Review: ARCLIGHT by Josin L. McQuein

Review: ARCLIGHT by Josin L. McQuein
Arclight #1

Written by: Josin L. McQuein
Published by: Greenwillow Books
Release date: April 23rd 2013
Genres: Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Source: Giveaway
Format: select
Buy: B&N, Amazon
Add on: Goodreads

No one crosses the wall of light... except for one girl who doesn’t remember who she is, where she came from, or how she survived. A harrowing, powerful debut thriller about finding yourself and protecting your future—no matter how short and uncertain it may be.

The Arclight is the last defense. The Fade can’t get in. Outside the Arclight’s border of high-powered beams is the Dark. And between the Light and the Dark is the Grey, a narrow, barren no-man’s-land. That’s where the rescue team finds Marina, a lone teenage girl with no memory of the horrors she faced or the family she lost. Marina is the only person who has ever survived an encounter with the Fade. She’s the first hope humanity has had in generations, but she could also be the catalyst for their final destruction. Because the Fade will stop at nothing to get her back. Marina knows it. Tobin, who’s determined to take his revenge on the Fade, knows it. Anne-Marie, who just wishes it were all over, knows it.

When one of the Fade infiltrates the Arclight and Marina recognizes it, she will begin to unlock secrets she didn’t even know she had. Who will Marina become? Who can she never be again?

My Thoughts

I was looking forward to this book SO MUCH. I won a copy of it, and received it the day after it was released (April 24th), and started reading it immediately. I read it, finished it, was going to write a review… and then promptly forgot. I guess it didn’t make much of an impact on me.

I was excited because it sounded like Something New in the world of post-apocalyptic sci-fi. Like maybe it would have some fantasy overtones or a little horror – the Fade certainly sounded incredibly creepy and I was dying to find out more about them. And I was also really intrigued by Marina and her memory loss – I really like plots that utilize memory loss well, and I was hoping this would be one of them.

My biggest problem with the book, honestly, is that I saw pretty much every major plot point coming. I wasn’t surprised to find out what the Fade are, nor was I surprised when Marina finds out who she really is. So the Big Reveals were sort of ruined for me.

I did, for the most part, like Marina as a character, but I felt like her memory loss wasn’t dealt with in the way I was expecting – though I can’t put my finger on what exactly was “off” about it. I also felt like she went from being a promisingly strong character, to just getting dragged from one plot-point to the next with no real driving force of her own.

Tobin and Marina’s relationship, while it did have its “awww” moments, was pretty run-of-the-mill for a YA book – it’s not something I haven’t seen before. And while I did appreciate it not being insta-love, there was some weirdness in the beginning… When the book starts, Tobin and Marina are enemies (or close to it? idk). But their enmity was strangely emphasized, and the time we’re given to accept that they Do No Like Each Other was so brief that it didn’t have much weight. In hind-sight, I feel like that whole “enemies” thing is sort of out of place, considering how quickly things change immediately after we’re told that the two are Not Friends.

However, I did really like the world where this was set, and the whole concept of the Arclight and the colony’s protection being light itself. Also, even though I did figure out who/what the Fade were pretty quickly, they still fascinated me, and I really enjoyed the 2nd half of the book for that reason (where we get to learn a lot about their culture and lives). Just… nothing else about the book really grabbed me, unfortunately.

In conclusion…

Arclight was an entertaining read, but the characters were really nothing new, and many Big Reveals were too easy to predict. However, I did enjoy the worldbuilding, and the Fade; and the pacing was fast enough that I was never bored. I’m not sure I’m dying to read the sequel, but I’ll definitely consider picking it up once it comes out. Overall, I’d say pick this one up if the synopsis sounds appealing, and you don’t mind a little predictability and fairly run-of-the-mill characters.

6 thoughts on “Review: ARCLIGHT by Josin L. McQuein

  1. I’ve been reading books lately where I see all the major plot points coming too (maybe as bloggers we read too many books with similar plotlines?), but I’m glad you enjoyed the worldbuilding and the Fade sound really interesting! :) Great review!

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

    • Yep, too much practice at predicting these things! But even when I see things coming, I’m usually not bothered as long as the story itself is still really engaging despite that knowledge. In this case, I didn’t find it to be so, even though it was still entertaining overall.

      Thanks for stopping by, Alice! :)

  2. I *was* really looking forward to this book, and I still kind of am, but now I’m not expecting as much from it as I was before. It sucks that you saw every plot twist coming, I hope the sequel is better for you! Great review! :)

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