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The Glass Arrow

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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.

334 pages, Hardcover

First published February 10, 2015

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About the author

Kristen Simmons

17 books1,935 followers
Kristen Simmons is the critically-acclaimed young adult author of the dystopian Article 5 trilogy, The Deceivers boarding-school thriller series, and speculative fiction stand-alones, PACIFICA, METALTOWN, and THE GLASS ARROW. She has co-written the magic-wielding, gladiator fantasies, SET FIRE THE GODS and RISE UP FROM THE EMBERS. Next up: FIND HIM WHERE YOU LEFT HIM DEAD, the start of a yōkai horror duology.

Her work has received star reviews, librarian recognitions, and been nominated for the Edgar Award and Anthony Award for best young adult mystery. Several of her titles are included in junior high and high school reading curricula, and are used in reluctant reader programs nationwide.

Kristen’s writing is inspired by her work with trauma survivors as a mental health therapist, specializing with soldiers with PTSD and individuals in foster care. She currently lives with her husband and son in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she spins stories, herds a small pack of semi-wild dogs, and teaches Jazzercise.

Follow Kristen on Facebook (Author Kristen Simmons) and Instagram at @kris10writes.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 936 reviews
Profile Image for Paula M.
547 reviews641 followers
November 15, 2018
The world is not ending. Nobody is special. Nobody has a special gift. There's no insta-love. THERE'S NO LOVE TRIANGLE!!!

Is it possible??!? YES PEOPLE. IT IS. And I have found it. I have found The Book.

The Glass Arrow is utterly captivating. Since Kristen has a very special Guest Post for us, I'm gonna keep this review a short one. So this is what I'll tell you: Simmons' writing is strong. She made a very terrifying world and yet, you can't help but be enthralled.

Every character in here is well developed. The heroine-- Aya, is a kickass. She's sassy and strong willed. And Kiran... how do I express my love for Kiran?? He's adorable and gorgeous. You will feel the emotions of every character rolls off in every page that's why you'll really be invested to this story. The world building is perfection and the plot was well thought and it was executed very well. I love how Aya's story progresses. Aya had a lot of inner monologue that's why the reader will thoroughly witnessed how Aya develops into a much stronger character.

The book is more into the action than into romance which isn't a bad thing in here because first, Aya is young. She's too young for any sexiness and hotness. Second, Kiran and Aya's friendship is enough. I'm already swooning as long as they're both together. Third, its not really the point of the book.

My last good point is that The Glass Arrow will really appeal to any female reader. Don't get me wrong, its perfect for everybody! But what I'm saying is that this book is soooo into feminism. It showed through Aya's actions. I had like, a week, to mull over everything that happen in the book and I realized that, in a way, everything in the book acts like a symbol to what's happening in our world today. Kristen may be planning world domination right now and we don't know it! WE DON'T KNOW!

I deducted one star because I did think that it was a bit slow at the first part but I think that's just because I'm not into this genre that much. Its very rare for me to read books that are fantasy or dystopia.

Overall, I think its obvious that the book is amazing. Kristen's writing is extremely visual and she's just plain brilliant. Brilliant! This book is action packed and genuinely terrifying, an absolute must read!

You can also read my review HERE.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews839 followers
December 28, 2014
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Rating: 5 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

I never read The Handmaid's Tale (one of my friends LOVE it though), nor did I ever make it to the end of Blood Red Road (I really tried...), so the comparison in the synopsis is wasted on me. But back in mid-2013, when I saw that Kristen Simmons was writing a new book, I added it without question. It worked out for me in the end, because my last read of 2014 just so happens to be a rare five-star read, and a favorite!

Aya has been captured from her home in the "wild". She will be bought by someone in order to be bred, to have a healthy son. Females who can produce healthy children - specifically, males - are scarce. With the help of a Driver, she will attempt to escape her buyer, and find her family before they are captured and sold like she was.

I LOVE THIS BOOK. I love Aya. I love Kiran. I love the story. I love the world-building. I love the romance. I love the ending. I love the cover. I loveeee this book. Just about everything is wonderful. I'm a big believer in "nothing is perfect" and "every book has its flaws" but at the moment, I'm basking in the "this book was so awesome" glow.

Aya grew up in the woods. She didn't live in the city, where people get their meals via a meal pill. This is why her womb is so valuable - she has a more "natural" body, and is more fertile. She is captured by businessmen, and taken to the Garden, where she and other girls are auctioned to the highest bidder. Aya does everything to avoid the auctions - she injures herself and gets into fights, to avoid the auctions. In her most recent stunt, she lands herself in solitary, where she makes the acquaintance of a mute Driver (whom she names Kiran).

Kiran isn't in solitary - he's a Driver, and he's not confined. But Aya talks to him (though he can't talk back). When Aya is finally auctioned, she is stunned because she has been sold. She has to leave behind a dirty wolf (whom she named Brax)... and Kiran (whom she nicknamed for the color of his eyes). But as it would turn out, Kiran is neither mute nor stupid. He is an integral part of this book.

Aya is such an interesting protagonist. She is naturally more spirited and "wild" than the other girls in the city, but for a reason - she is from the outside. She never stops trying to escape, to fight back, to think of how to overcome the obstacles in front of her. Aya is so SMART. Clever, inquisitive, determined, brave. I like her a lot.

Kiran is equally as smart, clever, inquisitive, determined, brave, but in his own way. He is very quiet (he has to play mute, like the rest of the Drivers), but he is extremely observant and intelligent. Honestly, if the pair of them weren't as smart as they were, neither of them would have made it out of certain sticky situations alive. Anyway. I'm a huge fan of Kiran. He and Aya are so stubborn and brave, perfect for each other. But not just romantic interests - they are wonderful protagonists,

There are several parts to this story. Aya gets captured (and eventually meets Kiran); Aya gets sold and leaves the Garden; Kiran finds Aya and helps her escape; Aya and Kiran try to find Aya's family. I loved each part of the book, but my favorite would be when Aya finally escapes captivity - all of the captivity, when she leaves the city. The book isn't over yet, by any means, but I breathed easier when they left the city.

I had a hard time coming up with the primary genre for this book. It seems like it could be set in a futuristic city, because there are guns and technology that made me think of a futuristic place. The meal pill seemed really advanced. But it had a heavy fantasy feel to it - not epic fantasy, but fantasy nonetheless. Either way, I LOVE the world that Simmons has created. She masterfully created the setting, both in the wild and in the city.

The romance - oh, how I loved the romance. No love triangle, no insta-love. It amazed me how easily I fell for Aya and Kiran as a couple, in the beginning, with Kiran being mute, and the two of them barely interacting. Yet, they interacted so much in the beginning, and Aya felt his "loss" when she was sold. Then Kiran helps her escape, and they leave the city, and it's not like they immediately confess feelings for each other and that's that. NO. Aya and Kiran go through a lot before they finally let their guards down and let each other in. Love!

One thing that Simmons did that I actually REALLY liked was that she didn't try and have her characters "save the world". I can't say too much (not trying to spoil things), but this story isn't about Aya and Kiran taking down the city, the system, the government, etc. This story is about a girl who was captured and sold, who got out and wanted to save her family. It's a standalone, and it's a fabulous standalone. Simmons didn't try to overdo things.

That being said, I LOVED the ending. The last scene, the very end, is so beautiful. At first I thought it was unfulfilled, but then I realized that it was PERFECT. Anything more wouldn't have have made sense, given what we know about Aya, and Kiran. Simmons pulled everything together in the last scene. I loved it!

What I Did Not Like:

I can't think of anything concrete. I'm sure there's something, but at the moment, meh!

Would I Recommend It:

YES! Totally recommended, now go read! I'm actually going to reread my favorite parts right now (there are a lot of them).


5 stars. A rare five stars from me - but so well-deserved! I had a good feeling about this book, and I'm glad that feeling did not let me down! Glad Kristen Simmons did not let me down (as I knew she wouldn't)!
Profile Image for Faye, la Patata.
492 reviews2,116 followers
August 8, 2015
When you hear the words "young adult dystopian", what are the first things that come to your mind? Wait, don't bother; I'm going to do a checklist for you:

☑ There is a special, teenage snowflake...
☑ ... who insists she is average and normal...
☑ ... but catches the attention of one or two or three love interests...
☑ ... who without the help of experienced adults...
☑ ... manages to topple an oppressive government/system.

Am I right, or am I right?

