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The Glass Arrow
     

The Glass Arrow

4.2 19
by Kristen Simmons
 

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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

Overview

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.

The Glass Arrow: a haunting, yet hopeful, new novel from Kristen Simmons, the author of the popular Article 5 trilogy.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
12/22/2014
This grim cautionary tale opens taut and suspenseful, with its heroine being hunted down like an animal, her adopted family slaughtered and scattered. Fifteen-year-old Aya, raised a free female in the wilderness outside the capitol city of Glasscaster, is taken to the “Garden” to be groomed and sold at auction, valuable primarily for her breeding potential. Determined and resourceful, Aya fights daily for her freedom, making herself unsuitable for auction while plotting to save her remaining family from assimilation into a nightmarish patriarchy. Her only ally is one of the mute, Roma-like, “Drivers”—a boy she names Kiran who first tries to kill her and then risks everything for her. A world where girls and women are commodities to be sold and resold is frightening enough; more chilling are the girls who embrace their fate or the women who participate in the system for profit and status. However, Simmons (the Article 5 series) invests little in backstory; the origins of this dystopia are murky, and the men tend to be flatly drawn mustache-twirlers. Ages 13–up. Agent: Joanna MacKenzie, Brown & Miller Literary Associates. (Feb.)
From the Publisher

The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons plunges readers into a heart-wrenching and wholly startling new world. Aya's story is terrifying in the best possible way, and left me shuddering over the painful awareness of humanity's darkest capability, and yet not losing sight of its greatest potential. Simmons portrays a stunning heroine of strength and resilience that captivated me until the very last page.” —Christina Farley, author of the YA bestseller Gilded

“Fully imagined and richly written, The Glass Arrow seamlessly blends the best of adventure and romance with characters you will root for. I was transported.... A dark tale shot through with hope and the idea that sacrifice and love can conquer all. I couldn't put it down.” —Amy Christine Parker, author of Gated and Astray, on The Glass Arrow

The Glass Arrow is an intense and disturbing read that is impossible to put down. From the rush of the first chase scene to the emotional conclusion, Aya is a fearless heroine that you can't help falling in love with. I stayed up way too late completely enthralled, chilled and ultimately satisfied by the frightening world Simmons created. Now where is book 2? I Need it right now!” —Ellen Oh, author of Prophecy

“There's much of Katniss Everdeen in Aya--a familiar strength and determination. Aya is an independent thinker, strong and self-reliant…. Fans of dystopian and postapocalyptic YA fiction will thoroughly enjoy this read.” —School Library Journal

“Romance readers will find plenty to swoon over, while fans of dystopian futures will find this a compelling… read. Aya's fierce determination and ability to think quickly and creatively in crises make her a great role model, and her nature-based faith lends an interesting balance to the action-driven tale of social justice. Simmons creates sympathetic yet intriguingly flawed characters, and tweaks familiar dystopian elements to excellent effect.” —Booklist

“This grim cautionary tale opens taut and suspenseful, with its heroine being hunted down like an animal, her adopted family slaughtered and scattered…. A world where girls and women are commodities to be sold and resold is frightening enough; more chilling are the girls who embrace their fate or the women who participate in the system for profit and status.” —Publishers Weekly

Article 5 is a gripping, atmospheric story of survival. Alongside a fierce depiction of oppressive government, Simmons has created a bleak portrait of an America lost. I could hardly put it down.” —Kendare Blake, author of Anna Dressed in Blood

“The realistic underbelly of Article 5 is what makes this dystopian tale a haunting read and incredibly engaging. A true dystopian force.” —The CW

“This action-packed novel is a dystopian unlike any other I have read.” —The Huffington Post on Article 5

“An adrenaline-pumping ride into a terrifying future. I have no nails left.” —Anne Greenwood Brown, author of Lies Beneath, on Breaking Point

“The action never stops.” —Booklist

“Paints a picture of a world that could easily be our future. [Simmons's] fluid writing creates an easy-to-read story that opens the eyes of readers to what the loss of civil liberties could entail. This book is a must have for all young adult collections.” —VOYA

