Publisher: Tor Teen
Edition: Hardcover, 336 Pages
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
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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.
The Glass Arrow is a standalone novel that focuses on a world where females are hunted, sold, and owned. They are property and the only value society gives them is from what they are able to give to a man. When I saw this on the shelf I didn’t have a second thought to grabbing it. It seemed like a book that would spark an immediate reaction in me, and would provide the basis for a lot of conversations. However by the end of it I simply felt underwhelmed.
The writing is good, but I don’t think I ever quite got a clear image of what this world looked like. It’s clear they had technology, some of it better than ours, but my mind couldn’t get away from imagining the city as some rundown hovel of a town. My mental image would fit in with an hold 1700’s type city, with muddy streets and the vague smell of refuse. The problem is that I rarely saw evidence to the contrary. I also didn’t quite get a sense of identity as to who the Drivers were. Why were they cast outs of society? Why did they stick to rules so heavily? The pacing is rather slow in the beginning but despite that I felt the book as a whole moves rather quickly and I read most of it in a single afternoon.
However there is one thing that Simmons does very well and that’s characters. I really liked Aya and her almost iron will to be free and untethered to the society that only wishes to use her. They call her wild but I would call her strong and independent. One thing that stuck out was Simmons attention to the other players in the book, especially those with different opinions like Daphne. It’s hard to understand why someone would want to be sold, but Daphne and the other girls sort of give you a view of that. As does Salma.
In the end I enjoyed The Glass Arrow but it didn’t wow me like I was hoping it would. For someone else though this might truly be the discussion piece I had hopes of it being, and I know that Aya’s strong will will be a hit for some.