Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Arclight: review

Arclight by Joslin McQuein
Release Date: April 3, 2013
Rating: 3 stars
Goodreads 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?

My thoughts:

I think a solid 3.5 here. I liked it. But it took me three quarters of the way through to realize I really have some issues, so that's something?

In theory, this story has great potential. It's creepy and mysterious and has an isolated colony of people protected from some unknown scariness. And on the back it says "for fans of Stephen King and Veronica Roth" ….um not quite. Those wouldn't be the two authors I'd pick. More like if you like Anne Aguirre's Enclave series and Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth, maybe. (Those two series are a lot more violent though.)

Marina is our MC, and I did like her for most of the book. She's missing some of her memory, so she doesn't know much about herself…which is so convenient. She's not particularly strong willed or annoying. My problem with Marina is her inconsistent behavior. One page she's all "I'm going to follow this Fade into the Dark because I need to find out more about them." Then two pages later "Shoot them! Shoot them! I don't like the Fade and they have their creepy crawlies all over!" What? Really. 

Sure there's some romance, if you can call it that. To me though Tobin is such a flat character. I never felt anything for him, sympathy or otherwise, and I didn't understand Marina's attachment to him considering they hate each other (apparently) for the first 80 pages. It's all very fuzzy and when things do happen between them it's without ANY discussion or even any WORDS between them, even internal dialogue to let us reader know what Marina feels. Just, like, a few passionate moments that made me roll my eyes.

And (without spoilers) the whole thing with Cherish and Rue…didn't see that coming. I'm a little irked because the whole last hundred pages were written so strangely that I had no idea what the heck was going on, I would have connected the dots excitedly instead of turning the page to see this thing revealed and think…where did that come from? I actually stopped chewing mid bite (yes i eat when I read) in shock and confusion. If someone asked me to recap a lot of the book, I wouldn't be able to explain because all the creation of the Fade and Dark isn't easily explained and a bit inconsistent, I couldn't keep track.

The general pacing is a little scattered, unsure. Annie is my favorite character just because of her consistency and realistic personality.

If I didn't already own the second book, I might not continue this series immediately. Arclight is a good book, not my favorite, but I'm not sorry I read it. What really kept me going is that I needed to know what happened, and that's usually a good sign even if the characters are intolerable.


1 comment:

  1. I just read this, and I had the EXACT same thoughts. I would rather have seen more of Cherish than Marina, and more Rue than Tobin (at least with Rue there's a reason why we don't know what he's thinking/feeling/wanting/expecting). Annie was definitely the most real of them, and the most entertaining! There's only so much snark I can take in an MC with zero initiative... ;)