Arclight by Josin L. McQuein Review

Monday, April 29, 2013

Title: Arclight
Author: Josin L. McQuein
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publish Date: April 23, 2013
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi
Pages: 400
Source: Publisher
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.

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?
Marina doesn't remember life before the Arclight. She doesn't remember anything, actually. All she knows is that she is certain to be more important - and more powerful - than she could have ever imagined. The Fade wants her back, and humanity seems to want to rescue her from sort of imminent destruction, but Marina just wants to find a semblance of normalcy and peace in the midst of all this turmoil that surrounds her everyday life. But can she find her place in time, or will she become the ultimate weapon against the remains of humanity after all?

First of all, I'm thrilled that this is the first book I'm reviewing upon my return to the book blogosphere because, and let's just be honest here, it was such a high-concept, totally unnerving (in a good way) and thrill-seeking take on the young adult and science fiction genre. Too often, I find that the genre is tired and cold, but Josin McQuein skillfully detailed and adventure that's eerie, unsettling and altogether thrilling take on a whole new realm of sci-fi. With stark contrasts of light and dark, powerful characters in which to invest yourself and a plot that's sure to keep you reading past your bedtime, Arclight is one heck of a slam-dunk debut.

Let's start with the absolute brilliance surrounding the plot of Arclight, shall we? There is an underbelly of fear and paranoia that lurks beneath the story, giving each turn of events a creepy and slightly off-kilter vibe. We watch as the plot slowly unravels, feeding us a bit of backstory at a time - rather than inundating us with information that would throw off the pacing - and we're invited into a closed, but very tangible world. Marina, though slightly difficult to get to know, was a complex and emotional character. I say she was difficult to get to know simply because her lack of memory leads us to have little or no innermost thoughts. Instead, we are left to explore her developing character through her actions and dynamic with the other characters, which is an interesting and refreshing challenge. The searing tension soars throughout the story, so every page is littered with questions and fear, giving way to a fulfilling and definitive climax. I will say, however, that I was a bit disappointed with the "love story" angle of the novel, simply because I felt as though it was a sort of afterthought, rather than an actual part of the story.

Overall, however, Arclight was a wonderfully refreshing story that was chock-full of new ideas, powerful emotions and a rich and vivid storyline. I give it a 4 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those why enjoy science fiction and dystopian stories.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. Welcome back! I really enjoyed this story, too. Very refreshing after the sameness of so many post-apocalyptic worlds with great characters. The Fade were brilliantly done, too!

  2. "giving each turn of events a creepy and slightly off-kilter vibe" - this book is definitely going on my wishlist! I always enjoy books that give off a creepy/strange vibe, since they always keep my interest. The world sounds nicely written, too.

    Fabulous review, Melissa!

  3. I am super, super happy that you're back in the book blogging world! As always, it was a pleasure to read your review. I'm very curious about Arclight. It sounds totally different from what I've been reading, and I definitely want to check it out soon!

  4. Yay yay yay yay! Book review! And this sounds like something I desperately need to read.

  5. I absolutely adore the cover of this book, and it's so nice to read that the story itself lives up to it! I'll definitely have to add this one to my TBR list. So nice to see you back in the blogosphere! :D

  6. YAY! I loved this book. It was so amazing. Loved your review.

  7. So true! I really enjoyed how thorough this story was - in concept and in writing! Thanks for the welcome back, Mary ;)


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