21/11/2014

Review: The Glass Arrow {Kristen Simmons}



Written by Kristen Simmons

In a world where females are scarce and hunted, then bought and sold at markets for their breeding rights, Aya has learned how to survive.On the run with a group of women hiding from the men who seek to auction them off, she has successfully avoided capture by living a nomadic lifestyle in the mountains. But when Aya's luck runs out and she's caught by a group of men on a hunting expedition, fighting for survival takes on a whole new meaning.


If there's one thing Kristen knows, it's how to write dystopia. She effortlessly shapes a world that shows the elimination of the feminist struggle, where the worst fears of women are brought to life as they're hunted and sold like cattle.

This is a story as captivating as it is controversial. It's a testament to Kristen's writing that she manages to create truly diabolical male characters, as naive as they are maniacal, alongside fantastically empathetic men who managed to woo me from the first page.

This book doesn't portray all men as evil, just as it doesn't portray all women as helpless victims. There's a sensationally varied mix of strong and resolute girls who refuse to accept their fates, thrown in with young women who see this new society as how things should be and choose not to challenge the new world order. It makes for a maddening, but horribly addictive read.

As a main character, Aya was everything I could have wanted. She was a survivor, unwilling to roll over and let herself be sold, and after years spent living in the mountains, she'd learnt a trick or two about survival.

But she was also flawed in a lot of ways, and was not a fearless cardboard cut-out dystopian heroine. What made Aya so great was that she got scared and frightened and managed to rise above it. She reacted realistically and her true power came from her willingness to keep on fighting.

When Aya is captured and taken to the Gardens, we see first-hand how horrible the world can be. But she manages to find some solace when she befriends a young Driver, a class of humans who tend to horses and transportation and who, famously, can't speak.

But even with communication an issue, Kristen managed to create a beautiful friendship between Aya and the Driver she names Kiran. The pages between them pulsed with slow-built trust and carefully simmered romance, and I really enjoyed the unique approach to their relationship. With everything going on, language was initially their main barrier, and I found that refreshing, as it's not something often explored in YA (especially dystopia).

The Glass Arrow was a book that had me hooked from the first page, and kept me captivated throughout with the gritty descriptions and pulse-racing action. There were a lot of twists and turns, not just with the plot, but the characters themselves. They grew and evolved in unexpected ways and I loved so many of the developments. The ending was a perfectly satisfying way to bring the story to a close; Kristen refrained from the traditional happy-ever-after (no pretty little bows here), but I finished the book with a smile, and hope for the future of characters I had grown to love.

"We are strong and proud and beautiful and there are not enough stars in the night sky to measure our worth."


Thank you to the folks at Tor Teen for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Allie is a Pimm's-obsessed reader, who dreams of road tripping over America, learning to surf & becoming fluent in all the languages of her heritage (which, sadly, does not include Elvish). If she's not reading or blogging, you can find her catching up on Teen Wolf, or reigning supreme with Scrabble/Mario Kart
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22 comments:

  1. DUDE,, I hadn't heard of this one at all. I'll admit, when I read the synopsis I broke out into a sweat. I was like "Why woman? Why must you be sold for your breeding rights? THATS SICK ON A WHOLE OTHER LEVEL"
    I'm not a fan of stories like this because they bring out my inner feminist but i'm intrigued about how you mentioned that this story wasn't about woman being helpless and men being awful either. There was a mix of personalities amongst both sexes. I love this because it shows the author understands humans. Not all humans are bad and not all of them are good. They aren't all weak and all strong. We're mixed. And I love how circumstances (in this dystopian) didn't make all the characters carbon copies of one another. Lovely review.

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    1. Ah yes, my inner feminist was definitely brought out. And my outer feminist. And my in-the-middle feminist. ALL OF MY FEMINISM. But that's what's cool about this; it shows attitudes that still exist today and magnifies them x 10000, which is really effective and makes a point where it needs to!

