Author: Josin L. McQuein
Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopian, Biopunk,
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Source: Amazon Vine-provided ARC
Summary: 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?
☆: 3.5/5 stars – The claim that it’s for fans of Veronica Roth is an apt one, that’s for sure.
First off, this is SHINY. No joke. Mine is only an ARC and doesn’t have all the shininess the finished copy will, but it’s definitely shiny and therefore, you should look at it and be amazed. Concerning the actual CONTENT of the book, it’s also pretty shiny, but I use it in a different way. Arclight is loads of fun and is a great book to read on a lazy Sunday or during a sleepless night, but what you see is exactly what you get and once you put a lot of thought into it, it loses some of its shine.
The worldbuilding in terms of putting together the current condition of the Arclight, helping readers visualize it, and developing the creatures known as the Fade is phenomenal. McQuein’s prose brings it to life and makes it soar above all else. The picture you have of all those elements when the novel begins is nothing like what you will see when the novel ends, which is the kind of development I love seeing. Arclight is one of the few novels I will call a true dystopia: the people live the life they do without questioning why it runs the way it does, but their society is much more dysfunctional than they can imagine until the truth finally comes out. Unfortunately, this and many other twists of the novel can be seen coming from a good ways away.
Marina is okay as a main character and good enough to root for, but often, she’s simply exists. Same with almost all the other characters of the novel, be it her love interest Tobin (with whom, by the way, she has a badly developed romance with), her best friend Anne-Marie, or anyone else. They’re all simply there without much dimension, but they’re the rare kinds of characters you’re okay with despite such issues. The Fade become the standout characters of the novel, their society its most fully realized, memorable element. So much love for the Fade, seriously.
Funny thing about me: I hate math, but if I think there’s an issue with a book’s timeline, I’ll happily do math to make sure all is well. With Arclight, Tobin and Marina find a picture of Tobin’s firth-great grandfather that says it came from ’23. Whether that’s 1923 or 2023 or beyond, I don’t know, but I assume 1923 because it apparently wasn’t that long ago when people lived normally, but it was also a good while ago in terms of who is alive/dead. While defining thirty years as the difference between generations because it feels right, I found that would put this novel somewhere around 2150 in terms of the time period. Can we really get to this point in 140 years or so? Well, that’s up to you.
Another possible solution is that my math is completely wrong, as I often discover it is when I get back a math test I failed, and in which case you can ignore that last paragraph. Because it’s so iffy, that issue doesn’t factor into my rating.
McQuein’s way with words is also promising because her next book, Premeditated, is one I’ve been anticipating eleventy bajillion times more than Arclight and fits my tastes more. Is it October 2013 yet? Because I want me some character-driven vengeance book. Anyway, fans of sci-fi who have been looking forward to Arclight for a while are sure to love it.