However, you need not fear because The Glass Arrow took a completely different direction, deciding to give this world-renowned checklist a big "fuck-you". It may not look like at first, but this standalone YA dystopian is about an unfortunate girl who was stuck in an unfortunate, cruel world and strived to escape it in order to lead her own life in her own terms. There is no teenage character who tries to start and lead a rebellion, no tyrant or government with all the resources in the world  tumbling down because of one person... this book isn't that at all. And that is what basically makes it unique.

Meet Aiyana, whose auction name is Clover, who is trapped in a rather bleak post-apocalyptic world where women are dominated by men. They are seen as the inferior human being, passed on from one auctioneer to another, used only to (hopefully) breed more boys who will continue this vicious cycle. She was living so well in the mountains away from the city where all of these evil acts were taking place, when one day, she was tracked and hunted and brought to the breeding houses in order to be bought and played by rich businessmen and magnates. From then on, it becomes a story of survival - not for the human race, but for herself and for those she holds dear.

I have to admit that I didn't expect this book to turn out the way it did. Having read so many post-apocalyptic dystopians before, I've expected that down the road, the characters would go, "This is a cause bigger than any of us. We have to change the world for the sake of mankind!" so color me surprised when the characters here looked out more for themselves. I found it refreshing and honestly realistic. Men and women alike were suffering from the hands of rich and entitled and greedy assholes, but when you're powerless to do anything, when you do not have the resources and you only have yourself to count on, what can you do?

It's easy to say, "We should be better than our human instincts and try to make a difference!" when we're in the 21st century and we have laws protecting ourselves from basically being human trafficked, but the average, normal person in this book had none of that. You make eye contact when you shouldn't? KILLED. You speak when you shouldn't? KILLED. It's a ruthless world where people take the slightest opportunities in order to climb an inch up the ladder, so it was refreshing to see a tough, strong-minded, and independent character like Aiyana who, instead of trying to change the world, tried to change her world instead. I mean, what exactly can you do against steroid-pumped, genetically-altered security guards? Or rich assholes who can buy the world ten times over? The best thing you can do is to fend your yourself, survive for yourself, and that's what we end up seeing here.

It definitely was an intense experience as Aiyana struggled and fought her way towards freedom, against people who were far more powerful than her in more ways than one. Sometimes, when your life is on the line, you only need to trust your gut and instinct to survive. And oh, luck, too.

My only gripe with this book was that there were times when it was really dragging. It is a stand-alone, but it is quite slow-paced... like Aiyana goes into solitary confinement, and maaaan, there were so many pages about the same thing done over and over again, or about small details like her minute actions, so I was frustrated sometimes. I ended up skipping a lot of those dragging scenes and ended up missing almost nothing.

The romance was pretty good, too - it was slow and steady, where the characters learned more about each other first before diving into these fluffy feelings of love. Plus, their situations were pretty interesting, too, so it made for some intriguing dynamics.

All in all, a very solid YA dystopian that brings something new to the plate and to the genre. It has a determined, and sympathic heroine everyone will have no problem rooting for, a ruthless world that will send chills down people's spines, a romance that is sweet and heart-warming, and a journey towards survival that will keep people on their toes. Not to be missed!
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,365 followers
February 2, 2015
The Handmaid’s Tale meets Blood Red Road? Sign me up! And unlike most times, I actually agree with that description. The Glass Arrow is a story about a girl living in a terrifying world where women are sold like livestock to the highest bidder. Fortunately for her, she has been raised in the wild, away from it all. Until now… she gets caught by hunters and she's shown no mercy.

Being a fan of Kristen's Article 5 series, I had high hopes for this one. Even though I didn't absolutely love it, it does have a lot going for it that I think many will enjoy. The world building is what I found to be the book's best quality. We're shown the ins and outs of this cruel world from the beginning, both outside and inside the city. The plot itself, however, is fairly slow paced throughout. We spend a lot of time imprisoned in solitary, brooding, planning, and longing for freedom. While this can get a bit monotonous at times (more on this in a sec), it does allow for some excellent character building. We get to know Aya quite personally - how she thinks, why she reacts the way she does - until she becomes a part of ourselves. She's definitely not flawless, and a couple of times I wanted to scream at her for what she was about to do, but it was easy to put myself in her shoes and understand what led to her decisions. She shows kindness in the midst of cruelty, and that's rarely a mistake.

I did struggle for the first half of the book, though. During her imprisonment, Aya does nothing but plan her escape. Her determined attitude makes it easy for us to root for her, however, there are so many failed attempts and botched plans that I began to get frustrated. Combined with the slow pacing, I felt like these instances were nothing but attempts at building excitement, but then went unrewarded. Maybe to mask the fact that we were moving at a snail's pace? Except it only highlighted the lack of progression, in my opinion. Having someone try and fail over and over again is discouraging, and left me feeling annoyed instead of sympathetic or eager.

Eventually we do start moving forward. The least 40% or so is full of adventure and excitement and hope and bravery. Our view of this world gets more complex as we delve deeper into the different factions, we meet a few more secondary characters, while learning intriguing twists along the way. A bit of romance shows its head in this final chapter, too, but it's still fairly low-ball so don't expect a very romantically-inclined story at all. It's more about family and survival in a world where death could be a mercy. Fans of survivalist stories are likely to take a liking to this one, as long as you don't mind its unhurried nature.

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Jessi (Novel Heartbeat).
999 reviews610 followers
July 17, 2016

Because I couldn't wait any longer to share my thoughts with you guys. (Pre-order this book. You can thank me later.)

Wow, you guys. WOW. This book blew me away! I knew I was going to love it from the very first page. (And that cover!!) The first chapter is explosive and I was hooked right from the start. Glass Arrow is a beautiful and wild ride!

The world building was epic! It painted a very vivid picture in my head, and I could easily see this being a movie. (It neeeeds to be a movie!) I felt like I was IN the world while I was reading. Not to mention the idea for this story is unique and interesting. It’s kind of scary to think about, too! Women are basically property and are sold for breeding rights. *cringes* I loved the dynamics of the society. The Watchers, the Pips, the Virulent, the Drivers – I could tell that Kristen put a LOT of thought into the world she created. It was all very convincing – I had no problem believing this world because Kristen totally sells it!

Aya won my heart from the beginning with her fiesty and defiant attitude. I loved that she never gave up and never conformed. And some of her inner dialogue made me love her even more, such as: I wonder how well she’d sing if I punched her in her skinny throat. Lmao!! I would think those things and she would say them!

There was only one time that she annoyed me. But even then I could see why she was doing it. Despite the fact that it was wrong, it conveyed how desperate her situation was.

I loved the characters so much! BRAX. OMG. Braaaax!!!! I adored him! Brax was totally my favorite character, and that’s all I’m going to say because if you want to know more you need to read for yourself! I really liked Kiran, too! He was a very interesting character, and I was always wanting more of him (especially since he didn’t speak).

And pretty much everything else needs to be in a spoiler tag because there are SO many awesome twists and surprises that I don’t want to ruin anything for anybody! (Again, you need to read it for yourself to find out!)

All in all, this book was amazing. I would definitely recommend it to anyone!

Favorite quote:
“But if trust was a thing you could hold in your hand, I would give mine to you. I’d let you have it forever and never ask for it back.”

Keep an eye out, I will be doing a giveaway for a signed, personalized copy in a few weeks since I get to see Kristen in Cincinatti on the 10th!
March 9, 2015
A standalone dystopian!!

I know, it's crazy!! The really insane thing is that she totally could have stretched this out into a trilogy. Hell, she could have made it into a trilogy with 2 novellas, not because it was necessary but just to squeeze more money from us (cough) The Selection (The Selection, #1) by Kiera Cass (cough). But she didn't and I totally appreciate that.

This isn't your typical dystopian. What sets it apart is mostly the end so don't click unless you want to be spoiled a bit...

This book will make you angry and disgusted in the way a good dystopian should. The world is bleak and horrible things happen, especially to women. There were numerous times that I wanted to crawl into this world and murder everyone.
Women are treated like property in this world and it's just awful. It's the kind of book that should make you mad. This is definitely not a light and fluffy book.

This and other reviews can be found at Folded Between the Pages of Books
Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,120 reviews1,348 followers
February 4, 2015

Kristen Simmons has fast become one of my favorite authors. I was ecstatic to find out that she was releasing a new book this year and even more excited that it was a dystopian because she excels at writing those. With The Glass Arrow, Kristen Simmons, once again proved why she is an auto-buy author for me. Intense, action-packed and emotionally draining, The Glass Arrow is Kristen's strongest book yet.