VOYA, February 2015 (Vol. 37, No. 6) - Erin Segreto
Aya is living in a world where females are not safe. Hunted and sold to the highest bidder for breeding rights, women are subjected to life-threatening “beauty treatments,” brutal beatings, and worse. Aya and the women in her family have successfully evaded capture deep in the mountains, but suddenly they are no longer safe. Fifteen-year-old Aya finds herself thrust into an unknown and dangerous city awaiting her fate until Kiran, a quiet and mysterious boy, arrives to help her escape. Seemingly mute, Aya is not sure she can trust him, or any man for that matter. Just when she thinks they have devised the perfect plan for her freedom, Aya finds herself the property of a very powerful man with a very frightening agenda. In this fresh take on dystopian fantasy, Simmons paints a dark and believable future in which modern conveniences are foregone in favor of “the old ways” and women are the property of men, to be bought and sold until they are no longer useful. Readers will be completely plunged into this dark tale but are not left without hope. The message of love conquering all is made abundantly clear with each harrowing trial and escape. Readers will find themselves cheering on Aya and Kiran as they fight to survive in a world that has lost its humanity. This story is perfect for dystopian and fantasy fans and will be well at home in young adult collections. Reviewer: Erin Segreto; Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
12/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—In a not-too-distant future, void of the belief in prayer and God, prayer is outlawed. Each public auction of available young girls raised for breeding purposes begins with a moment of silence to give thanks to the rich men who seek out subjects to purchase. Not only are women denied basic human rights in this caste society, but no one is given the opportunity to rise out of their assigned station. Lower caste men are neurologically altered to serve as either mindless, fashion-conscious baby-sitters for the chatteled young girls or emotionless security guards to keep the girls in line. Sixteen-year-old Aya, an educated renegade raised to think independently, is captured for sport by a rich young magnate and turned over to the capital city of Glasscaster for auction to the highest bidder. Aya is valuable because she has lived her life free, with natural foods, unlike the chemical substitutes given to the young girls raised within the city walls. This means that Aya has a higher chance of giving birth to a male child. Despite her attempts to sabotage her auctions, Aya finds herself not only sold, but also transferred to the highest household in town, Mayor Rykor's home. The extensive security system in the home makes it hard for Aya to find a means of escape, and much to her surprise, she discovers that it's not the mayor who has purchased her; it's his nine year old son. There's a much of Katniss Everdeen in Aya—a familiar strength and determination. Aya is an independent thinker, strong and self-reliant. Despite some slow pacing in the middle, fans of dystopian and postapocalyptic YA fiction will thoroughly enjoy this read.—Sabrina Carnesi, Crittenden Middle School, Newport News, VA
Kirkus Reviews
2014-11-04
A teenage girl raised free in the wild struggles to escape the fate of city girls—being auctioned for breeding.Aya's captured during a brutal attack and brought to the city, where she's placed in a holding facility for unpurchased virgins. City girls, raised on "meal supplement pills," aren't as fertile as wild girls, so Aya's a hot commodity, making it imperative that she sabotage her chances of purchase. Acting out to avoid going to auction, she is punished with solitary confinement. In solitary, she meets a Driver (odd, mute mountain people who handle horses and are viewed as a lower life form) and forms a strange friendship with him. After failed escape attempts result in stricter surveillance by the biologically enhanced Watchers, quick-thinking Aya hatches a last-minute (hilarious) plan during the auction—and it might have worked if the mayor's son hadn't also found it funny. Aya has just moments to be rescued by the Driver from life as property. A forced gynecological-exam scene that's horrifying but not explicit is the most graphic sexual content, enhancing the terror of the culture's implied, off-page rapes. The culture and world are vaguely drawn, suffering from dropped plotlines, convoluted rules and poorly defined settings. The ending neither screams sequel nor especially satisfies. The ideas—extreme control of women and their sexuality—are more successful than the story's execution. (Science fiction. 14 & up)
Children's Literature - Magi Evans
Sixteen-year-old Aya lives in a world where women are property, bought and sold at auction to become slaves, prostitutes, or baby breeders. Some lucky ones end up in luxury, as “forever wives,” but most are bred and sold until they are used up. Aya has avoided this trap, having lived in the mountains in freedom. That is, until she is caught by trackers and taken to the big city, where she is placed in a facility that prepares girls for auction. Determined to escape and be reunited with her young cousins, Aya sabotages her chances to be sold, ending up in solitary. There she is both repelled and fascinated by Kiran, a mute young man who is a Driver, a member of the lower classes who work with horses and are allowed to come and go fairly freely. With the aid of Kiran and Brax, a wolf pup Aya has adopted, Aya escapes the city, but a last minute desperate act endangers everyone involved, and the happy ending she hopes for eludes her. Trackers continue to search for her, and surprises await in her beloved mountains; even Kiran may not be the man she thought him to be. But Aya is strong, determined, and resilient, and she continues to strive for a reunion with her family. Aya’s story of faith, compassion, and determination will resonate with teen readers, and could serve as a springboard for discussion of how women are treated in various societies today. Reviewer: Magi Evans; Ages 14 up.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780765336613
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
02/10/2015
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
479,228
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 3.90(d)
Lexile:
HL720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Glass Arrow


By Kristen Simmons

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2015 Kristen Simmons
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-2878-0



CHAPTER 1

Run.

My breath is sharp as a dagger, stabbing through my throat. It's all I hear. Whoosh. Whoosh. In and out.

They're here. The Trackers. They've followed Bian from the lowland village where he lives. The fool led them right to us.

The forest I know as well as the lines on my palms is dense and shrouded from the midmorning light. I keep to the shadows, skirting around the bright open patches where the sunlight streams to the forest floor. My calloused feet fly over the damp leaves and gray pebbles, keeping me stealthy as a fox.

I run a practiced pattern, just like my ma taught me as a child. A zigzag through the brush and trees. I never run in a line; their horses will catch up too quickly on the straightaway, and they're not all I have to worry about. I know the Tracker hounds have picked up my scent too, but they're scroungers, weakened by hunger, and not as nimble as me in these woods. I'm banking on their starving stomachs leading them directly to the bait meat in my hunting snares.

My thoughts jolt to the traps. There are six placed strategically around our camp. I know they're good because I set them myself, and checked them only this morning.

In my mind I see a Tracker's heavy black boots clamber over the loose branches, see him fall ten feet down into a muddy hole. Another might trip the spring of the rabbit cage so its razor-sharp teeth bite down through his leather shoe.

Trackers are cunning. But not as cunning as me.

I swing around a stout pine, locking my body in place behind it so that I'm absolutely still. The coarse bark imprints onto the naked skin of my shoulders but I hold my position. That's when I hear it. The thunder of hoofbeats.

A shot pierces the air. Gunfire. Someone yells—a man's voice, strained, hurting. It's either one of them or Bian. He's the only man old enough to make a noise so deep. Tam's not yet seven, and if he were caught, his cry would be shrill. Childlike.

Tam. I must find Tam and Nina, the twins. They count on me when they're scared. Though when I conjure them in my mind—Tam's black hair and button nose, Nina's ever-watchful eyes—I am the one who's scared.

I've prepared them, I tell myself. I've prepared them like my ma prepared me. They know the hiding place—the abandoned wolf's den in the south woods. An image of it breaks through from my memory: the narrow, shale entrance and damp inner chamber, smelling of mold. The rocky floor lined with the brittle bones of squirrels whose souls have long since passed to Mother Hawk. At first it looks to be a trap in itself, but if you squeeze past the tapering stone walls, the rock gives way to soil, and the twisting roots of an old pine create a ladder to climb upward into sunlit freedom.

This has been our hiding place for my entire life. The twins know this. I've drilled them on this plan since my ma died four years ago, when I was eleven. Since they were toddling, crying in that cave for fear of the dark, and I had to carry them the entire way, singing their favorite lullabies, saying, you're so brave, you're so brave. Lifting them out myself, because they weren't yet strong enough to climb.

I made them practice hiding even when Salma told me not to—that I shouldn't "frighten them." Stupid—readiness was how we'd survived two raids from the Trackers in our youth. But though Salma is two years older, she acts like a baby. She hates the mountains, and hates my ma, even in death, for stealing her away here, for giving her freedom. And why she hates that, I'll never know.

