Monday, April 8, 2013

Review: Arclight (Josin L. McQuein)

Title: Arclight
Series: Arclight duology, Book 1
Author: Josin L. McQuein
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Told: First Person (Marina), Present Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (scary situations, violence)
Format Read: ARC (trade)
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository
Find 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?

*          *          *

Writing: Engaging and vivid. I got lost a bit in some of the action scenes as the language became a little choppy, but otherwise I was thoroughly engrossed.

Setting: There were three settings: the Arclight, a compound/bunker encased in lights where the humans live; the Dark, a wild, untamed landscape where the Fade live; and the Grey, a desolate area between the two where nothing lives at all. I believe it was supposed to exist somewhere in America, but we only see a tiny area of what has become of our world in this dystopian setting. Given the story, what we did see felt plausible, although realistically it seemed a little out there for me. But this did not hurt the story in any way.

Story: Definitely an interesting premise - one which I cannot go into detail about without spoiling things. Although it has been done before, Arclight gave it a highly original spin. Josin did a masterful job of throwing us right into the action with the first sentence, and didn't let up until the end. I did see the big reveal coming really early on, but where this should've frustrated me it actually pulled me deeper into the story as I noticed every little detail that should've tipped Marina off. The end was bittersweet, which considering the story was highly satisfying - a try for a "happy" ending would've ruined it.

Characters: Marina's lack of memory gave her voice the feel of an objective observer, which I really loved for this book. Her desire to fit in made for a strong motivator - and an interesting twist at the end. Tobin was all over the place emotionally, but early on Josin makes this a defining tick of his so it was easy to just let it go. Without ruining the story, all I can say about Rue is that I adored him once I figured out who he was. The "villain" (who shall remain nameless due to spoilers) was no cardboard cut-out - they had great depth, and I was very satisfied with their role, story, and ultimate conclusion.

Conclusion: I did not expect this to be my kind of book (it was by pure accident I got a copy), but it ended up being one of my favorite books of this year! Josin pulled me right in and never let go, and even before I finished the book I was looking forward to re-reading it. Even though it's supposed to be a stand-alone - and I love it for that - I wouldn't be averse to a sequel if it meant finding out what happened to the rest of the world. Highly, highly recommended.

Scribble Rating
4.5 of 5 Scribbles


  1. I'm so excited to hear that you loved this one so much! I've been wanting to get my hands on a copy, but so far it just hasn't happened yet. This was a great review and I'm super excited for this one now. I guess I should say more excited, as I was already excited to begin with!

  2. Great review :) I am excited to read this one. I have been wanting a good stand alone for a while now!

    Ashley @ The Quiet Concert

  3. WOW! That sounds like a great, fast moving story. .. one i wouldn't expect either.
    Thanks for the review. I would really like to read it now