In any book, it's the characters that really make the story. The Glass Arrow featured one of my favorite heroines ; a badass and a definite role model. Aya may be young at 15, but she had seen a lot. Despite all the suffering that she had to endure, she remained strong throughout the entire book. I love that she was resilient, and was never afraid to rise up again even though she fell hard quite a bit. Now, that's an admirable quality in a YA heroine. For me, her ability to continue fighting for her loved ones and for her dignity was made her such a beautiful character. Aya wasn't just tough though. She had many different layers of complexities to her character. We got to see her sweeter and more gentle side when she lovingly thought about her family, which made her even more endearing to me. Kristen Simmons always manages to write these fierce characters with layers and layers of depth, that you actually want to root for. Her secondary characters are also always well fleshed-out. My favorite side character was a wolf that Aya adopts, Brax. I don't know how she did it, but that little fellow had so much personality and made me fall hard in love with him. Of course, I was also tearing up whenever he would try to save Aya. The Glass Arrow also had a fantastic love interest. Kiran was everything that I look for in a YA book boyfriend, kind, self-less and just plain loveable. And guess what? He managed to make me fall in love with him without uttering a word. Kiran formed part of a population known as Drivers, who were mute. Kristen didn't need to make use of words to make me fall for this character of hers, just his actions were sufficient.

You may think that you're over dystopia because every other book sounds the same these days, but trust me when I say that you want this book. It's nothing like the typical dystopia. There's no rebellion against tyrannical leaders. The Glass Arrow is just the story of a girl fighting to escape and wanting to get back with her family. The plot was action-packed and had my heart racing non-stop. The notion of the constant danger that Aya was in would give me the shivers. The world building in The Glass Arrow was also just outstanding. Kristen Simmons created a scary society in an intelligent, thoughtful and believable way. It's a world where women are auctioned off to breed boys. It's utterly frightening how complacent some of the girls are, but it's also very realistic, in my opinion. With The Glass Arrow, the author tackled many themes relating to feminism and she does a fantastic job at it. Perhaps, my favorite part of The Glass Arrow besides the characters has to be the romance. What a genuinely touching relationship Aya and Kiran had! It started off with a friendship which eventually blossomed into more. I loved every minute of this slow and tender romance and I shipped these two pretty hard. YA needs more romances that are as healthy as the one that Aya and Kiran had. They were supportive of each other, but they allow each other to flourish as individuals as well. It was very beautifully done.

You may be sick of YA dystopia books, but if you miss out on The Glass Arrow, you're going to miss out an exceptional book, with courageous characters, fantastic storytelling and a world that will leave you breathless. Buy this book, everyone!
Profile Image for Jenna D..
1,045 reviews145 followers
September 10, 2014
Review also available at Jenna Does Books!

Only one book that I’ve read in recent months can drag me back out from the cave I’ve burrowed myself inside – a book that challenges all that exists in YA literature and dares to be a most shocking and intense experience for readers…

THE GLASS ARROW by Kristen Simmons is that book. Sadly, it won’t be released until February 2015, but you NEED to have this on your radar NOW.

Trust me. You do.

Kristen Simmons is an author who knows how to write. Perhaps it’s a natural talent – (obviously) – but perhaps it also comes from her background of working in the field of mental health. She knows how people (real or fictional) think. With this knowledge, she is literally a puppet master of the mind. Kristen feeds on our most visceral fears about the current state and the future of our society and creates realistic stories based on those fears.

Do you ever find yourself wondering why characters act the way that they do, given their incredibly dramatic, life-altering, mentally challenging situations? Sometimes characters come across as completely unrealistic, overly heroic or lacking true human emotion. In these cases the author cannot convince us, the readers, that they are real. This is not the case with Kristen’s characters. They are put through the ringer - as are most characters in fiction - but they respond and behave as real people should when facing trauma or dire situations. It’s such a jarring, humbling position; being in the mind of those who are either breaking down or acquiring strength from their circumstances at the hands of such a skilled writer.

I also appreciate how Kristen challenges gender roles in society with her story. Just by reading the synopsis – “females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights” – you know the subject matter is going to be controversial. But Kristen throws some irony into the mix; with a strong female leading character and men who are as imperfect as they are powerful. Many feminist discussions will result from reading her story, where it’s the men who are frequently presented as faceless, voiceless and “unthinking” beings – all attributes that have, historically, been placed on women. But at the same time, I don’t entirely see Kristen’s story as a “feminist” one, either. You will find similarities to various publicly accepted practices, such as geisha, pageantry and only beautiful woman being presented on film. With so much symbolism and parallels to our own society, I imagine that each reader will react to the book differently, based on their own ideals and personal experiences. Oh, I can just see it now – all the fantastic discussions that are to come… I’m already tingling with anticipation!

There is one thing I look forward to the most when controversial books I adore are released: all the chatter they are bound to create. I hope to chatter with all of you after the release of this book! (I’ll be around in February – just seek me out!)

So whether or not you’ve read (or even enjoyed) the author’s first series, Article 5, I encourage you to add THE GLASS ARROW (a standalone novel!) to your TBR/Wish List today. It is more daring, more challenging, more… everything… than anything that has been released in 2014, thus far.

The book was buzz-worthy enough to take this girl out of her blogging slumber. If that’s not convincing, I don’t know what is.

Plot: 10
Characters: 10
Setting: 10
Pacing: 10
Style: 10

Grade: 100
Profile Image for Grace (LovingDemBooks) Z..
189 reviews1,420 followers
June 14, 2015
Buy this book on AMAZON
or buy this book on BookDepository with FREE WORLDWIDE SHIIPPING

I received a free advanced reader's edition and finished hardcover of this book from the publisher (Tor Teen) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I just finished reading this title. Full review to come. Sadly, as much as I wanted to, I really couldn't get into this book and enjoy it.

My rating system: (I do use half stars.)
5 - I do not use the 5 star. Not because a book might not be worthy, but because a book is never perfect.
4 - I loved it! There weren't too many flaws, and I had no trouble getting through it. (A 4 star rating is the highest rating I've ever given a book.)
3 - I enjoyed the book, but there we're flaws that made me enjoy it less.
2 - I finished the book, but there were too many flaws for me to enjoy it.
1 - I could not finish the book, and I probably did not finish it....
Profile Image for Lily (Night Owl Book Cafe).
555 reviews464 followers
December 14, 2015

Guy, I could not believe this! I was going through my 2015 list, compiling my favorites for the year and I noticed that I have missed reviewing The Glass Arrow. At first I was shocked because I liked it so much, then I was confused and then I looked at my Goodreads shelf and everything came to light. I read The Glass Arrow literally the day before my son was born.

So despite this being several months late. I figured it was still better late then never.

Wow, I have to admit, this was my first time dipping my toes into Simmons writing and I do not regret it. The Glass Arrow, did it for me. It hooked me from the beginning and continued to hold on until the very end. It was wonderful, it was emotional, and it was addictive. I did not want to let this book go.

Simmons introduces us to a darker world where women are haunted, sold, and used as breeders. The girls that are caught in the wild are brought to this jail like place called the Garden, where they are groomed to be sold. Aya was born in the wild, outside of the city limits, and when she was caught, she did everything in her power to try and stay away from being sold in the auctions - injuries, fights, pissing off the woman in charge. I think the fact that she wasn't born within the city is what drove her will for survival and her wild like instincts to keep herself from being sold like a piece of meat. She was strong, resilient and she did things that I probably would never have the guts to do. She also has a sort of a pet wolf Brax who I adored.

I was a little perplexed about the way these girls treated each other in the Garden. I was really hoping sisterhood would prevail at a time of need. In a way, later in the story, it does. Still, it saddened me how easily the girls accepted their faith, that this is all they think they will amount to.

The romance in this was slow building, and I was so happy that it was not insta-love. Kiran is a Driver, who is equally as brave as Aya. They meet when Aya get's tossed into solitary due to her behavior, and after a rocky start they eventually form a kind of bond. Aya thinks that Kiran is a mute as he does not speak, and so there were a lot of one sided conversations between the two. Aya does not trust Kiran at first, but eventually it became kind of hard not to when he tries to help her.

The world building was fabulous. I was shocked how well Simmons had woven everything together into one Stand-Alone novel. For the most part, I think she has managed to cover everything and how the world worked. From how the girls were groomed to be sold, to Drivers, and the food pills.

