- Series: Arclight (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: Greenwillow Books (April 23, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062130145
- ISBN-13: 978-0062130143
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 118 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,284,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Arclight Hardcover – April 23, 2013
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Within the brightness of Arclight, people are safe, but beyond the perimeter of artificial light, the world is dark and inhabited by frightening beings known as Fades. No one from Arclight has survived an encounter with the Fade, except one teenage girl: Marina. Marina has no memory of her life before Arclight, and she is filled with guilt over the people who died attempting to rescue her, particularly the father of an enigmatic young man, Tobin. After it becomes clear that Marina has a strong but inexplicable connection to the Fade, she and Tobin enter dangerous dark territory to discover the truth. Told in the present tense, the episodic story relies on occasionally contrived dialogue to fill in past events that Marina cannot remember, and readers may grow frustrated as they must wait, along with Marina, to gradually understand how events connect. Nevertheless, an ever-popular romantic triangle and the promised revelation of secrets will propel fans of dystopian literature through this debut novel. Grades 7-10. --Diane Colson
“Powerful and gripping straight out the door—Arclight will keep you up at night, if you dare stay awake.” (Pittacus Lore, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling I Am Number Four series)
“McQuein strongly evokes the claustrophobic tyranny of adult authority and institutional spaces, as well as the irrational human faith in the voice of ‘experience,’ in this fine debut.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Marina has a strong but inexplicable connection to the Fade, [and] she and Tobin enter dangerous dark territory to discover the truth.” (Booklist)
“In a dystopian future colony that holds back the monsters that have taken over the world, a girl tries to find her place. … Marina … stands out as an interesting and spunky character, enough of a rebel to take some major chances.” (Kirkus Reviews)
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As a side note I would like to mention that one of the strengths of this particular novel lies in the author's willingness to stray from a predictable outcome and allow the characters leeway to grow as they will.
This book is a much appreciated reward after the unpleasant experience of wading through so MANY badly written books that were priced much higher and which felt like first drafts rushed into publication. A jewel I stumbled upon after investigating and deleting 17 "recommendations" on my personal amazon account, I am delighted to give this 5 stars. Arclight left me with the confidence to believe that the second book is worth the higher price. :)
First off, I think right out of the gates Marina was an issue. Yes, she's finding her identity the entire book and that certainly would compromise certain parts of her personality but I just can't get past the fact she so willingly follows the hive mind of the Arclight (light good, Fade evil) and yet in the same breath thinks the hive mind of the Fade is something to feared and shunned. Maybe if she grew up behind the wall I'd understand her position but she's only in the Arclight at most a few months according to the time line. I don't know how to explain it beside it just bothered me and made me dislike Marina. Mainly I just wished she'd questioned her surroundings more but due to her stubbornly refusing to I was forced to read pages and pages of indecision on her part which translated into the less enjoyability for me as a whole.
Secondly, I think the book needed a good trimming down. Not just a couple of pages either but whole chapters needed shrinking. While the book and story were good it is a lot of little things that just made it drag on endlessly thus again ruining the enjoyability for me. For example, the book started off so exciting and action packed but quickly petered out once the threat had been contained. Instead of focusing on the Fade threat, were given chapters building up the romance between Tobias and Marina. Instead of Marina questioning her memories and doing everything possible to fix them she blindly follows the orders of those around her until she physically and emotionally can't anymore. This wouldn't be such a problem if it didn't take until nearly the 80% mark for her to finally see reason.
My main issue however was the fact that the romance between Marina and Tobias felt very forced and predictable. This only becomes more glaringly obvious as the book progresses and we understand that maybe she isn't meant to be with him in the first place. Arclight doesn't have a long triangle per say but it does leave plenty of room open for one. I guess, I just would've rather the characters been attracted to one another but never acted on those impulses in light of what I knew once finishing. If they were meant to be together further down the road then fine I could accept that but as of this point Marina seems like she's settling because he's safe and more compatible physically and I just don't think that's fair to Tobias or Rue as characters.
Now despite my issues mentioned above I actually liked quite a lot about Arclight which is why I kept reading the story even when things annoyed me.
