The Glass Arrow is set in a world where woman are scarce and owned basically as breeding mules by the male population. They are sold at auction and when their owner is through with them, they go through the same process again. Those that aren’t chosen are usually taken as prostitutes to the Black Lanes and the women have no say in this world.
The story follows Aya (also known as Clover for a majority of the book), she was raised out in the mountains away from the city and with a small group of women that act together as a family. They are entirely self sufficient and aren’t forced to take part in the auction as no-one knows about them. However one day trackers (men searching the mountains for woman) come to Aya’s home and she is captured and taken against her will back to the city.
Mountain girls are highly sought after as there is a fertility problem with the woman brought up in the cities, likely due to the meal replacement pill that they take rather than the fresh food Aya captures and kills. As a result Aya is sold for a high price to The Garden, basically a place to groom the girls into acceptable wives. They are then responsible for “dolling” the girls up for the auction and get the profit.
Many of the girls who are brought up in this society think of it as a honour, want to be chosen and are disappointed when they are not. It is only really Aya and another girl that realises what is really happening to them and how this is not how society is meant to function
“They’ve forgotten, or maybe they’ve never learning, that their worth is not determined by how much a man wants them.”
The auction itself isn’t pleasant, girls are paraded around on the stage and potentially bid upon, if so they are taken back to the Garden for a week while the paperwork is finalised. They have to meet their prospective buyer during that time and do whatever they wish, however if the buyer forces them to have sex with them before their medical they are outcast from society. They receive a slash on their cheek to mark that they are basically a whore and their only option in the city is to work in the Black lanes.
I liked that the book was split up into 4 distinct sections, Aya’s initial life in the mountains, her time at the Garden and more that i don’t want to reveal incase of spoilers. The world building was very interesting to watch unfold and i couldn’t help but wonder what was happening in the other towns, did they all act in exactly the same way or are there any differences? Everyone we met in this story was from the same area, however there were so many different classes of people and differences in jobs that are performed. It was all extremely well developed.
Aya is incredibly intelligent and i really enjoy watching her struggle with the thought of conforming to this world and its ideals and her incredible concern throughout the novel for her family. I found the way she formed relationships interesting and more who she formed these relationships with.
I really enjoyed this as a standalone and whereas i do want to know more about what will happen, i feel like it was definitely the right choice for the novel and the story’s ending does close itself up quite nicely.
The only negative i have would be i would have quite liked to have spent a bit more time in the 3rd section and had that area be a bit more developed, the characters there seemed potentially really interesting and i felt like it was almost slightly anti-climatic.
However, it’s definitely a must read for those that enjoy fantasy, i’m not exactly sure which sub category this falls into, but if you like the idea of the world and enjoyed the summary you’ll probably also enjoy the story.
Thanks for reading,