Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Publisher: Tor Teen
Reading Level: Young Adult, 14+
Pages: 336 (ARC)
Source: Borrowed From Friend
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've been sitting on this review for a while. Mostly because this book is incredibly polarizing. Aspects of it are going to make people really uncomfortable. I mean...men pretty much bid on the right to own these women and their breeding rights to control population since there is a shortage of women in the world. I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a scene or two that really made my skin crawl. But, overall, I did enjoy this book.
It wasn't the world-building that did it for me like in Simmons's other books because, honestly, I was getting some Capitol vibes from this book at times combined with the fact that I can never really imagine our world coming to this one day. What made me love this book so much was the heroine. Aya is the type of girl that you respect and stand behind, even if she is doing something stupid that you disagree with. You still love her and root for her to get out of everything because she absolutely never gives up. She fights constantly to survive, to free herself, and to return to her family that she left behind in the mountains when she was taken. There are young children that rely on her there and she would never let them suffer if she has anything to say about it. She's just such a strong character and there's nothing I love more than a strong, respectable character.
It doesn't hurt that Kiran is also a very interesting character. A Driver boy that oversteps his bounds, he is full of surprises and a large capacity for love despite his inability to talk. When Aya was in solitary confinement, he was instrumental to her sanity and I found myself warming up to him immediately despite their unique first meeting. Him and Brax are two incredibly strong secondary characters that hold their own.
I found that I loved life on the outside way more than I did on the inside of the gates. Not only is it freer, but Aya was so much more fierce. She was in her element. Watching the women getting hunted was terrible, but a little exhilarating and watching how she was so proud of a strong, lean, muscled body and her calloused feet was something that I loved immensely. Seeing the Driver people, the weird trader Lorcan, her fellow travelers in her camp, the horses and animals and usage of herbs. It's hard, but it's so much safer than the fate that may meet you inside the gates. I felt like the book was a lot simpler when outside, and the weight of the world was weighing down on my shoulders during Aya's time on the inside. While this was done well, I can honestly say I wish we get more of her life outside. The ending wraps up nicely and makes me happy, but if there were to be a novella of some sort to check up on these characters, I would also be extremely satisfied.
All in all, I have to say that this was a me book. I recognize the fact that a lot of people won't like this one. It's a tough read, it's disturbing, it's very dark and a lot of readers won't like the places that Simmons takes us as readers. But some of us will and for those of us who embrace darkness and craziness, this is going to be one heck of a read. Simmons knows what she is doing when it comes to taking us to dark, unexplored places, and I am curious as to what she will bring us next.