Published: February 10, 2015
ARC via Publisher in exchange for an honest review
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.
Sour Times- The Civil Wars / Win The Glass Arrow
In The Glass Arrow the author, Kristen Simmons, delivers an all too believable world where women are scare, due to the killing of babies who are female in order to keep the female population under control, and are hunted and sold and bred like livestock. This was a total “me” book. It won’t be for everyone, but for me this book pretty much strikes everything I love in a book. Minus the ending, of course. The ending was too simple for me, but everything else- the world building and the characterization and the romance and the writing and holy freaking cow the more I think about this book, the more I like it. It makes me feel all feminist-y and all that jazz. Although it wasn’t a five star book-I mean come on, I’m really stingy with those five stars- it really does hold a special place in my heart.
Okay, now that all that’s out of the way how about we talk about characters? First up onto the stage of critique is Aya/ Clover / favorite person ever. Aya is a wild girl. She says so though out the book. This piece of her is the very essence of her identity. When captured by the very people who ruined her mother and who they are all hiding from, she’s determined as hell to get out. Too many failed attempts to count and she’s still going strong. I love her character because no matter what happened throughout the book, the capture and all the other events that I’m not going to tell you about due to the fact you will read this book, she stayed true to herself and never let herself wallow in self-pity. Yes, sometimes she cried, but who wouldn’t? I mean, would you want your body sold to the highest bidder over and over and over again? No, I didn’t think so. It’s so amazing, even with being trapped and caged and all she is still worrying about her family left in the mountains and that right there is the root of her determination to get out alive. I seriously admire her strength. And her sarcasm. Also I love her wolf.
We have the girls in the compound- oh ooops- the Garden alongside Aya. Daphne and Buttercup and other girls with flower names. (Flowers for names-seriously? Females aren’t all delicate. Buttercup has a decent right hook even if she is an idiot.) And we have the Governess chick who I wanted to stab. These girls didn’t actually eat food. They were fattened up with pills. Their bodies were zapped to get rid of any imperfections. They were all molded to believe that the only way to truly succeed in the world was to get a man to want to buy you and want you to be his incubator for his offspring. Isn’t that just peachy? So. Peachy. I thought that the use of the girl's names (being flowery and all) was a really smart way to build the world in the story even more. It showed how their society regarded them.
Finally we have the boy who stole my heart from the first time I met him, when he threw a knife at Aya. Yes, you read that right. But it’s okay because after that he’s a great listener. He’s a driver. Aya names him Kiran. Because of the color of his eyes. (this is where I melt into a puddle of goo and giggle and smile a whole lot) He wants to save her and listen to her and oh my God he’d follow her to the ends of the earth to keep her safe or at least try to protect her. She’s pretty capable of protecting herself, but he still wants to help. He doesn’t view her as a damsel in distress or weak. He has secrets. He’s wonderful. I can’t describe how wonderful he is. I honestly can’t.
Their love wasn’t insta-love or a love triangle or anything like that. It was getting to know you over facial expressions and sitting and talking (sort of) and protecting each other and understanding each other in ways that no other person really ever has.
Okay, so I’ve pretty much talked about setting though the character descriptions, but let me just reiterate a key aspect of this society: women are primped and plumped up and sold and bred. Men rule the world. Not all of the men are just as not all of the women are weak. It broke my heart to see just how much breeding was a part of their culture. Basically as soon as girls can get pregnant, they are set to be sold. They are trading pawns. Most of the female children are murdered as to avoid an uprising. The mountains are freedom, but even in freedom they must hide from the business men who hunt them.
Overall, this book is one that I won’t forget very soon, nor do I want to. My only regret is not reading it sooner! And isn’t the cover so cool?!
“We are strong and proud and beautiful and there are not enough stars in the night sky to measure our worth.”