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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.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
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.
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