Apr 7, 2018

Review--The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons

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.

This was my first book by Kristen Simmons and wow! She's an author who holds nothing back and I have to say, I like it! The Glass Arrow has a rather dark theme to it, it's edgy, scary and terrifying and completely heart-wrenching. I was a total wreck by the end of it! I teared up at least twice before the big conclusion. Though by the end, I still found it to be a most wonderful read!

I do want to caution you right off the bat, as I can't remember if I had the warning when the book was new, there is some animal cruelty in it. I mean, it's not hardcore violence...but note I said I was crying because of this book...it was just a little hard to read through because I am one of those people who will bawl like a baby when the dog gets hurt in the movie but when the guy is being chomped in half by a shark there's nothing! So just keep this warning in mind when reading this one, the instances aren't overly drawn out, so they are quick to get through...but they are still there all the same.

The first thing to know about this world is that women are seen as property. It's set in the future, so that's a worrisome thought. For whatever reason, due to whatever bizarre climate or eco changes, males are a rarer sex. Women have become too overpopulated almost, so when a women gives birth to a girl, there's a greater chance that the baby will be killed. It's a harsh reality and scary one too. Young "fertile" girls are sent to special houses or Gardens to live in where they are groomed to be the perfect broodmare, for men are not necessarily loyal to whatever girl they select to have their babies and sometimes they aren't even looking to have children with said girls. It's a scary, scary world.

Then we have our heroine, Aya who's a wild girl. She lives on the outside of the towns and is basically a wilderness girl. She and her family, consisted of younger cousins that she cares for, but one day when out scouting for food she is caught by hunters. Giving fertile women away to the gardens earns you credits or food or money, basically, it's a profitable cause. Ava is a fighter though and she is determined to make herself the most undesirable girl ever. She gets into fights easily, is happy to take a punch if it all keeps her off the auction block, because yes, the girls are bid on like livestock.

It's during one of her punishments that she meets one of the Drivers who works across the stream. Drivers basically drive the horses and carriages around town and are mute. She befriends him after awhile and forms a friendship of sorts. It's not so much of a romance, though there does seem to be something there. But this is definitely a book that doesn't require romance as there's a much stronger bond of family going on here. Aya is doing everything she possibly can to get back to her family so that she can take care of them. There are two girls of "breeding" age among them and she wants them nowhere near the town or lifestyle that awaits them.

This book you guys, this book was sooo different from my usual thing and yet, it was still a very engaging read. The pacing wasn't bogged down with unnecessary moments or...I can't even think of what! It was just the right kind of storytelling. This almost feels like a horror novel, at least for the female reader. It's scary how their lives were just run by the leaders. This book truly isn't for the faint of heart!

Though it was scary and intense, it was still a powerful read. Family was a huge motivator for Aya, it's what drove her to do everything she could to get home. And even then she was still fighting, her life was still in danger because people were trying to bring her back to her prison. Friendship and trust were also key factors in the story as well, as Aya had to trust this boy who she didn't know, she put her life into his hands again and again.

There were many shocking reveals and secrets abound in this one! It was quite the page turner, so much was going on behind closed doors. You never knew who to trust, basically, you weren't to trust anyone! 

I was glad to find that this was a standalone. The book ends with a nice conclusion, one that you can live happily with. Kristen Simmons is definitely an author I will be keeping an eye on, I realize she has many more books out already and do have one more in my TBR pile that I'll read soon too. The Glass Arrow was a powerful and intense read that I quite liked!

Overall Rating 4/5 stars

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