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  2. Love the cover on this and love even more that it hooked you and kept you that way. Awesome review, have a great weekend!!

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    1. Oh yes, it is BEYOND gorgeous! One of my favourite 2015 covers for sure; it's so creepy

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  3. The friendship and measuring simmering romance sounds wonderful.

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    1. Loyalty is a huge thing in this book; in any form!

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  4. YAY! You have made my day with this review! I confess, when I saw the title, I was scared, because I have been swooning over this book, and I have pre ordered it because I am so very excited, and now I am even MORE excited! Oh, you have described all the things that make me happy- flawed yet awesome heroine, a sweet romance, and language barriers being addressed?! YES, yes yes. That has always driven me crazy as well! And I mean, controversial topics? Sign me up! GREAT review, I am so, so excited for this book!!!

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    1. OHHH YOU WILL LOVE IT. Have you read Article 5? If not, I'd totally recommend that while you wait. It was my first dystopian and I just thought it was amazing. I'm so glad Glass Arrow lived up to the expectations I had for Kristen!!

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  5. WHOA five out of five! I'm very cautious when it comes to books using female oppression / misogyny as a main theme. If it isn't done with care it may just hit the wrong chords... but I think I'll look into this one some more ;) great review.

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    1. This definitely does it well. It's like the Handmaid's Tale, but a more 'modern' version, and I really think it makes a lot of strong points from a feminist perspective

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  6. I have this book in my TBR list ,, happy you like it ,, I always need a confmation the book is good :D

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    1. Move it to the top of that TBR! It's awesome XD

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  7. Ooh I saw this one around but to be completely honest, I never really gave this book that much thought. I must now fix this by going to the library and picking up a copy! This sounds like a such a powerful novel and wow, 5 stars? SOLD.

    Lovely review, Allie <33

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    1. It really is powerful, because even though obviously it exaggerates the feminist struggle, the message behind the story is still SO relevant to today's society IMO. It really makes you think.

      Also, on a simpler note, it's just incredibly well written and fascinatingly told

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  8. IS THAT A FIVE STAR RATING???? Allie, what are YOU doing to me?! I now feel a compulsion to read this one, despite swearing off the dystopia. Slow burn romance? Diabolical male characters? Holy heck, I need this one. This one will be an interesting read, won't it? I'm very interested in reading the different sides that these girls will take--those who remain complacent, those who want an out.

    I NEED THIS, ALLIE WHHHYYY? Wonderful review! <33

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    1. THIS IS PAYBACK FOR EVERY TIME YOU DO THIS TO ME!!! Mwahahahahaha

      The romance is slower than slower, but in the BEST way. And the men (some of them) are douches, but it just makes you appreciate how strong Aya is. Jess, m'dear, I think you'll proper love this. And if you don't . . . NO COOKIES FOR YOU.

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  9. This sounds pretty interesting, though I don't normally read a ton of dystopia. I like that the characters are mixed between just being EVIL and WEAK.

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    1. It's an interesting dystopia, because it reminds me a lot more of old school stories like 1984 or The Handmaid's tale, rather than the modern stories which are all about special abilities and blah blah. It's a return to form!

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  10. YAY. I've been looking for reviews of this, and wow, you have definitely sold me! This sounds fantastic. And I am LOVING the description of the romantic arc. I haven't read her Article 5 series, but I definitely plan on fixing that soon.
    Lovely review, A!

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    1. It is a great romance. Also, I like that the romance isn't really explored fully . . . it's more developed and hinted at, rather than becoming a main focus. Which is something I really appreciate in a story like this!

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  11. I've never even heard of this one before, but you've got me desperate to get my hands on a copy. I don't know what's with dystopian novels and having women being sold for breeding, it seems really popular at the minute. This sounds like it manages to pull it off well and make it feel unique.

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    1. Oh really? The last one I saw was Handmaid's Tale. What others are out there? I'd be interested to give them a read!

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