First, I loved the Fade. Based on the description I was really expecting them to be vampires or some other form of demon spawn but was pleasantly surprised by the twist in the story explaining what they actually were. I can't really describe them without ruining the plot but think The Matrix meets Avatar and that will give you sort of a hint as to what they are.
Secondly, I really liked that the characters (minus Marina who still seems stuck) came to accept change so readily. It's nice knowing that they can and will be able to move on from being so scared all the time now that things have changed for the better. How this will translate into a sequel though I'm not so sure. Thankfully I have a copy of that story waiting to go so I'll be able to find out shortly.
Lastly, I really liked the world building. Yes, things might have been a bit long winded but it was nonetheless informative and we did at the very least get to learn plenty about the world in the before as we did in the after.
Even though Arclight might not have been a perfect read I can't deny that I enjoyed Arclight despite all my issues to the contrary. The Author is if anything a talented writer and the fact she breathed life into a creation like the Fade is a credit to that. I definitely will be reading the sequel and I would certainly recommend reading Arclight if you haven't already.
With that being said, I'll be rating Arclight by Josin L. McQuein ★★★★.
This is definitely one of those books that I wasn't sure I would love because of the assumption I placed upon it before I even started reading it. "This is a science fiction type story so obviously that's not my thing..." was exactly what I was saying to myself before I even gave Arclight like my full attention.
Yes, I bought it for the pretty cover. I know, I know. That is pretty vain. But I just loved how the rays of light sparkled upon the paper and how it was gently raised as well.
And I guess I was slightly intrigued by something called the Fade. It just sounded ominous.
But I was definitely not giving Arclight enough credit. Just because it had the word "nanite" in it, I assumed it was going to be like the old Star Trek shows (my mom was a huge fan and I had to suffer through many a marathon of them) and I think that is where my brain wanted to shut it down before I even really gave it a chance to play.
But you know what? I strapped my big girl panties on and decided to get out of my comfort zone and jumped headfirst into Arclight.... and I am so happy I did!
Arclight jumps right into the action. There is no lull in the story at all; you are just thrust from mind reeling scenes to intense scenes and back again. I loved how the author gave us just enough of the world building to keep us from sitting there in the light scratching our heads, but not so much that it seemed like a system overload. She also used the characters as our storytellers instead of just a bunch of rote information that took forever to read through.
I hit it off very nicely with the main character, Marina, as we see how she suffers being the "one they saved" from the dark. I instantly connected with Marina and it was hard not to root for her after the way her classmates treat her so harshly. I liked that she wasn't the popular girl. This book is a dark science fiction/YA story with some heavy consequences in it and I loved the fact that it wasn't so much about the social ladder in a school. It was more comparable to just surviving among those who blame you for just about everything. Many of us have been the outsider but never secluded as much as Marina is in Arclight. It was a great way to show us that it can always get worse.
Of course besides Marina, there is other great characters that play a major part in the story. I am sure most everyone adored Tobin and I did really like him but I much preferred Rue. Oh Rue! He stole my heart the minute he materialized in the story.
And I guess that clues you in that there may be a love triangle in it. But this triangle is slightly off as you will discover as you read through the book.
The antagonistic characters were downright frightening. The levels this character was willing to go through just to protect themselves and hurt others was plain scary. I really didn't see any remorse in their behavior after their terrible deeds and yet it was the strong belief they had that pushed them right over the edge into insanity disguised by power.
The story lines were very intense, and like I said there was some very dark ideas throughout the book. I really felt like this was a "good vs. evil" and "light vs. dark" situation right from the start. How symbolic that the geographic area has the light, the grey, and then the dark when there are many characters in the story that can't be grouped in just the evil side but are no where to being labeled as the good guys either.
I am a huge fan of the grey area in society and I love that it is immersed in the Arlight as well in many different ways.
I did, however, pretty much clue in to the outcome of the book by the middle of the story but I was still hooked on the story till the very end. It didn't get boring for me but I wished a tad bit that the twist had been hidden a little bit deeper. I would have liked to stay in the dark (no pun intended) a little longer in the story.
But overall Arclight was a great read! It really taught me to that it is okay to step out of our comfort zone, or in this case, comfort genre, to find a new genre to fall in love with. Especially if it is one that we wasn't really into to begin with.
I gave Arclight four hearts!