The sequel to Glow (2011) delivers a page-turning plot while delving deeper into questions of leadership, trauma and violence.
The girls of the Empyrean have returned to their ship after being kidnapped by the New Horizon. Waverly Marshall has endured and committed terrible acts aboard the New Horizon. She is tormented by both her own memories and a faction of younger girls who cannot forgive her for failing to rescue their parents. Kieran, who became the ship's de facto leader when the adults were taken out of the picture, delivers sermons designed to promote both unity and loyalty among his followers but is deeply anxious about his own power. Meanwhile, Seth, the former leader and third leg of a love triangle with Waverly and Kieran, escapes the brig under mysterious circumstances and discovers a major threat to the ship. As Waverly, Kieran, Seth and the large but generally well-constructed cast of supporting characters work—often at cross-purposes—to keep the peace, secure the ship and rescue their parents from the New Horizon, meaty political and moral questions arise. Is torture ever justified? What about imprisonment and surveillance? How does one stay human after doing something monstrous?
Readers hungry for the next installment will have plenty to ponder in the meantime. (Science fiction. 14 & up)