Salma. I've lost sight of my cousin, and Metea, Bian, Tam and Nina's mother. They're my only family, the only ones who live with me in hiding.

Another shot. My hearing sharpens, hones in on the sound, and I alter my course. I have to see if it's Bian that's in trouble. In his panic I'm sure he's run for the wolf's den. If the twins are there, if Salma and Metea are there, he'll give them all away.

I'm running westward now, aware of the heat and the moisture coating my skin. The trees spread, and I enter the clearing where the moss beneath my feet grows plush and soft as fur. Most days I love it here, but today this area is treacherous. There are few places to hide, and at any given moment I am exposed on all sides.

The hoofbeats have faded behind me, and the stillness makes me leery. Only a fool would think I'd lost them. No, they're stalling, waiting to box me in.

I am less than a mile from our camp. For a flash, I debate running back to get a weapon. Any weapon—a bow, a knife, a steel pan. Anything that can be useful to defend myself, but I don't have time. My usual obsidian blade is now in Tam's tiny hands. I pray he won't have to use it.

The sound of labored breathing, of something wounded, cuts through the trees. I skid to a halt, swinging myself onto a low branch so that I can get a better view of the surrounding area. Just north, thirty paces or so, I make out a figure crumpled over the ground.

Bian.

His long, dark hair is matted with mud and leaves. His tunic—the one he trades his T-shirt for when he comes to visit us in the mountains—is twisted around his body and stained with an ink darker than berry juice. From the corner of his chest a spear nearly as tall as me juts out at an angle like a sapling after a windstorm. Weakly, he reaches for it with his opposite hand. Then his arm drops and he grows still. Too still.

I will not approach him. I cannot. My heart twists for the boy I have called brother all my life.

Silence. Even the birds are voiceless. Even the stream has stopped.

I must get closer. If he's alive, I can help him.

I climb down, one painstaking step at a time, crouching low to sneak towards him. As I close in, I feel my blood grow slow and thick.

Bian is dead.

The spear is planted straight through to the earth. There is a wound in his leg where a bullet has pierced his jeans, and another in his chest. Dark blossoms of red are still seeping out across the sweat-dampened fabric. His mouth and his eyes are wide open in shock.

Still ten paces away and sheltered on one side by the thick, tri-split leaves of a wormwood bush, I fall to my knees. I don't understand why they've done this—why he's been shot and speared. Trackers carry guns, and for their grand prize, use nets. They don't use the antique weapons of the upper class.

The answer pops into my mind as soon as I ask the question. These Trackers are not bounty hunters out on a slave-catching mission. These Trackers are hired thugs, paid for their services by some rich Magnate businessman looking for hunting fun. A bit of adventure.

It sickens me but I can picture it: The first shot, to Bian's leg, was meant to slow him down, to fix the game. He'd stumbled, made an easy target for the men pursuing him. The Magnate managed to spear him in the chest, but the wound had not been fatal. So the Tracker had shot him again.

Poor Bian. Poor stupid Bian. Who never heeded his mother's desperate pleas that he cover his tracks when paying us a visit. I hate him for bringing this upon us. I hate him more for dying.

Enough time has been wasted. There is nothing I can do here.

Find the twins. Find Salma and Metea, I order myself. But though the grief has dried, my feet are clumsier than before.

The woods are unnaturally silent. I doubt the Trackers have taken the Magnate home. They would have returned to collect his spear, and besides that, they haven't gotten what they've come for. The real trophy.

Me.

They'll want Salma, and Nina too, though she's still too young for auction. Metea is in real danger. She's too old to bear children—she was already forty when she had the twins. If she's caught, they'll kill her, just like they killed her son, Bian.

But they'll bring the girls—Salma, Nina, and me—to the city. My ma's stories flash through my mind, blending with Bian's, brought back from the civilized world. The Trackers will sell us to a farm, where we'll be groomed and fattened, and sold at auction to any Magnate who can pay the price.

To be free means to be hunted, and there aren't many of us left.

I begin to follow one of my hidden hunting trails up a steep embankment towards the cave. I don't know how long we've been under attack; the sun is high now, it must be almost midday. Surely the Magnate will be tiring, slowing atop the show pony that has replaced his electric car as a sign of status. I'm tiring too. My muscles have grown tight, my tongue thick, and there's less sweat pouring down my face and between my breasts than before.

"Aya!" Metea's faint cry steals my focus.

I cut sharply left, scaling a large boulder that leaves me momentarily exposed to the sunlight and any roaming eyes. Without delay, I hop down into a small clearing where I see Metea lying on her stomach.

Now I don't think about consequences. I don't care if they see me. Metea has been a mother to me since my ma died. It scares me to the core that she is down; she's fit and able to run. She should be heading for the cave.

"Go, Aya!" she cries, twisting her face up to meet my gaze. "Salma has taken the twins!"

I look at Metea and see Tam's small nose and Nina's dark eyes. Bian's broad shoulders. Her hair has become more salt than pepper these days, and her eyes and mouth bear the marks of too much smiling. But now her face is all twisted up with a pain that makes my whole body hurt.

"Come on, get up!" I say, scanning the trees for movement.

"I can't. Go, child! The Trackers, they ..." She cries out, and the sound is like a pestle grinding my heart into the mortar. I lock my jaw.

Metea had gone into hiding when she learned she was pregnant with the twins. My ma helped her through the birthing. She didn't cry out once.

"I'm not leaving you!" I say.

I try to force her over onto her back. A groan comes from deep in her throat, and draws a whimper to my lips. Now I'm certain the Trackers have heard us.

I succeed in turning her but can't hide the gasp, or stop the sick that fills my mouth. There are deep lines scratched into her shins and thighs, and a serpentine gash across her belly, sliced straight through the yellow dress Bian brought her for her birthday. The red blood seems darker next to that bright fabric. When I look closer, I can see the white and purple flesh within the wounds that I recognize from cleaning a kill.

My throat is knotting up. I can heal most cuts, but nothing so deep. Metea will need a hospital. She will need to go into Bian's village for treatment. I press down on her stomach to stanch the bleeding and to my revulsion, my hands slide away from the slippery surface of her skin.