The ending was action packed and a bit of a nail biter for me. I wanted to know what happens, how will it end. Daphne, one of the girls from the Garden and her sudden resilience surprised me. Her relationship with Aya is rocky and not well liked, but both do what they have to in order to survive. Aya is loyal to a fault and I loved that about her. I loved learning about her past and who she is. I applaud Aya for the sacrifices she had made, seriously the ending made me cry, and if you read the book you know exactly why. I almost gave up on the book there and then, I couldn't believe it happened. I think that was the major part that took away 1 star for me from the book :(

Because I am feeling generous today I am giving away an e-book copy of this book from amazon, or B & N or wherever I can send a copy to you from. Open INT. Yay!


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This review was originally posted on Night Owl Book Café
Profile Image for Rashika (is tired).
976 reviews712 followers
March 5, 2015
***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

With all the praise that I kept hearing for this book, I was prepared to be amazed yet there was some part of me that expected this book to be just like any other dystopia I’ve ever read. Sometimes you just gotta roll with it because I chose to and this book turned out to be one of the best dystopias I’ve ever read. It’s richly developed but more importantly, it’s realistic. It’s not about some girl who is going to completely change the world and make people realize that everything is not okay within the world. It’s about a young girl who is trying to escape her fate.

Aya is not a perfect female lead but what makes her work is just her plain old determination to get out of the garden and to go back to the mountains. She never loses hope yet there are times when, even to her, things don’t look bright. She tries everything and isn’t squeamish about her options. She doesn’t always make the best decisions but at the same time, given her situation, you cannot really blame her! Aya is a fantastic female lead and a joy to read about. She is one of the reasons why this story shines.

One of the other reasons this story shines is because of a certain someone that I do not want to name because reasons. You may have come across many reviews that said that this book doesn’t really have a romance and those reviews would be right and what I'd like to add onto that is that there is a romance, however slight, but it is not the life of the book. It’s so well done though and deserves a mention for that very reason! I don’t even know what to tell you about it without turning this review into an incoherent mess. The love interest is so so so swoon worthy. He is so sweeet and so understanding. He understands when Aya needs her space and respects that. He is compassionate and while he also makes some bad decisions, I can forgive him with ease them because he is, otherwise, a perfect love interest. 

This story also comes equipped with a fantastic cast of secondary characters. Not all start off as likeable and all undergo development over the course of the book. They all play an important role in the book and none of them are just mere plot devices. They are all well rounded characters and all around awesome.

The reason why this book managed to score 5 stars though was because of the premise. This is a fantastically developed book. The world building may not be completely original but the author gives the story her own feel and manages to make it stand out. One of the things within the book that really stood out to me was that there were actually people protesting the happenings of this world. Can you believe it? Can you believe that out all of the people in this world, a 16 year old is not the first one to realize that there is something wrong with selling girls like they are goats? Isn’t there something so beautiful about it? I like knowing that the responsibility of an entire world does not fall on the shoulders of a mere 16 year old. There are people there who are fighting for change and maybe someday, things will change but that is not the purpose of the story.

There is something about reading a book that isn’t about a young girl changing the entire world but rather a young girl trying to escape the fate that was pushed open her. It’s realistic and at the same time, it prioritizes something that we can all get behind as readers, a young girl's journey to freedom. Aya is trying to escape from "The Garden", a place where girls are auctioned off like they are goats. 

If you, like me, aren’t so enthusiastic about dystopias any more, I'd still say to give this one a chance. It's so refreshing and brings a much needed change within this genre.  The book also happens to be a stand alone so that is another thing it has going for it!

This is a gorgeously written book that I would recommend to everyone. It’s fantastically paced and features some amazing characters and a fantastic world and really, do you need more reasons to read this book?!?! GET ON IT.
Profile Image for Rachel  (APCB Reviews).
331 reviews1,191 followers
June 6, 2015
Initial Thoughts: Oh what a great ending!! A solid standalone, many claps and cheers from me :)

Read the full review @ A Perfection Called Books

I'll admit I was skeptical. How can one write a fantasy novel standalone? Is there enough time for world-building, characterization, and plot development and resolution? Never fear, this book blew away my worries and brought a great fantasy novel that I'm sure people will love.

My favorite element of this book is the characterization. I felt they were all fleshed-out and wonderful. I was rooting for all of them. Not only was the protagonist Aya well-developed, but also were the secondary characters. Aya's actions were admirable, and I loved her tenacity. Kiran was a bit of an enigma, but he was so sincere and gentle and a great guy.

This is the first Simmons book I've read, and I'm happy to say I'm a fan of her writing. There were twists and turns, things I never saw coming. The writing was great, the style was unique, and I loved all the sentence inversions. It really varied the writing and made it sound pretty and elegant. I grew a bit restless and bored in places, yet overall I was thoroughly engrossed in the story.

I was fascinated by the world that Simmons created. It's horrifying yet captivating at the same time. I was hungry for any information Simmons gave us about the world. There were strange gadgets, class systems, history references, fables, and more. I really enjoyed how meticulous and well-developed the world was.

The romance was so sweet and yet I'm glad it was a small part of this book. So much of this book is about family which I loved. Aya is trying to get back to her family. She wants to protect them; she wants to see them again. Everything she does in this book is for the sake of her family and returning to them. The romance between her and Kiran was cute and developed slowly and wonderfully. I'm glad it didn't overshadow the motif of family and that it didn't take over the plot. Great execution and great tension. I just wanted to shout "KISS ALREADY!"

As far as endings go, I think The Glass Arrow is one of my favorites. It's not concrete, but it's hopeful. It's happy and just what these characters deserve after all the bad things that happened to them.
Profile Image for Danielle (Love at First Page).
726 reviews622 followers
December 13, 2015
4-4.5 stars

The Glass Arrow is Kristen Simmon’s fourth book but second project, following her dystopian trilogy Article 5, and it shows off what a gifted storyteller she has become. She really, really impressed me with this standalone. It’s thrilling, engaging, complex, and completely unique. I was riveted from the first page to the last. Though I enjoyed Article 5, The Glass Arrow managed to surprise me with how much I fell in love with its story and its characters. She has upped her game with this one, so even if you weren’t a fan of her first books, I still highly recommend adding The Glass Arrow to your wishlist.

What I loved

I am a little obsessed with the worldbuilding; I found it so creative! It may be a little confusing at first, but things fall into place quickly enough. It’s set in a futuristic society in which men control women and the population, and women are good only for the boys they should “breed”. Girls are auctioned off to the highest bidder, and their virginity is the prize. I don’t want to give too much away, because one of the book’s best surprises, for me, was discovering all of the unique details Kristen brings to her world. It’s a setting you may think you have read before – your typical “women are inferior” dystopia – but there's so much more to this society and what's going on underneath the surface. The worldbuilding is well-executed and believable and cleverly thought out.

The plot isn’t want I expected either. Aya has been living in the mountains away from the city for years, but in the first chapter she’s caught by hunters and brought to The Garden, the place where girls are pampered to perfection. She wants only to escape back to freedom and to find her family. One of my favorite aspects of the book is the way it’s broken up into segments. You’ll see what I mean when you start reading, but it kept the pacing up and made the different settings really stand out.

I also love that this isn’t a book about a girl who is trying to change the system or save the day. It’s a more intimate story than that yet no less compelling. Aya is in danger the entire book, but as she’s thrust from one bad situation to the next, she never gives up. Her fiery, tough spirit and intelligent mind make her an easy protagonist not only to sympathize with but to just plain ole like. I admired her character so much and the way she persevered through everything. In Article 5 I had some issues with the main character, mainly her thought processes and how inconsiderate she behaved toward her love interest, but that’s thankfully absent here. There was maybe one or two times that I didn’t agree with Aya’s decisions – Kristen seems to like the type of romantic tension where the love interests misunderstand one another – but it was barely a blip in the radar for me.

Speaking of, the romance is such a highlight in this book. I got the impression from early reviews that there isn’t much of one, but that’s not the case at all. Aya meets her love interest while she is in captivity at The Garden, and he is with her for most of the book. In this world, there are different caste systems in addition to the male/female dichotomy, and Kiran (who Aya nicknames for the color of his eyes) is a Driver, the lowest of the low. They are considered to be filthy and incompetent, due to the fact that they live outside of the city and are mute. Kiran and Aya form a tentative friendship, despite the fact that they can’t communicate properly, and he tries to help her escape. I really loved this romance, guys, and I really, really loved Kiran. He will surprise you with his kindness and gentle heart. I love the way he and Aya complement one another, the way they subtly and oh-so-slowly learn to trust and let down their guard, the way I wanted more than anything to smoosh their faces together. Their interactions throughout are such a delight. So much swooning!

