The Glass Arrow, by Kristen Simmons, was published in 2015 by Tor.
Once there was a time when men and women lived as equals, when girl babies were valued, and women could belong only to themselves. But that was ten generations ago. Now women are property, to be sold and owned and bred, while a strict census keeps their numbers manageable and under control. The best any girl can hope for is to end up as some man’s forever wife, but most are simply sold and resold until they’re all used up. Only in the wilderness, away from the city, can true freedom be found. Aya has spent her whole life in the mountains, looking out for her family and hiding from the world, until the day the Trackers finally catch her. Stolen from her home and being groomed for auction, Aya is desperate to escape her fate and return to her family, but her only allies are a loyal wolf she’s raised from a pup and a strange mute boy who may be her best hope for freedom…if she can truly trust him.
I was actually pretty shocked to discover that this book is a stand-alone novel. I don’t know if it’s just because it’s the trend, but I was fully expecting a cliffhanger/threads left hanging ending. However, everything was wrapped up neatly and resolved in this one book, which…was actually a little disappointing.
Now, I’m glad that Simmons did the one-off (if it turns out to be one), because YA is overflowing with trilogies and duologies to the point of tediousness, but I really felt like this book could have had more.
Much, much more could have been explored in terms of the mayor and his son and his brother; Greer was a decent villain but we didn’t see him nearly often enough to get quite the feeling that Simmons wanted us to get from him. I was fully expecting the book to end with Aya back in the hands of Greer and another book to come. But that didn’t happen, and it made that part of the book seem a little rushed.
I also thought the premise of the book was slightly heavy-handed, although dealt with well within the world as a whole. The worldbuilding and characterization were good, for the most part, but again, it felt a trifle rushed, especially at the end. I thought, “Wait, that’s it? It’s over?” Again, maybe I’m just too used to drawn-out YA series, but this book almost seemed to end too tidily. It made a few things a little unbelievable, in my opinion.
Recommended Age Range: 16+
Warnings: Violence, death, implied rape, sexual situations.
Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult
“Your name should be Kiran,” I tell him. “Because your eyes, they look like…” I pause. I don’t know why, but I feel like I’ve said something stupid again. The Driver, Kiran, looks over at me when I stop talking, and nods as though he wants me to continue.
“Well, what do you want me to say, Kiran?” I ask him. The name fits. I’m pleased with myself for thinking of it.
He leans back against the wall again, not understanding a word I’m saying. So I talk. Because no one has listened for a long time.
The Glass Arrow is, as far as I know, a stand-alone book, yet there were a few things in the novel that I wish had been developed further and, yes, extended in another book. A lot of Greer’s villainy was lost in the short amount of time spent on him, and I felt Aya should have spent more time in the mayor’s house than just a day. It wraps up almost too neatly for me, although maybe I’m just getting used to the way YA draws out everything over two or three or more books.
You can buy this here: The Glass Arrow