Metea grasps both of my arms.

"The Trackers have wires!" she sputters, and her eyes are now so wide I can see the perfect white rings around her brown irises.

"Wires," I repeat. Long, metal, snakelike whips that stun and slice their prey. This can't be right. Only Watchers, the city police, carry wires. Trackers belong to the Virulent caste, the bottom-feeders of the city. They are thieves and murderers. Thugs. They have guns, not the complex weaponry of the Watchers.

Then I remember the spear protruding from Bian's chest, and I remember my conclusion that the rich Magnate has hired these thugs for sport and entertainment. Maybe he's outfitted them with wires. If that's true, who knows what else they got.

"Is Bian with Salma?" Metea asks me. There is a slur in her words, as though she's drunk on shine, and my fear catapults to a new level. I don't have to answer her. She sees the truth flicker across my face. Her eyes slip shut momentarily, and I shake her.

"You know what to do," she tells me.

I must sing his soul to Mother Hawk, who will carry him to the afterlife.

"Yes," I promise. Though now my voice sounds very far away. Then, as if struck by a bolt of lightning, she rouses, and sits straight up.

"Run, Aya! I feel them! They're coming!"

I know a moment later what she means. The horses' hooves are striking the ground, vibrating the gravel beneath my knees. I look to the brush beside us and quickly consider dragging Metea into it, but the horses are too close. If I'm going to save myself I don't have time.

"Get up!" I am crying now. The salty tears blend with my sweat and burn my eyes.

"Leave me."

"No!" Even as I say it I'm rising, hooking my arms beneath hers, pulling her back against my chest. But she's dead weight and I collapse. She rolls limply to one side. I kiss her cheek, and hope she knows that I love her. I will sing Bian's soul to the next life. I will sing her soul there too, because she surely is doomed to his same fate.

"Run," she says one last time, and I release her.

I sprint due north, the opposite direction from the cave where I hope Salma has hidden the twins. I run as hard and as fast as I can, fueled by fear and hatred. My feet barely graze the ground for long enough to propel me forward, but still I can feel the earth tremble beneath them. The Trackers are coming closer. The Magnate is right on my heels.

I dodge in my zigzag pattern. I spin around the pine trees and barely feel the gray bark as it nicks my arms and legs. My hide pants rip near the knee when I cut too close to a sharp rock, and I know that it's taken a hunk of my skin, too. No time to check the damage, no time for pain. I hurdle over a streambed and continue to run.

A break in the noise behind me, and I make the mistake that will cost me my freedom.

I look back.

They are close. So much closer than I thought. Two horses have jumped the creek. They are back on the bank now, twenty paces behind me. I catch a glimpse of the tattered clothes of the Trackers, and their lanky, rented geldings, frothing at the bit. The faces of the Virulent are ashy, scarred, and starved. Not just for food, but for income. They see me as a paycheck. I've got a credit sign tattooed across my back.

I run again, forcing my cramping muscles to push harder. Suddenly, a crack pierces the air, and something metal—first cold, then shockingly hot—winds around my right calf. I cannot hold back the scream this time as I crash to the ground.

The wire contracts, cutting through the skin and into the flesh and muscle of my leg. The heat turns electric, and soon it is shocking me, sending volts of lightning up through my hips, vibrating my insides. My whole body begins to thrash wildly, and I'm powerless to hold still. The pressure squeezes my lungs and I can't swallow. I start to pant; it is all I can do to get enough air.

A net shoots out over me. I can see it even through my quaking vision. My seizing arms become instantly tangled.

"Release the wire! Release it!" orders a strident male voice.

A second later, the wire retracts its hold, and I gasp. The blood from my leg pools over the skin and soaks the dirt below. But I know I have no time to rest. I must push forward. To avoid the meat market, to keep my family safe, I must get away.

I begin to crawl, one elbow digging into the dirt, then the next. Fingers clawing into the mossy ground, dragging my useless leg. But my body is a corpse, and I cannot revive it.

Mother Hawk, I pray, please give me wings.

But my prayers are too late.

My voice is only a trembling whisper, but I sing. For Bian and for Metea. I sing as I push onward, the tears streaming from my eyes. I must try to set their souls free while I can.

Out of the corner of my eye I see the boney fetlocks of a chestnut horse. The smooth cartilage of his hooves is cracked. This must be a rental—the animal hasn't even been shod. An instant later, black boots land on the ground beside my face. Tracker boots. I can hear the bay of the hounds now. The stupid mutts have found me last, even after the horses and the humans.

I keep trying to crawl away. My shirt is soaked by sweat and blood, some mine, some Metea's. It drips on the ground. I bare my teeth, and swallow back the harsh copper liquid that is oozing into my mouth from a bite on the inside of my cheek. I am yelling, struggling against my failing body, summoning the strength to escape.

"Exciting, isn't it boys?" I hear a man say. The same one who ordered the release of the wire.

He kneels on the ground and I notice he's wearing fine linen pants and a collared shirt with a tie. If only I had the power to choke him with it. At least that would be vengeance for one death today. His face is smooth and creaseless, but there's no fancy surgery to de-age his eyes. He's at least fifty.

He's wearing a symbol on his breast pocket. A red bird in flight. A cardinal. Bian has told me this is the symbol for the city of Glasscaster, the capitol. This must be where he plans on taking me.

He's ripping the net away, and for a moment I think he's freeing me, he's letting me go. But this is ridiculous. I'm who he wants.

Then, as though I'm an animal, he weaves his uncalloused, unblistered fingers into my black, spiraled hair, and jerks my head back so hard that I arch halfway off the ground. I hiss at the burn jolting across my scalp. He points to one of the Trackers, who's holding a small black box. Thinking this is a gun, I close my eyes and brace for the shot that will end my life. But no shot comes.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons. Copyright © 2015 Kristen Simmons. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author


Kristen Simmons has a master's degree in social work and is an advocate for mental health. She lives with her husband, Jason, and their precious greyhound Rudy in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her most popular books include the Article 5 trilogy, The Glass Arrow, and Metaltown.

