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334 pages, Hardcover
First published February 10, 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!
To be free means to be hunted.
By the end of today I’ll either be free or dead…
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
The theme of this auction is Elegance. I don’t feel elegant. I feel like a prostitute.
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.
We are strong and proud and beautiful and there are not enough stars in the night sky to measure our worth.