Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Book Review: Arclight by Josin L. McQuein

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?

“Someone's attention shouldn't have a physical weight, but it does. Hate's a heavy burden; hope is worse.”

I wasn’t expecting much from this book if I’m honest. A lot of the reviews I saw prior to reading it seemed to think it was alright but not great. So taking that into account my expectations going into this were fairly low, which lead to Arclight taking me completely by surprise. To my astonishment I really, really loved this book I thought it was smart, original and totally gripping. I really have to wonder if I read the same book that so many others did because I cannot understand how this has not gotten more attention and more love from the book blogging community.

This book grabbed my attention from the first page and it didn’t let go until it was all over. The opening was brilliant, it was bold and scary and the first few chapters were heart in your mouth kind of stuff. Although the book couldn’t keep up the mystery and suspense of the first chapters it never once lost my interest. The storyline was original and compelling and the writing extremely impressive. McQuein can really write well and there were some beautiful moment tucked between the enthralling action sequences. All of this is supported by some amazing world building and descriptions especially when the reader is taken outside the boundaries of the Arclight.

McQuein is not only a good writer but clearly also has one hell of an imagination, I found Arclight very creative. Not only is the world very different but the beings in it are as well. The Fade are unlike anything I have seen or read before and they were one of the reasons this book was such a success for me. Another plus was the author’s ability to mix things up parts of this were scary and dark, other moments cute and sweet. There were times I was afraid and times I was truly touched.

The characters were good but could have had a little more presence. Marina is a good lead, I thought she was intelligent and I liked her attitude. She does not have it easy in this book but she deals with everything really well. Tobin is an interesting enough love interest, again he was smart and loyal with little to dislike about him.

One of the most interesting characters was Rue, whom I cannot really explain without giving a lot away. I must admit to being a little in love with him and I wished that his character had been expanded on more as I found him really fascinating.

My main complaint about this book was the ending. If I had wrote it I would have ended it differently and I was slightly disappointed with the decision Marina made at the end. Apart from that I found little to complain about.
Arclight is an original and gripping Science fiction that I struggled to put down. I really enjoyed it and I highly recommend it.

4 stars

Published April 23rd 2013 by Greenwillow Book.  A free copy was provided for review.  Image taken from Goodreads.

Review by Kate Phillips

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