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The Glass Arrow 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. From start to finish, it had me totally captavated. I'll even admit to shedding a few tears... Aya and Kiran were wonderful characters, along with their supporting cast. If you're in the mood for a fast-paced, high-stakes, dystopian adventure with a sweet romance, give this one a try.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So bad I can't finish it. Aya is angry and impulsive. Two things which should have gotten her killed or captured long before this. All just too farfetched and characters too irritating to finish. I'm about 80 pages to the end and I just don't care.
toniFMAMTC More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. I let it sit around awhile before starting it, but after started, I wondered why I had waited so long. There were a couple of details within the plot that didn’t quite make sense to me. Girl babies were often frowned upon or killed, but the need of girls were in such high demand that they went great lengths to kidnap and buy or sale them. Also, the girls at the auction house had to be virgins or they were disfigured and thrown out as the lowest in society, but many were bought used and recycled (for lack of a better word) back through the house. So some of these dystopian world rules didn’t exactly connect, but the story was so interesting that I was able to overlook these irregularities. From the beginning, the story had me hooked. I couldn’t wait to see what Aya was going to do next in each situation. Also, it was fascinating discovering the classes and types of people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This reminded me of The Handmaid's Tale for young adults. I would love to see a sequel!
anythingnovel More than 1 year ago
This was a pretty fast paced novel that had several poignant events throughout the plot. It was interesting to see the different reactions to their circumstances that girls had. This often revolved around whether the girls had grown up in this society or if they had fallen in love with someone prior to entering the prison. I also appreciated the attention given to the religions that different groups of people followed and I thought it helped broaden the scope of the novel beyond the primary characters. The only critique I had was that I wish it had been made more clear how the society in this book came about. It seemed as if the majority of the male population just decided to become super jerks at some point and everyone kind of went along with things.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a great book. Great story, but the conclusion needs a little more to it. It felt like the author skimmed over the climax and hastenly brought the story to an end. At least when compared to the rest of the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! I wanted to read this one because I saw that a lot of other people were reading it or had read it and also it has a pretty cover. I didn't even know what it was about until it was in my hands and I read the summary. I'm so glad I got my hands on it! It was my first Kristen Simmons book, but definitely not my last! I should be receiving Article 5 in the mail soon and I am VERY excited now. The characters in this story are all so wonderful! The main character, Aya, is a 16-year-old girl who lives in the mountains with her family until one day she is captured by Trackers and brought into the city to be auctioned off. She is strong, brave, and determined as hell to get out of there and go back to her family to make sure they're safe and they never end up where she did. Kiran is the silent Driver who befriends Aya while she is serving her month long solitary confinement stint outside near his barn. He strikes me as selfless and adorable. He risks everything to help her escape and return to her family. Daphne is Aya's half friend from the Garden who winds up stuck with Aya and Kiran when they escape. She is kind of really rude and stuck up at first, but she eventually gets over it and becomes a much more pleasant character. Brax is the wolf the Aya raises from a pup and faithfully comes to snuggle her every night when she's stuck outside in solitary. He's her protector and friend and he's got a big personality! Romance is not the main focus in this book. There's a cute little romance brewing in this story, but the main love story in this book is about Aya's fierce love for her family. She would risk everything for them just to make sure they're safe. They are the reason she tries EVERYTHING in the book to escape the Garden. I liked that the main focus of this book isn't to save the whole world and free everyone. The only goal that Aya has in this book is to save herself so she can save her family. It's a more realistic goal. I liked that. This story seems to me to be an exaggeration of what is kind of happening in our world today. Let's see... what didn't I like about this book? Salma. I didn’t like her. Since the goal was only for Aya to escape and keep her family safe, the ending is very satisfying. It's hopeful and kind of open like anything could happen now. I like that. I’d give this book 5 stars. I really enjoyed it. I would highly recommend this one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name- Starleaf <p> Gender- Female <p> Age- 17 moons <p> Appearance- A silvery white with leaf green eyes and gray flecks <p> Other- No
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AoifeMB More than 1 year ago
So, at first I thought this book at first was going to be more like men actually dominating women, like kind of messed up right?  But I really enjoyed how this book turned out. I loved the main characters development through the whole story, and her relationships not only with outsiders, and people from the garden, but from her own family as well.  I don't think I've ever read books from this author, but if you're looking for a good dystopian(I think that's how you spell it?)  society that's being run by messed up people, and slavery and that kind of stuff, this is your kind of book. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
StephWard More than 1 year ago
'The Glass Arrow' is a thrilling young adult dystopian novel that follows our main character, Aya, as she goes through her worst nightmare - being caught and sold at auction to the highest male bidder. In this terrible world, young women are in high demand because of their increased chances of having a healthy baby boy. Aya has grown up with her mother, cousin, and another small family in the thick woods by the mountains. They have all learned how to hide well in case Trackers come - and they're happy with their simple life in the forest, mainly because they're free. Their worst fears come true when a hunting party finds their camp in the woods, with at least two dying and Aya being captured and taken away. She now finds herself in the Garden - a prison-like complex where the young girls live while waiting to be sold at the auctions. Now that Aya has been captured, she has to change her tactics of survival in order to stay away from the auctions as long as possible. She's ready to do whatever it takes to escape back into the wild - even if it means getting killed in the process. Will Aya be able to escape the Garden? Will she end up being sold at auction for breeding rights? How will she survive in this horrible new situation? Just by reading the description of the book and seeing who wrote it; I knew right away that I had to read it. I've read several other books by the author and loved each one, which gaave this novel some high expectations and hopes to live up to before I even opened it. Like I knew it would, this story didn't disappoint in the least. It actually went above and beyond anything I had hoped for. The author does such a phenomenal job detailing each aspect of the story - from the characters and setting to Aya's world and