This book is another dystopian society teen thriller. In this version, it sort of goes backwards, a place where after two men in a story gave war because they fought over a lady and brought the world to its knees, women are seen as the lower class, and I mean the real lower class. From the time they are born, their mothers hope they would've been boys, and if not, they are taken care of to be eventually sold to make more babies of their own and then disposed of when they can't conceive anymore. In Society, there are Watchers, which are prison guards, Drivers, which, well, ride horses and cannot talk, and finally, Trackers, who are the cops of the world who are sinister and swift on their feet. When the Trackers catch up to a girl Aya who has been hiding in the mountains, what will become of her and the rest of the family she has left and was forced to separate from?
Now, here's the deal about poverty books like Alias Grace and Things Fall Apart. I just think it's very hard to do those kinds of books well. The story seems to often stay in one place, and the writing can be soul-crushing to the characters who often aren't likeable enough to want to meet. And I am very sorry to say that with the fact there are so many opportunities around the concept of discriminated women in a futuristic-ish world and we spend too much time with a too-plain character in one stand-alone book, The Glass Arrow failed me spectacularly. The first 100 pages bored me and whenever they brought up a flare of chase, they turned to recapture. It was as if Kristen Simmons kept rolling the dice waiting for a 7. And I must say, there are several opportunities around this book. There is a romance element Aya makes with someone who spares her life but two third into the book, she ends up dumped and then reunited and forgiven a few pages later, while the leave could've had a profound effect. There is also an interesting little kid brought into the mix named Amir Kadyr who has a virtual world in his room, and little kids can bring great compounds into the story too, having someone to maybe brainwash, teach, protect and or bond with. That idea is trashed again as well.
What kept me motivated though was the idea of escape and I was wondering how Simmons was actually going to do it. Though I doubt you'd ever build a fire while on the run from people with guns, I was sort of enjoying how the last few paragraphs were playing out. But then when the ending came on the decision, I couldn't believe my eyes, the fact that Aya settles for the lowest common denominator possible and there isn't even a sense of wonder that there could've been like The Bell Jar; that book had a feel of uncertainty at the end and was thought-provoking. The only thing I was thinking of at the end of The Glass Arrow was how I judged this book before opening by its cover.