What I didn’t like

The main thing that stood out to me was how other girls were portrayed in the beginning of the book. It really annoyed me that Aya seemed to be the only girl who wanted to break free and could see the world for what it was. The others couldn’t wait to be auctioned off and were little more than bullies. Some of the situations had me rolling my eyes a couple of times. Thankfully there is growth for one girl in particular, but I wish that there was more complexity and solidarity in these early chapters.

Final thoughts

This is a book that had me on the edge of my seat, racing through the pages to get to the end. It put me through quite the emotional ringer – I didn’t expect to cry, but I totally did! I dare anyone not to during a certain scene! Kristen's writing has also gotten all the more beautiful and magnetic; Aya has a really distinct voice, and there are some truly beautiful passages sprinkled throughout. Basically, I loved this book, and I can't wait for everyone to read it.

***Special thanks to Brittany @ Please Feed the Bookworm for sending me her ARC!***

This review can also be found at Love at First Page.
Profile Image for Alicia Batista (Addicted Readers).
256 reviews505 followers
February 20, 2015

4 Stars

Kristen Simmons has done it again in this EPIC standalone, that interweaves thrilling dystopia, heart-pounding adventure, turmoil of survival, and a fresh and truly unforgettable romance, that will touch your hearts for years to come. THE GLASS ARROW definitely delivers!!!

If there's one thing I know for sure about Kristen Simmons, it's that she NEVER fails me, NEVER!!! Even though I didn't love this standalone as much as her other series, ARTICLE 5, it came pretty close!! She has this powerful way that quickly gets her readers engaged and invested into the characters and story as it unfolds. And these characters in THE GLASS ARROW had the worst of the worse happen to them, so I was able to feel connected and drawn to them and their sorrows and desperation, an route for their success.

The world building is original, yet, their are a few similarities to other books I've read. But that's to be expected with any dystopian books. But Kristen Simmons was able to throw in her own unique plot, and collide them with the general dystopian setting, and sets this book on fire with her epic storytelling that never ceases to fail!!

Aya was such a solid protagonist. She was hardcore and willing to risk it all just to be free, and to free the ones she loved. Growing up in the mountains, trying to evade capture had turned Aya into a "Wild" girl, willing to get down and dirty and do the things that many wouldn't. She had all the character traits that I love in my female leads. She had this wild demeanor, yet, she knew when to play that card and when to lay low and wait for the perfect time to strike. She was such a strong character to have to endure the many things she had, and in this relatively quick standalone novel, she achieved much.

Kiran was another great character that I enjoyed. He was a little harder to figure out though. He was a driver, and considered mute. So in the beginning when Aye and Kiran would secretly meet, Kiran would express himself with actions. But what I loved about their connection was that they were able to communicate without having to speak any words. And it was beautiful, and truly heartwarming to watch this beauty unfold in such a harsh world. And I think it truly made the romance build up and slowly blossom to what it became.

But what I really loved about this book was that the characters were determined to survive, but not determined to save the world. In most dystopians you have the main characters fighting to get out of their bad situation, then fighting to fix the core of the problem. But not in this novel, the characters were only out to save themselves and the ones they loved and say the hell with the rest of world and all it's screwed up ways. And I LOVED THAT!!! It was a breath of fresh air to have a dystopian novel so different from the rest, and VERY rare. But unsurprisingly, Kristen Simmons did it just like I knew she would!


Aya knows how to survive, she's been doing it since she was born. Hiding within the mountains, blending into the tress and becoming one with the earth, and only interacting with the ones she loves, trying to keep her people alive and remain safe, and free....

Aya has been her groups best chance of survival since her mother passed away and she was left to take over. She's strong, skilled, determined, and as loyal as they come. But most importantly, she'd rather be caught and claimed then see someone she loves go in her place. So she is the groups only chance of survival....

But then Aya's luck finally runs out when her group is torn apart by a bunch of business men looking for easy prey out in the mountains. She's captured and forced to abandon her family to the mercy of the predators who roam the mountains searching for their next breeder. Aya's world has been turned upside down, and the real fight for survival has just begun...

Aya is taken to the Garden—a Rehabilitation Center of sorts for girls to be groomed and prepped to be sold to a future buyer, for him to do as he pleases, for girls are merely property for the owner to do as they see fit. But Aya's not your normal Garden girl, she's been raised wild in the mountains and has a few tricks up her sleeve. She's determined to make sure she never scums to that horrible fate, but if she does, she's ready to go down fighting.

But then Aya's plans take a wild turn when she meets Kiran, a very strange but highly interesting mute driver that is determined to help her escape. At first she doesn't know what to make of him as no one in or around the Garden as ever seemed like they wanted to help her, except him. But their is something about his persistence, and caring demeanor that makes her feel she can trust him.

But before they can put their plan into action Aya's is sold to her buyer and forced to finally leave the Garden. Alone and out of options, Aya is done playing games, she's ready to get down and dirty and get herself free of the manic that has now claimed her...

Overall, THE GLASS ARROW was a great dystopian that brought fresh air and a touch of originality to the dystopia genre. Kristen Simmons did not fail and still remains one of my favorite authors, and I'm so excited to see what else she comes up with next!

NOTE: I received a physical ARC from Tor Teen for reviewing purposes! All opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced in any way!
February 5, 2015
This is a book that, while it was on my TBR, it wasn’t on my immediate TBR. I added this book as soon as I saw the cover and summary because a) that cover is gorgeous and b) I love books with strong and fierce MC’s. But, I also really don’t like or normally read dystopias, which is why this wasn’t in my immediate TBR. It wasn’t until my friend Nick kept telling about how much she loved it and how she thought I would love it too. She’s pretty damn good at knowing what I like and don’t like, so I moved this to the top of my TBR after a little bit of encouragement from her. I’m so glad I had that push from her or else I would have probably never gotten around to reading this and it was so good!
To be free means to be hunted.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, especially since this is my first book by this author. What really made this story strong for me were the characters, especially Aya. Faced with so many obstacles that sometimes seem impossible to overcome. I love how determined she was not to give up. I was really surprised by the romance in this book. With Aya having so much to deal with, I wasn’t expecting the romance to be a big part of the story, and it isn’t… not really. The focus is on Aya and her trying to escape and get her family back, but we do have a very sweet and strong romance that plays a pretty important part, in all the ways that count. I was loving the slow burn chemistry and attraction and I was swooning over all the small but integral moments of the relationship. There were so many unexpected twists in The Glass Arrow, I honestly don’t know the author fit so much in one book. There were moments that shocked me and surprised me and other moments that were just plain hard to read. With the disturbing topic of the book (females being sold as property, mainly to provide children), there were some scenes that had me wanting to read while peeking through my fingers. I can’t help thinking that this would have made an amazing NA book.
By the end of today I’ll either be free or dead…

I was a little bit surprised that this is a stand alone considering it’s a dystopia and those are usually part of series, and there were moments (especially near the very end!) where I just kept thinking to myself: how will this possibly end? How is there still so much action going on at 90% of the book?? How will this end??? I even sent a few panicked messages to Nick to help me get through some particularly sad moments. :( I love books like this, books that have me on the edge of my seat, biting my nails (literally) and dying to know what happens next while at the same time being scared to find out. It’s even better when a book can do that to you that isn’t even your usual kind of read. I know most of used are burned out on dystopias, but this isn’t your usual dystopia. Far from it. Above everything, I loved the beautiful messages this book had.

4.5 out of 5 stars!

Where I See Fashion: The Glass Arrow by nereyda1003

Read full review & more of my reviews at Mostly YA Book Obsessed

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Profile Image for Jessica (Goldenfurpro).
884 reviews252 followers
May 17, 2016
This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd

This book is about Aya, who has been living in the wilds her whole life with the rest of her family. So far, they have been able to evade capture, but one day their luck runs out and Aya is taken. In this society, women are property that are sold to the highest bidder. The owners can even throw away their new 'properties' once they get enough use out of them, get tired of them. etc. Basically, women cannot have a life in this society and are solely used to make more males and 'entertain' the males. In fact, in this society that can't possibly have too many females, so many female babies are simply just killed so that the female population won't grow. Yeah, this is a horrible society.
Anyway, Aya now has to be kept with the other girls who are waiting to be bought. Many of these girls are even excited for this prospect, as they were raised for it. Aya just wants to escape and be free again in the wild, something the other girls don't understand, but each escape attempt gets her nowhere and causes the chains to constrict her further.