the dialogue - that when they came together created nothing short of amazing. Aya is an incredibly strong female lead for the book and I really loved her character. She's so strong - mentally, emotionally, physically - yet she's also kind, compassionate, devoted and loving to her family, and determined to do whatever it takes to survive. The book is told from Aya's point of view, which is my favorite type. I love the way that the reader gets to know the character on a very personal level throughout the book. We get to know their thoughts, hopes, dreams, fears, and general thoughts. Getting to experience the story through the eyes of the main character is an unique experience and the reader ends up truly connecting with the person and can identify with them and watch them grow up close. The world that Aya lives in is absolutely horrifying - especially for younger women. The very thought of teenage girls being taken from their homes (or worse, given away by their family) in order to be sold like livestock at an auction is disgusting and maddening on so many levels. I can't imagine having to live in a world where I either grew up preparing for the auctions or running and hiding to avoid them - and ultimately being sold to the highest bidder mainly for breeding rights. The system of the women is detailed in the book, like the First Rounds - the girls who are virgins and being sold at their first auction - and all the other levels until their fate - which is usually being kicked out onto the streets and dying of the plague or starvation. The girls aren't just bought for breeding rights though - if they can't produce healthy boy babies or are past their &quot;prime,&quot; their owners can either put them up for auction again or keep them for whatever they want - pleasure, slave work, pretty much anything you can think of. The treatment of these women - every single angle and part of it - enraged me and made me sick. I know that's the entire point of the book, but still. I feel the same as Aya - I would much rather die than be sold as a man's property like that. There are other detailed parts of the world - like the condition of the cities, the castes of people, the problems people faced in the system, etc. - that were interesting and really helped to capture the feeling and look of this place. I don't do spoilers in my reviews, so I can't really discuss the plot very much. I can say that it was very well written with a fast pace that kept me eagerly reading as fast as I could to see what was going to happen. I was so wrapped up in the story that I ended up reading it in one sitting of about four hours. The author's writing style is nothing short of mesmerizing - I was honestly hooked from the first couple of sentences and I didn't come up for air at all until I had completely finished it all. The use of incredibly detailed descriptions and vivid imagery brought the story and all of its aspects to life, and I could easily shut my eyes and slip into the book beside Aya. I honestly can't praise the author's writing enough - it seems that every new book I read of hers only gets better, which I didn't think could even be possible. Overall, this was a magnificent and enchanting dystopian novel that makes the reader sit back and really think about some issues that are happening today or could happen tomorrow. I can't recommend this novel high enough - especially to those who are fans of the genre as well as readers who like fantasy, science fiction, action, and adventures. Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
BookLoversLife1 More than 1 year ago
This book was high on my wishlist since I first knew the author had a new book coming out. I loved her other series and this one sounded epic! Well I loved it!!! I love strong female heroines and Aya is one of the strongest! This girl never gives up. Aya is living in hiding along with a handful of others. Out hunting one day, she runs into a group of Businessmen out on their own hunting expedition, these men aren't hunting game though, they hunt women! Aya struggles but she is taken captive and is taken to the one place she feared. Will she escape and return to her family? Aya was such a feisty and brave girl and I loved her character. She could of given up so many times but she knew that the twins were relying on her!  In the Garden when Aya is in trouble (yet again) she is taken to solitary. While there she sees a Driver across the river. At first the Driver keeps his distance but when Aya is struck by the guard, he comes to her. They strike up a hesitant friendship. Everyone knows that Drivers cant speak so Aya fells like she can tell him anything. Since he can't tell her his name, she names him Kiran. I really liked Kiran. He was a rock for Aya and did all he could to try to help her. I loved seeing their friendship grow and blossom too.  Then we have Brax! He was just full of awesomesauce. He is a wolf that Aya befriended from her many many visits to solitary. He comes and visits her and she feeds him. He is a big help to her during her loney nights. The best thing for me was the world building. It was amazing!! Men rule and women are nobodies. They are sold at auction to the highest bidders and have to do EVERYTHING they are told by their masters. The ones who aren't sold are often sold to be prostitutes. Aya has missed the last few auctions due to her own actions, she gets in fights so that her face is marked. This last auction though, since she was in solitary, she is perfect for. She tries her best to ruin it but ends up being sold to the Mayors son. She knows that once she is in that house, there's no way she will leave, it's too highly protected! How can she escape?? Anyway, The Glass Arrow was amazing. There is so much to learn and love about it and I loved everything, from it's intriguing and emotional story to it's captivating characters. It's stunningly written and in a way I'm sad that it's a standalone because these characters have captured my heart! Everything about this book was sheer perfection and I urge everyone to read it! 
Goldenfurproductions More than 1 year ago
MY THOUGHTS This book is about Aya, who has been living in the wilds her whole life with the rest of her family. So far, they have been able to evade capture, but one day their luck runs out and Aya is taken. In this society, women are property that are sold to the highest bidder. The owners can even throw away their new 'properties' once they get enough use out of them, get tired of them. etc. Basically, women cannot have a life in this society and are solely used to make more males and 'entertain' the males. In fact, in this society that can't possibly have too many females, so many female babies are simply just killed so that the female population won't grow. Yeah, this is a horrible society.  Anyway, Aya now has to be kept with the other girls who are waiting to be bought. Many of these girls are even excited for this prospect, as they were raised for it. Aya just wants to escape and be free again in the wild, something the other girls don't understand, but each escape attempt gets her nowhere and causes the chains to constrict her further.  