Friday 13 September 2013

Reviewed by Liz: Arclight by Josin L. McQuein.

Product details:
Publisher: Electric Monkey.
Paperback, 400 pages.
Release date: August 12th 2013.
Rating: 3½ out of 5.
Ages: 13+
Source: Received from publisher for review.
Reviewed by: Liz from Planet Print.

The Arclight is the last refuge in a post-apocalyptic world consumed by terrifying monsters called the Fade. No one crosses the wall of light that keeps the last human survivors safe. There's nothing else left and nowhere to go. Or so they thought, until Marina, a lone teenage girl, stumbles out of the Dark.

Marina can’t remember anything about her life before that moment. Where has she come from? How has she survived? And why do the rulers of the Dark seem determined to destroy her? To find out, she will have to venture back into the Dark . . .

Edgy and chilling, perfect for fans of Veronica Roth, Stephen King and Suzanne Collins.

Marina remembers nothing of her past. All she knows is that she was found hiding from something in the Dark before she was brought to safety in the Arclight. The others in the Arclight see her as a bad omen, especially Tobin, the son of the man who died to save her. But there is something strange about Marina’s sudden appearance and when a Fade, a dweller of the Dark, offers answers no-one else can seem to give her, Marina starts to question the circumstances of her arrival in the Arclight. Forced to work with Tobin, who believes there must be more to his father’s death than they’ve been told, Marina begins to realise that perhaps the Arclight isn’t as safe as she thought.

Arclight was an interesting but somewhat confusing book (but I'll get to the confusing parts later). Marina was a pretty good main character. There was a lot of mystery surrounding her and where she came from, and everyone seemed to resent her, or even fear her. Marina herself felt out of place. She had a strange connection to the Fade which she didn't understand, and even though she had no memories, she was drawn to the Dark; a place she had been told was too dangerous for anyone to ever enter alone. Her arrival in the Arclight made a lot of people wary of her, so she really only had one friend, Anne-Marie - but Anne-Marie was quite a loyal and good friend, and defended Marina when she could. Despite what a lot of the others thought, Marina was actually quite a caring person, and when the Fade called Rue requested her help to find someone named Cherish, Marina agreed even though they were supposed to be enemies. Even though she feared the Fade and wasn't willing to bend over backwards for them, Marina wasn't intentionally or needlessly cruel (though she did have a hard time accepting certain things).

Tobin started off ignoring Marina. She was the reason his father died and he probably didn't want much to do with her. But during an emergency, he helped her escape, and then helped her a second time when she was about to be attacked. I didn't really understand why he did those things at first, but then after they were made to work and spend time together, they sort of became friends? It was a strange relationship. They got to know each other better and realised perhaps they weren't that different after all. The romance was a little odd, I must admit, but I kind of liked it anyway (though there was a bit of a love triangle that is likely to be developed in book two, which I am not looking forward to). Tobin had already lost his father and he really didn't want to lose anything or anyone else close to him. He seemed to be trying to do what his father what have wanted him to do a lot of the time, though his judgement was a bit skewed. I could understand how frustrated and upset he must have been feeling, and his desperation to know more about what happened to his dad.

Plot-wise, this was where things were confusing. First of all, almost nothing was explained about the world the characters were living in or why any of the things that happened, happened. I had no idea what was going on in the beginning, and I barely understood what the Arclight even was. There was hardly any explanation for how the Dark and the Arclight came to be, or why, and I didn't know where the Fade came from, why they came or how they were a threat. Apparently, the Fade had caused humanity to decline, but we weren't told exactly how, or when, or why or what the Fade were doing before. I do realise things may be explained more in later books, but we were really kept in the dark about a lot of things. The world-building could have been better. I also think the villain was a bit obvious and that their motives and actions didn't exactly pair up. However, I didn't see the twist concerning Cherish coming and I did think the author had some quite original and interesting ideas.

Overall, Arclight was an enjoyable read with a fairly unique storyline. I was confused by a lot of things, but then again I am one of those people who likes clear-cut answers and explanations. If you like futuristic (is it futuristic? Or dystopian? Not entirely sure which genre this book comes under, it seems to have a bit of everything) with a bit of mystery and thriller added in, then give Arclight a go.


  1. I'm usually a reader who enjoys clear cut answers too, but I think I would actually enjoy being kept in the dark by this book. Arclight I admit wasn't high on my to read list after reading so many disappointing reviews, but now I actually think I may end up giving it a go! Great review Liz!

  2. I really liked this one, and quite liked the world-building too. Though yeah, I hope there's more explanation in the sequel on how the Arclight came to be. And I'm not looking forward to a love triangle either, though I love both guys! I thought the Cherish thing was quite predictable but I still really liked the book :)
    Great review! xx

    Richa @ City of Books

  3. Ah, I read Arclight too and found it beautifully written but, like you, a bit confusing. I found myself flipping back wondering if I've skipped over something and then putting it down and getting back into it again. I liked the MC and I liked the mystery. I also liked her descriptions of the Fade and thought that was well done. The whole Cherish thing was a tiny bit obvious but I did like the reveals about some of the adults and such. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. Great write-up, Liz!

  4. Hmmm, I'm not really sure about the lack of information. I think it's always important that things are explained when you come up with something original. But the overall sound of this book makes me interested to give it a shot! :)



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