Wow, that was one rambling synopsis from me...
First of all, this book is definitely feminist. I have no problem with that, as I am feminist, but books like this always upset me. Why? Because of how horribly the women are treated, which is probably the point. The plot of girls being sold to men like this is not a prospect I haven't seen before, but it's still horrible to see. What's interesting about this book is that the pacing isn't exactly fast and a majority is Aya planning things, this book still has so much going on! That probably doesn't make much sense, but that's precisely how I felt in this book.

As mentioned in my own synopsis, the other girls were all giggly over the prospect of being sold. They also made fun of Aya for being from the wild and they would brag about men being interested in them (in the buying them sense). Really, this is horrible. It's horrible that they would want this life, but they grew up with knowing and planning for this, so this is the only thing they knew. Aya, on the other hand, knew true freedom and she looks at them in the same way we do, disgusted that the girls ended up like this and don't know true freedom, and that the men turned them to this. I also would like to mention that the men are the same way. All of the men are portrayed horribly, because they were raised to believe that the women are just their property. There's a little boy in this book that already has started acting like a little demon because that's just how he was told to act. Anyway, these aren't really important to the book, but I just think it says a lot.

There actually aren't a whole lot of major characters in this book, throughout most of it. There are a lot of side characters, but the only main ones seem to be Aya, Brax, and Kiram. I liked Aya strength in this book. She knows freedom, as I already mentioned too much, and wants to get back to that as much as she can, She also worries about her family and wants to make sure that they are okay. She does get close to giving up, but she always tries to come up with ideas to escape as well as take advantage of any opportunity. Brax is a wolf friend that Aya makes, when the wolf was a pup. I loved their relationship, though I admit I have a soft spot for animals. Lastly, is Kiram. There relationship was very interesting because Kiram couldn't talk. It also took awhile for Aya to trust him, but Kiram obviously did care for Aya and wanted to help her (even if Aya couldn't see that for awhile). It's very interesting how Aya's too main friends couldn't talk to her...

As for romance, there isn't a whole lot. Really, there aren't a whole lot of romantic opportunities in this book. Not only is Aya trying to escape, but she lives in a horrible society. It makes me very happy that the book is focused on those things, rather than any romance. Though, there is a budding romance, which is probably obvious to anyone who reads YA (we are adept and figuring out who the love interest is very quickly).

Overall, this book has a very horrible subject matter, in terms that it's very disturbing, but it was also very important. I liked this book and enjoyed reading this! Also, this book is a standalone and it tied up very nicely! I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a dark, standalone dystopian!
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,126 reviews2,164 followers
March 5, 2015
Rating: 3.5 Stars

The Glass Arrow is being lauded as a breath of fresh air in the dystopian genre--and, to some extent, I suppose it is. Yet, while Simmons latest is a vast improvement from her debut trilogy (in my opinion, at any rate), I found myself left wanting at the end. Simmons throws us into a futuristic world where the freedoms women have fought so hard to win are, once again, stripped away. In the world of The Glass Arrow, women are auctioned off for their beauty and virginity, the combination proving to be deadly as wealthy merchants, landowners, and politicians seek females in order to extend their line. Aya, our protagonist who has grown up in the wild, free from civilization's constraints, finds herself captured and awaiting to be auctioned. Determined to escape and return to her family, still somewhere in the wilderness, Aya rebels and finds herself thrown time and time again into solitary confinement.

In solitary confinement, Aya befriends Brax, a wolf pup, and Kiran, a Driver. The Drivers are a separate caste, almost, of people who are said to be born mute. Though Kiran doesn't speak, Aya finds herself slowly growing to trust him. As a heroine, Aya is an inspiration. Not only does she shut down, fight against, and correct the notions of the girls around her--beliefs that they hold about their worth as seen through a man's eyes--but she can hold her own both physically and mentally as well. While she's remarkably similar to kick-ass protagonists like Tris or Katniss who care for their family and freedom above all else, the originality of the realm she survives in sets her apart. Aya isn't a difficult character to like and neither is Kiran. Though the Drivers can be dangerous, and Aya suspects Kiran during their initial meetings, the friendship and trust that build between them extend to the reader as well. While Aya is an open book from the first page to the last, Simmons uncovers the layers to Kiran's character slowly, using his mute-ness to create a dynamic between himself and Aya that is wholly unique. Aya and Kiran's romance is subtle--a true back-burner--and though I yearned for more of it, it is nevertheless utterly satisfying.

The Glass Arrow possesses a scintillating plot line, one that shifts from different settings and introduces a fascinating host of secondary characters at every turn. I couldn't predict the outcome of many of the situations Aya was placed in but I found myself emotionally involved and rooting for her throughout. Yet--and perhaps this is because I attend an all-women's college--I wanted The Glass Arrow to take a stronger feminist stance. Aya is seemingly the only female in this world who wants her own rights and freedoms. Moreover, there is little to no political scheme throughout this story though I would love to see this set-up of this future explored in a manner that isn't traditionally dystopian. While Simmons has created a world full of strife, inequality, and injustice, she doesn't use this as a platform to remark on modern-day issues. Or, at any rate, not enough. I expected this to be a larger-than-life tale and though Aya and Kiran's journey is remarkable and touching, it also stays a little too safe, in my eyes. Simmons doesn't challenge her readers to think or question society--it's all quite black-and-white--and I find myself wondering why she chose such a potentially conflicting backdrop if she didn't intend to spark conversation.

Nevertheless, The Glass Arrow is a fast-paced, entertaining dystopia which is guaranteed to garner emotional attachment. While it didn't reach the full potential I hoped for, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Simmons returns to this world--much like the authors of These Broken Stars--to more carefully remark on other aspects of this universe. For those who believe the dystopian genre has run dry of ideas, The Glass Arrow will prove you wrong.
Profile Image for Bekah.
745 reviews982 followers
December 7, 2015
Review found at: awesomebooknut.com

Ok first off, I HATE The Handmaid's Tale. So when I got this book and THAT is what it said? Yikes. However I LOVED Blood Red Road so putting two books that's I've read and have polar opposite thoughts and feelings on...well I was interested!

I didn't really know what I was getting into, however I was hooked from the first few pages. This book was very well written, with some very raw, emotional, and controversial scenes/topics, I felt I am giving it, it's proper rating. Kristen shows a dystopian world where the feminist struggle is eliminated and their worst fears are brought to life. Her writing is very vivid and real with shocking twists and turns, that has the reader holding on to the edge of their seat.

This story is about a girl named Aya who has lived in "the wild" (meaning outside the city) all her life, her mother warned her about what happens in the city and taught Aya how to survive. When Aya is captured by Trackers, her worse fears come to life, she is thrown into the lot of other girls who are ripe and ready to be sold to become baby-makers for the men of the city. Aya is an amazing female character, she is very realistic, she is strong, yet-flawed, she feels, she struggles, yet throughout everything she never gives up, she continues to fight. I love that she isn't the cookie-cutter dystopian heroine that has all the answers that makes all the right choices. She is great because the author shows you that this character has real emotions such a fear and the will to survive.

Along the way Aya befriends a young Driver whom she names Kiran. A Driver is a class of people who tend to the horses and drive the carriages when needed. They don't speak and are considered so low that they are treated with distain as if they are plagued. Kiran was the polar opposite of the harsh and almost diabolical male side of the city. Kiran is kind, thoughtful, empathetic, gentle and yet he is strong and isn't brought down as a male character regardless of the disgusting side the men of the city are painted. I thought the author does a great job of showing both sides of the spectrum. Men aren't all bad and women aren't all clueless.

The world portrayed is captivating with harsh and gritty descriptions that portray both side of good and evil from both male and female characters. The character developments were spot on and the author navigates your feelings with vivid and emotional and shows that women are worth so much and more than what they are brought up to believe.

Sexual Content: moderate (talk of sex, and rape, not graphic)
Violence: moderate (fightings, abuse, females being hit, men getting beaten)
Language: mild/none
Drugs/Alcohol: mild
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,164 followers
May 10, 2017
The Handmaid's Tale meets YA Dystopia. And, without all of that silly depression and despondency that comes with The Handmaid's Tale. There is hope in this one. YA style hope, meaning there is a boy involved, but still, it was much better than I expected it to be. Because, love-interest or not, our heroine is more interested in being free than chasing a guy around.

My ma taught me one thing from the beginning. My body is mine. My own. No one else's. Just because someone thinks they have rights to it, doesn't make it true.

You go, girl!!