Wow, that was one rambling synopsis from me... First of all, this book is definitely feminist. I have no problem with that, as I am feminist, but books like this always upset me. Why? Because of how horribly the women are treated, which is probably the point. The plot of girls being sold to men like this is not a prospect I haven't seen before, but it's still horrible to see. What's interesting about this book is that the pacing isn't exactly fast and a majority is Aya planning things, this book still has so much going on! That probably doesn't make much sense, but that's precisely how I felt in this book. As  mentioned in my own synopsis, the other girls were all giggly over the prospect of being sold. They also made fun of Aya for being from the wild and they would brag about men being interested in them (in the buying them sense). Really, this is horrible. It's horrible that they would want this life, but they grew up with knowing and planning for this, so this is the only thing they knew. Aya, on the other hand, knew true freedom and she looks at them in the same way we do, disgusted that the girls ended up like this and don't know true freedom, and that the men turned them to this. I also would like to mention that the men are the same way. All of the men are portrayed horribly, because they were raised to believe that the women are just their property. There's a little boy in this book that already has started acting like a little demon because that's just how he was told to act. Anyway, these aren't really important to the book, but I just think it says a lot. There actually aren't a whole lot of major characters in this book, throughout most of it. There are a lot of side characters, but the only main ones seem to be Aya, Brax, and Kiram. I liked Aya strength in this book. She knows freedom, as I already mentioned too much, and wants to get back to that as much as she can, She also worries about her family and wants to make sure that they are okay. She does get close to giving up, but she always tries to come up with ideas to escape as well as take advantage of any opportunity. Brax is a wolf friend that Aya makes, when the wolf was a pup. I loved their relationship, though I admit I have a soft spot for animals. Lastly, is Kiram. There relationship was very interesting because Kiram couldn't talk. It also took awhile for Aya to trust him, but Kiram obviously did care for Aya and wanted to help her (even if Aya couldn't see that for awhile). It's very interesting how Aya's too main friends couldn't talk to her... As for romance, there isn't a whole lot. Really, there aren't a whole lot of romantic opportunities in this book. Not only is Aya trying to escape, but she lives in a horrible society. It makes me very happy that the book is focused on those things, rather than any romance. Though, there is a budding romance, which is probably obvious to anyone who reads YA (we are adept and figuring out who the love interest is very quickly). IN CONCLUSION Overall, this book has a very horrible subject matter, in terms that it's very disturbing, but it was also very important. I liked this book and enjoyed reading this! Also, this book is a standalone and it tied up very nicely! I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a dark, standalone dystopian!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gray fur Age 5 moons. Green pirceings eyes. Crush darkpaw. Mate none Kits none Funny smart kind lovable Mother starleaf.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Male. Brown body with black feet. <p> Backstory(recited by Dustpelt): "I remember when i was a kit, about a moon old, my mother was running with me in her mouth. I could smell something, later I would realize it was the scent of fear mixed with foxes, and she looked afraid. She hid me behind boulders and I saw her run, about 6 tail lengths until she was ambushed by more foxes. I got to watch them eat her alive. Then they heard me mew. They saw me. As they walked closer, I tried to run away, but they were catching up. I could hear them behind me. So close. I looked behind me. They were smiling. They snapped at me. They were playing with me. I ran into sooemthing. I look up. I see a tom that smells of blood. He chases them off. He led me to his clan. Bloodclan. I stayed there and trained, until a raid on Windclan. After we returned, a she-cat named Spiritshadow followed us. She was enraged. She saw me first and I saw her. She was gorgeous. She yellled at me. She wanted to know who planned the attack. I told her it was Raven. Her sister. I defended Spiritshadow and followed her home. We spent all of our time together. We saved the clans. We became mates. We got extra lives from Starclan. We had kits. We lost those lives. Then she lost her last life. I was devestated. She was the only person that truly loved me. I became deputy. I was happy, or I thought I was. Then, cats disappeared from my clan, one-by-one. I left. I wandered around until I found this place." <p> Personality: He is happy, loving, and loves any clan he can be part of.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Runs in with sparkkit
Addicted_Readers More than 1 year ago
4 Stars Kristen Simmons has done it again in this EPIC standalone, that interweaves thrilling dystopia, heart-pounding adventure, turmoil of survival, and a fresh and truly unforgettable romance, that will touch your hearts for years to come. THE GLASS ARROW definitely delivers!!! If there's one thing I know for sure about Kristen Simmons, it's that she NEVER fails me, NEVER!!! Even though I didn't love this standalone as much as her other series, ARTICLE 5, it came pretty close!! She has this powerful way that quickly gets her readers engaged and invested into the characters and story as it unfolds. And these characters in THE GLASS ARROW had the worst of the worse happen to them, so I was able to feel connected and drawn to them and their sorrows and desperation, an route for their success. The world building is original, yet, their are a few similarities to other books I've read. But that's to be expected with any dystopian books. But Kristen Simmons was able to throw in her own unique plot, and collide them with the general dystopian setting, and sets this book on fire with her epic storytelling that never ceases to fail!! Aya was such a solid protagonist. She was hardcore and willing to risk it all just to be free, and to free the ones she loved. Growing up in the mountains, trying to evade capture had turned Aya into a &quot;Wild&quot; girl, willing to get down and dirty and do the things that many wouldn't. She had all the character traits that I love in my female leads. She had this wild demeanor, yet, she knew when to play that card and when to lay low and wait for the perfect time to strike. She was such a strong character to have to endure the many things she had, and in this relatively quick standalone novel, she achieved much. Kiran was another great character that I enjoyed. He was a little harder to figure out though. He was a driver, and considered mute. So in the beginning when Aye and Kiran would secretly meet, Kiran would express himself with actions. But what I loved about their connection was that they were able to communicate without having to speak any words. And it was beautiful, and truly heartwarming to watch this beauty unfold in such a harsh world. And I think it truly made the romance build up and slowly blossom to what it became. But what I really loved about this book was that the characters were determined to survive, but not determined to save the world. In most dystopians you have the main characters fighting to get out of their bad situation, then fighting to fix the core of the problem. But not in this novel, the characters were only out to save themselves and the ones they loved and say the hell with the rest of world and all it's screwed up ways. And I LOVED THAT!!! It was a breath of fresh air to have a dystopian novel so different from the rest, and VERY rare. But unsurprisingly, Kristen Simmons did it just like I knew she would! THE PLOT Aya knows how to survive, she's been doing it since she was born. Hiding within the mountains, blending into the tress and becoming one with the earth, and only interacting with the ones she loves, trying to keep her people alive and remain safe, and free.... Aya has been her groups best chance of survival since her mother passed away and she was left to take over. She's strong, skilled, determined, and as loyal as they come. But most importantly, she'd rather be caught and claimed then see someone she loves go in her place. So she is the groups only chance of survival.... But then Aya's luck finally runs out when her group is torn apart by a bunch of business men looking