Author: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: September 14, 2011
What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you’d been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?
Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth’s collapse, the ship’s crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader’s efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don’t know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them…
Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he’s the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.
But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren’t all from the outside.
This book was an interesting mix between sci-fi and dystopian. There were religious aspects to the dystopian, as well as StarTrekish moments. Plus, of course, the creepy leadership aspect that comes with almost all dystopian, particularly in YA genres. The book’s beginning was great, and I was definitely intrigued by the romance, and the whole deep space part of the plot sucked me in immediately.
The cover is honestly beautiful. I love the black and how the letters seem to glow. The really confusing thing for me was how the title fit in to the plot. I just didn’t really get it. But other than that, I loved this book. It was exciting, creepy (in a well-written way), completely imaginative, and combined so many different elements of society – Armegeddon, totalitarianism, religion/secularism, etc. – into one huge adventure. Waverly is possibly the best protagonist I’ve seen in a long time (no offense to other authors or anything, but I LOVE HER!!), and if I had read this book before November, I would have nominated her for the YA Sisterhood’s Tournament of Heroines! She’s strong, she’s resilient, and she’s loyal. Waverly cares infinitely about her friends and her family, and takes her responsibility for her position and those that can’t take care of themselves.
The events on the Empyrean are horrifying, but those on the New Horizon are disgusting. I wanted to rage, to weep, to rebel, along with Waverly. I wish I could have seen her in action as she took care of her charges, sending messages to her cohorts right under her captors’ noses. I love her allies, Samantha and Sarah, not only for their own resilience, but also for their intelligence and rebellious spirit.
With the whole love triangle thing, though, I’m not sure where I stand. I think that I like Keiran better than Seth, but I can’t tell you why, because that would ruin more than half the book! Let’s just say, I think that Waverly could influence Keiran to be a better person, but Seth is beyond her influence. Because honestly, I hate most of the men in this book, except for Josiah and some of the ones that weren’t introduced by name, only by memories.
All in all, this book was great, but please read the warning below!**
**This book contains a long of scenes that are not appropriate for younger readers, such as sexual references and violence. Some characters may be considered mentally unstable and frightening to younger readers.