But, Aya/Clover is fighting an uphill battle because she lives in a world where girls are simply a commodity. They are auctioned and sold to the highest bidder and have to live as his possession until they either give him a son, or he gets tired of them. After this, they are resold, as used goods, over and over again until they die.

Most girls understand that this is their lot in life and do nothing but hope they can get the best possible master husband.

They've forgotten, or maybe they never learned, that their worth is not determined by how much a man wants them.

Well, it's a good thing this is fiction!!! We never are taught that in this enlightened day and age!

Freaking media! Always setting the bar just a little bit higher!

They are sent to prisons camps to be groomed and sold to the highest bidder. Aya is caught in the wild and sent to one of these places where she is renamed Clover. Considering she was living free beforehand, she is a premium, organic, free-range, meat girl who may be able to produce children, unlike those factory farm girls. She should get a good price. But, Aya/Clover doesn't want to be sold so she does crazy things to get out of it. Like getting beat-up so her face is messed up, or acting like a raving lunatic on stage.

That's right. This society is so screwed-up and dystopic that they parade these girls across the stage and the men rate them. It's crazy, right? right?

pedo bear approved...

Aya's whole goal is to get free and get back to her wild mountain living where she left behind some young cousins. She intends to keep them safe from the auction block and to live her life on her own terms. Crazy females, right? Thinking they should be able to live freely and not be sex slaves. Bitches be crazy!

This book is very fast-paced and entertaining. I wouldn't say that it's the most original dystopia ever written, but it has a better underlying message than most. It also doesn't have Aya starting some revolution against the government and being a special snowflake. She is just a girl trying to keep her and her family free. No super-powers, no magic, no most-beautiful girl in the world, no extra strength or brains - just a normal girl. I found that refreshing.

This book was read as part of my 2016 reading challenge with the Mac Halo chicks:
Read a book that has been on your TBR list for over a year.

Profile Image for Carly .
78 reviews25 followers
December 13, 2017
2.5 stars -- I found the main character quite juvenile and the relationships to be very underdeveloped. The narrative writing style was well done but the story just seemed a little bit all over the place to me, and I found it hard to sympathise with any of the characters. The cringe factor was very well done though. They way society works in this novel, where women are seen as slaves meant to be sold off to men, left me angry and upset, but in a good way. It caused me to really think and reflect on my own world and the history of violence and inequality towards women. I would have enjoyed this novel a lot more had the characters and relationships be more developed.
Profile Image for Nastassja.
423 reviews989 followers
January 30, 2016
“What’s a glass arrow?” she asks without turning around.“Once, a long time ago, when the grass was grazed too thin and the game was scarce, Fox and Deer sang to Mother Hawk for food to end their families’ suffering.She flew down from the sky with an arrow made of green glass and told them that she’d give it to the winner of a race across the country. Fox thought the race was a waste of time and went to the lowlands in search of food. So Deer ran the path Mother Hawk had chosen alone. Into the mountains, across the sky, and back down into the valley. When he was through, Mother Hawk gave him the arrow to do what he would. He gave it to Fox, who placed it in the bow, drew back, and pierced Deer through the heart. Deer’s blood seeped into the ground, and from that place grew enough grass to feed his family for generations. But Fox and his family starved.” “Why didn’t the deer just kill the fox?”
“A deer can’t live off a fox,” I say, quoting my ma. “But a family can live off one sacrifice for a long time.”

This book is about sacrifice, about finding strength to fight for your freedom and family, about real heroes. I love strong female lead, MC from this book was exactly this type of a girl: she is strong but also she knows when she can win a fight and when she can't, she is royal and also she is just a girl - no super powers, no kick ass strength - just survival skills. All this makes Aya even more believable and helps you connect almost instantly with this character.
I’ve been locked up one hundred and seven days.
That’s one hundred and seven days of meal supplement pills crammed down my throat, skin scrubbings, and whippings.
That’s eighteen fights I’ve won, six escape attempts I’ve failed, and nine runs in solitary.
That’s four auctions, three I’ve managed to avoid.
Tomorrow is number five, and I’m not going, even if it means taking down the Governess herself. I’m not getting sold. Not now. Not ever.

This book was brutal. We are thrown abruptly into this world of men's dominance, where women are hunted down and locked till they bought by some rich Magnate and then bred like animals till they produce a boy and then they go to another owner until they used and thrown away. The world building was graduate, we learn through MC eyes how world is today, how crazy it became. I loved mythology, it was interesting - this kind of dystopian future where people forgot a lot of good technology but created a lot of monstrosity instead, there's still technology but it is mostly evil and only rich can use it ( and not for a good deed).
The Governess has launched into her speech about how our great country Isor was nearly destroyed by the vicious workings of our ancestors. How simple things used to be, when free women could be trusted to know the value of their place in the shadows. Before greed infected their minds and their hearts and they used their bodies to seduce the very men who cared for them. She talks about how our grandmothers’ grandmothers tore down the barriers between men and women with their trickery, and destroyed cities with their petulance. How they began to poison their wombs so that they could not bear children, and murdered men with their wicked powers.

This is men's version in which women are evil and hunted like witches. But there's also another version.
My ma used to tell this story differently. In her version, women walked free and proud. No one owned them. No one hunted them. Their bodies and minds were their own. That was until two Magistrates fell in love with the same woman. Competing for her affection, they turned against each other, forcing other men of power to take sides with them. The Brotherhood began to crumble. A council was called to rectify the issue, and when they learned that she had willingly given herself to both, had her killed. The rules changed then. My ma said it was because the men were scared by their own weakness and how easy it was to succumb to temptation. Women in power—merchants and healers—were accused of using dark magic to gain their status. Girls became the property of their fathers and husbands. And the Magistrate became monsters, making slaves of innocent girls and slaughtering those who stood against them.
One woman had infected two men. Two men, the Brotherhood. And the Brotherhood, the whole of Isor.

Our MC Aya is not a hero, she is just trying to survive in this cruel world of men, there's no grand plans for saving the world - just herself and her family. This book is also about faith. Aya believes in Mother Hawk - some kind of goddess, but it is not about blind beliefs but about not been alone, believing in something bigger than this cruel world.
I pull the stretchy sleeves of my dress over my hands. I know Mother Hawk exists because she does. Because my ma told me she did. Because a long time ago, before scientific tests and Magnates, Mother Hawk gave the first people their reincarnated souls, and the only reason any of us walk and talk and live today is because of that gift.
I know she exists, because without her, I’m all alone.

I can't describe how awful this world is, I can't imagine this cruelty towards your own daughters and wives.
The theme of this auction is Elegance. I don’t feel elegant. I feel like a prostitute.

There's romance in this book. it wasn't big, but was crucial for our MC as she never felt anything for men except disgust, and when her feelings awakened it was confusing for her but also liberating to realize that belonging to someone doesn't always mean been a slave.
Though I’ve fought it all my life, maybe someone—Kiran—does own me. Pieces of me. Moments with me. Maybe I own him too, in those same scattered pieces. And maybe it’s only the buzzing in my head, but this suddenly doesn’t seem terrible at all.

The Glass Arrow is beautifully written, MC is amazing strong young woman, I was running with her through the woods, I was running with her from the poisoned city, I was crying with her when friends fell, I laughed with her when family was found again. Read this book because it is good and sincere, because it has everything to keep your attention and to make you see yourself like ordinary human but nevertheless beautiful and unique.
We are strong and proud and beautiful and there are not enough stars in the night sky to measure our worth.

Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,230 reviews1,652 followers
February 8, 2015
For more reviews, gifs, Cover Snark and more, visit A Reader of Fictions.

Actual rating: 1.5 stars

At this point, I’m largely uninterested in dystopian fiction. I burned out big time in the onslaught that followed Divergent. It’s not even that I dislike the genre, but that I no longer had much of an idea what the genre actually was and that so many of them weren’t good. Simmons’ Article 5 was among the handful that I liked. As such, I was still looking forward to The Glass Arrow, especially due to the comparison to The Handmaid’s Tale, which has been oft-imitated in YA, but never well. Unfortunately, The Glass Arrow started well and then descended into the same sort of cliches that made me tire of YA dystopian novels.

For the first half of the novel, I was enjoying The Glass Arrow. It seemed like perhaps it might live up to the novels referenced in its comparison marketing. The opening scene, of Aya being hunted down by Trackers, was an excellent hook. Where she goes next is no better: a prison where captured girls are prepared to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. In a classic move to remove humanity, the girls actual names are taken away, and they’re named after flowers and weeds. The most powerful scene in the whole book is the one where a girl commits suicide because that’s the only possible escape.

