aya. He knew exactly when to push (Aya could be quite stubborn and singular focused) and when to back off and let Aya do what she needed. I'm still swooning over him! It was rewarding to see Aya realize that she could maintain her convictions, but also learn that she doesn't have to do everything by herself always.
Once your read The Glass Arrow, you definitely don't want to miss Kiran's letter to Aya that's part of Supernatural Snark and Bewitched Bookworms' Big Love Letter Event. See it HERE.
Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone (as far as I know)