Kristen Simmons – The Glass Arrow

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’ve never read The Handmaid’s Tale, Blood Red Road, or any of Kristen Simmons’ any other books, but I was super excited in reading to read this one. I mean, women on the run from men who have to hunt for them? Sounds like a great formula for kick-assery. The blurb honestly does not talk a lot about what happens in the book though.

In fact, the book starts off with the main character Aya getting hunted down and caught. We aren’t really given a look on the life she led with her family and close friends. After Aya gets caught, we see her in an establishment where women are bid for during market days, which happen once a month. I think Kristen Simmons does a pretty good job in describing the world she built. It had some elements of dystopia, but I’m fairly sure it’s a fantasy. Here’s the highlights of the quite interesting world:
– The technology is good enough that people can live off of food supplements and surgically enhance their looks.
– The food supplements previously mentioned decreases the chance of birthing so women are bought and sold for as commodity with the intentions of birthing males.
– Despite the obvious technological advancement (people could change their weight!), most upper-class people use horses as a means of transportation. Why??
As Aya said,
“Why people don’t just eat real food – something you can chew – is beyond me.”
I agree with you, girl.
– And finally, Aya is a pretty good deal since she should be able to birth males easily. Why? She wasn’t raised eating food supplements and the like. No, she’s “wild.”

So there’s the gist of the world. If that sounds interesting to you, I’d highly recommend you to give the book a go! It’s not that long, and was a pretty interesting read. I’m a little disappointed that after the events, nothing really changed in their society, but then again this is also only one book. A character can only do oh so much, right?

Speaking of characters, Aya is pretty rad. While some other girls in the Garden, or the place where they wait to be sold off, dream of being carried away by some rich nasty man, Aya tried to escape to find and help the family she left when she got caught. I have to admit, a large portion of the beginning was dedicated to her trying to escape. A lot of talking/planning and not a lot of doing. But it’s the latter half where the action finally comes – and fast at that! Aya knows what she’s doing and she thinks like someone from our world.
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.”
(While the other girls can’t wait to be owned.)
Aya is also pretty cunning. When she wants to get things done, she gets them done. No whimpering from her.
“Much as it revolts me, I fake a sob and bury my face into my guard’s rockhard arm.”
Faking it is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but still pretty effective. And yeah, Aya has enough wits to know that and utilize the skill.

The male character in the book, Kiran, is such a dear. Aya meets him after she gets captured and he’s a Driver, the people who take care of the horses. Apparently they’re the lowest class there is and they’re treated like scum. This makes sense, though, as they’re all born mute and are always dirty. Even so, Aya is able to communicate with Kiran and their interactions are so cute.
“I groan, frustrated. ‘If you’re going to try to kill me you should just get on with it, so that I don’t have to wait to kill you back.’”
They’re pretty great together.

Although the beginning starts out a little slow, the last part really picks up the speed and engages you head on. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who thinks the blurb sounds interesting. Like I said, it definitely doesn’t give away much of the story and sets up a little background to it. The characters were decent, the writing flowed quite nice, the world building was very on point (descriptive and great explanations!), and overall the story was highly enjoyable.

Rating: 3.5/5


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