Aya mutilates herself or acts up on stage so that she won’t sell, despite her high ratings for attractiveness. Her trouble-making gets her thrown in solitary a lot, but that’s okay because she loves solitary. Why? Because that’s where her wolf friend is, of course. This was the first thing I didn’t really understand. Apparently, he came out of the sewer as a puppy and they became friends, so now he comes up and keeps her company when she’s in solitary. Brax is my favorite character by far, but I also don’t understand why he was in a city sewer or how on earth the Watcher never noticed she was skipping around with a wolf. He also really didn’t advance the plot in any way that Kiran couldn’t have, so I just do not get why he was there, except maybe

The Watcher also didn’t notice that there was a Driver jumping over a radioactive creek to hang out with her. Aya doesn’t trust the Driver at first, but then she starts talking to him, since Drivers can’t talk. She names him Kiran, for his gorgeous eyes (which are brown with flecks of gold for a change). Their whole romance was so incredibly predictable that I cannot even. It should at least have been cute, but I was rolling my eyes. The incredibly half-hearted attempts at love triangle romantic drama (with both Daphne and then Kyna) did not help.

Mostly, though, I don’t the setting at all. I know I’ve bemoaned infodumping in the past, but it’s maybe better than no info at all. I have no clue if this is meant to be science fiction or fantasy. My guess is fantasy, but there’s a character who appears to have a northeastern accent, so who even knows. Watchers were apparently made to keep women from escaping and they’re really bulky men made by science? Or something? Pips are…servants made from boys not wealthy enough to buy women? And they say Pip because reasons? And maybe they are also scientifically altered somehow? Drivers are a different race? Or religion? Or something? And they’re allowed to do their own thing kind of but also everyone hates them and thinks they’re gross because reasons. The only real world building is basically this legend about why women are not trusted and used as breeding chattel, but that really didn’t suffice for me at all.

The thing about YA dystopias is that they’re too nice. In The Handmaid’s Tale, Offred is performing her role in the society; she is raped by the man of the house regularly, though it wouldn’t be termed that in that world. It’s dark, gritty, and terrifying. There’s no happy ending and nothing comes easily. What I love about dystopian novels is how grim they are. When writing for teens though, everything becomes easier and the heroine, alone among every girl and woman living in the society, proves the exception. The Handmaid’s Tale is so strong because Offred ISN’T an exception.

I’m not saying that what Aya goes through is easy; it’s way worse than anything I will ever experience (*knocks on wood*). However, compared to the other females in this world, she gets off lightly. That could work, I suppose, but I didn’t find the many escapes particularly believable. I don’t understand The whole thing frustrates me, because the world building makes so little sense and even so the ending still seems out of character for the world.

The Glass Arrow started out so promisingly and I was hoping for a bullseye, but womp womp the arrow didn’t get close to the target.
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,889 followers
April 29, 2015
3.5 stars
For some reason, I was quite sure The Glass Arrow would be a fantasy book. The cover certainly points that way, and although I should not have assumed, I was still surprised to find a complex dystopia instead of the fantasy novel I was hoping for.

The world Simmons gives us is horrifying: hunger, disease and awful living conditions for everyone but the very few rich men. The women are considered to be merchandise and they are sold like objects on the meat market. They are groomed and fattened and polished to become more appealing to wealthy men. Most girls know that it’s the only future for them and some even welcome it, but Aya was raised in the wilderness, with her mother, her aunt and cousins. The mountains were Aiyana’s home since she was born and they’re all she knows, but once she is captured and taken to the city, she is able to show us the sickening societal structure and the absolutely horrendous treatment of women.

The Glass Arrow is a strange mix of old and new. People die from the simplest diseases, most barely surviving the hunger and filth. Food is rare, everyone but the rich survives on food supplements. However, they use plastic surgery to correct the flaws of girls ready to be sold, there’s permanent make-up and many other cosmetic procedures. Apparently, at one point the society decided to throw away cars and technology and return to a simpler life. But somehow, the rich still have the advanced video games and other technological developments.

The thing with dystopias, I think, is that they have to be believable, as close to reality as possible. We must be able to see things happen exactly that way, become utterly convinced that the world described is just around the corner. There are dystopias that work exactly like that, and they are always the best ones. But the future described in The Glass Arrow was illogical and full of discrepancies. It did not work at all.

Oddly enough, the romance saved the story. Aya’s feelings for Kiran changed very slowly and her weariness was understandable and even welcomed. Her internal struggle was done exceptionally well and the long journey from prejudice to trust seemed entirely believable and perfectly done.

I was surprised and glad to be reading a standalone. It’s nice to have a well-rounded ending that doesn’t attempt to do too much, but that covers all the things that are truly important to characters and readers both. Despite its flaws, The Glass Arrow is well-executed story that doesn’t have the strongest emotional impact, but it’s necessary and educational nevertheless.

Profile Image for Joy (joyous reads).
1,468 reviews291 followers
April 22, 2015
Sometimes, it’s those books that leave you feeling detached that are hard to review. The ones that didn’t leave a lasting impression that are the easiest to forget. The Glass Arrow is that book for me. Kristen Simmons’ books has had that curious effect on me. Whenever I read them, I always feel like I’m on the verge of something great, but never really coming through. It’s quite frustrating.

In this imagined world, women are a dying breed. So in an attempt to preserve the population, fertile women are sold off to the highest bidder to procreate. Women are hunted and kept in a facility that attempts to refine them so that they may fetch a higher price. Virgins are of course, prime property.

Aya of the Wild

The capture of Aya of the Wild was, I thought, the only exciting thing that happened in this book. Which is kind of sad because it happened in the beginning. The plot goes downhill from there – or my interest at least, waned from that point on.

When she was brought in to The Garden, Aya made sure she was the most difficult ‘livestock’ among the herd. She purposely hurt herself, caused trouble, and was perpetually in isolation. In fact, she much preferred if she was in solitary. Because it was only there that she gets to talk to the only ally she has: Brax, a wolf that finds an affinity to her wildness.

The appearance of the wolf was a bit jarring. He seemed a bit out of place, in my opinion. I don’t really understand how he found his way inside the compound; a place sequestered off with a surrounding electric fence, not to mention a creek filled with radioactive waste. I also don’t understand how none of the Watchers or guards didn’t notice him. Aside from being the obligatory sidekick, I just didn’t see its relevance to the plot. But hey, animal lovers rejoice! [spoiler] except perhaps when Brax meets his untimely death [end of spoiler].

The Driver

If you’re looking for romance, you need not worry. Enter the Driver. Drivers are known to be mute. When Aya met him, she’s encumbered with mistrust. For some reason, she kept thinking he’s there to kill her. After a few meetings, she starts talking to him. But because he’s mute, the conversations were usually one way. She named him Kiran. Because of his eyes [insert eye roll here]. The romance left me cold, to be honest. I wasn’t into it. Again, this is one of those times when further development was needed. It’s as if Ms. Simmons was fulfilling the romance requirement that was asked of her by her publisher.

It’s a mad world

The thing that drove me mad here is the lack of cohesive factor that ties all the elements in this world. I think this is one of those instances where I wouldn’t mind pages of narrative explaining the hows and the whys of this imagined world. I can’t figure out whether the author is making an attempt at Sci-Fi fantasy or just fantasy. There are beings/creatures that are some type of hybrid; and creatures who communicated with ‘chirps’. It was tough to imagine, that’s all.

You should still read it

if fantasy is your thing. The Handmaid’s Tale, it is not, but if you haven’t read that, the concept will probably bring forth adverse reactions in you. I wish they’d consider the literature that they’re comparing it to before they make such bold statements. Otherwise, they’re setting us up for a disappointment.
Profile Image for MrsJennyReads.
63 reviews
December 13, 2014
Utterly captivating read both for having an engrossing story to tell and also for the sheer haunting poetic verse of the prose. As a big fan of YA, I have to say that Kristen Simmons is right at the top and has written one of the genre's most tour-de-force novels. She truly is the master of the dystopian and she weaves her tales with such conviction for the human struggle. For any who is a fan of dystopian, YA, or Kristen Simmons--of if you're just a fan of superb writing at the hands of a true literary craftswoman whose artistry seemingly knows no bounds--then you MUST read this.

I do not want to spoil anything because the entire novel is worth the read--word for word. I will give nothing away, but I'll let you turn the page. Kristen Simmons has written a masterpiece of YA Dystopia.

Thank you, Ms. Simmons.
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