for easy prey out in the mountains. She's captured and forced to abandon her family to the mercy of the predators who roam the mountains searching for their next breeder. Aya's world has been turned upside down, and the real fight for survival has just begun... Aya is taken to the Garden&mdash;a Rehabilitation Center of sorts for girls to be groomed and prepped to be sold to a future buyer, for him to do as he pleases, for girls are merely property for the owner to do as they see fit. But Aya's not your normal Garden girl, she's been raised wild in the mountains and has a few tricks up her sleeve. She's determined to make sure she never scums to that horrible fate, but if she does, she's ready to go down fighting. But then Aya's plans take a wild turn when she meets Kiran, a very strange but highly interesting mute driver that is determined to help her escape. At first she doesn't know what to make of him as no one in or around the Garden as ever seemed like they wanted to help her, except him. But their is something about his persistence, and caring demeanor that makes her feel she can trust him. But before they can put their plan into action Aya's is sold to her buyer and forced to finally leave the Garden. Alone and out of options, Aya is done playing games, she's ready to get down and dirty and get herself free of the manic that has now claimed her... Overall, THE GLASS ARROW was a great dystopian that brought fresh air and a touch of originality to the dystopia genre. Kristen Simmons did not fail and still remains one of my favorite authors, and I'm so excited to see what else she comes up with next! NOTE: I received a physical ARC from Tor Teen for reviewing purposes! All opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced in any way!
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons Publisher: Tor Teen Publication Date: February 10, 2015 Rating: 5 stars Source: ARC sent by the publisher Summary (from Goodreads): The Handmaid&rsquo;s Tale meets Blood Red Road in Glass Arrow, the story of Aya, who lives with a small group of women on the run from the men who hunt them, men who want to auction off breeding rights to the highest bidder. In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya&rsquo;s luck runs out and she&rsquo;s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning. What I Liked: I never read The Handmaid's Tale (one of my friends LOVE it though), nor did I ever make it to the end of Blood Red Road (I really tried...), so the comparison in the synopsis is wasted on me. But back in mid-2013, when I saw that Kristen Simmons was writing a new book, I added it without question. It worked out for me in the end, because my last read of 2014 just so happens to be a rare five-star read, and a favorite! Aya has been captured from her home in the &quot;wild&quot;. She will be bought by someone in order to be bred, to have a healthy son. Females who can produce healthy children - specifically, males - are scarce. With the help of a Driver, she will attempt to escape her buyer, and find her family before they are captured and sold like she was. I LOVE THIS BOOK. I love Aya. I love Kiran. I love the story. I love the world-building. I love the romance. I love the ending. I love the cover. I loveeee this book. Just about everything is wonderful. I'm a big believer in &quot;nothing is perfect&quot; and &quot;every book has its flaws&quot; but at the moment, I'm basking in the &quot;this book was so awesome&quot; glow. Aya grew up in the woods. She didn't live in the city, where people get their meals via a meal pill. This is why her womb is so valuable - she has a more &quot;natural&quot; body, and is more fertile. She is captured by businessmen, and taken to the Garden, where she and other girls are auctioned to the highest bidder. Aya does everything to avoid the auctions - she injures herself and gets into fights, to avoid the auctions. In her most recent stunt, she lands herself in solitary, where she makes the acquaintance of a mute Driver (whom she names Kiran). Kiran isn't in solitary - he's a Driver, and he's not confined. But Aya talks to him (though he can't talk back). When Aya is finally auctioned, she is stunned because she has been sold. She has to leave behind a dirty wolf (whom she named Brax)... and Kiran (whom she nicknamed for the color of his eyes). But as it would turn out, Kiran is neither mute nor stupid. He is an integral part of this book. Aya is such an interesting protagonist. She is naturally more spirited and &quot;wild&quot; than the other girls in the city, but for a reason - she is from the outside. She never stops trying to escape, to fight back, to think of how to overcome the obstacles in front of her. Aya is so SMART. Clever, inquisitive, determined, brave. I like her a lot.  Kiran is equally as smart, clever, inquisitive, determined, brave, but in his own way. He is very quiet (he has to play mute, like the rest of the Drivers), but he is extremely observant and intelligent. Honestly, if the pair of them weren't as smart as they were, neither of them would have made it out of certain sticky situations alive. Anyway. I'm a huge fan of Kiran. He and Aya are so stubborn and brave, perfect for each other. But not just romantic interests - they are wonderful protagonists, There are several parts to this story. Aya gets captured (and eventually meets Kiran); Aya gets sold and leaves the Garden; Kiran finds Aya and helps her escape; Aya and Kiran try to find Aya's family. I loved each part of the book, but my favorite would be when Aya finally escapes captivity - all of the captivity, when she leaves the city. The book isn't over yet, by any means, but I breathed easier when they left the city. I had a hard time coming up with the primary genre for this book. It seems like it could be set in a futuristic city, because there are guns and technology that made me think of a futuristic place. The meal pill seemed really advanced. But it had a heavy fantasy feel to it - not epic fantasy, but fantasy nonetheless. Either way, I LOVE the world that Simmons has created. She masterfully created the setting, both in the wild and in the city. The romance - oh, how I loved the romance. No love triangle, no insta-love. It amazed me how easily I fell for Aya and Kiran as a couple, in the beginning, with Kiran being mute, and the two of them barely interacting. Yet, they interacted so much in the beginning, and Aya felt his &quot;loss&quot; when she was sold. Then Kiran helps her escape, and they leave the city, and it's not like they immediately confess feelings for each other and that's that. NO. Aya and Kiran go through a lot before they finally let their guards down and let each other in. Love! One thing that Simmons did that I actually REALLY liked was that she didn't try and have her characters &quot;save the world&quot;. I can't say too much (not trying to spoil things), but this story isn't about Aya and Kiran taking down the city, the system, the government, etc. This story is about a girl who was captured and sold, who got out and wanted to save her family. It's a standalone, and it's a fabulous standalone. Simmons didn't try to overdo things. That being said, I LOVED the ending. The last scene, the very end, is so beautiful. At first I thought it was unfulfilled, but then I realized that it was PERFECT. Anything more wouldn't have have made sense, given what we know about Aya, and Kiran. Simmons pulled everything together in the last scene. I loved it! What I Did Not Like: I can't think of anything concrete. I'm sure there's something, but at the moment, meh! Would I Recommend It: YES! Totally recommended, now go read! I'm actually going to reread my favorite parts right now (there are a lot of them).  Rating: 5 stars. A rare five stars from me - but so well-deserved! I had a good feeling about this book, and I'm glad that feeling did not let me down! Glad Kristen Simmons did not let me down (as I knew she wouldn't)!