Book Review: Arclight by Josin L. McQuein

Title – Author: Arclight – Josin L. McQuein
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Series/Standalone: Series – Arclight #1
Format – Source: ARC – Borrowed

The Arclight is the last known colony of humans: its border of high-powered lights is the only thing keeping the Dark at bay and the Fade from getting inside. No one survives the Fade…except for Marina, a teenage girl found in the Grey, the no-man’s-land between the Arclight and the Dark. Marina has no memory of where she came from or who her family is. The people of the Arclight revile her for coming from the Dark, but she could be the first sign of hope for humanity in generations. Marina might be the cause of destruction for the Arclight, as the Fade will stop at nothing to get to her. When she recognizes a Fade that gets inside the walls, she starts to unlock parts of herself she didn’t know existed. The Arclight hides many secrets, and Marina is about to discover them all.

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I didn’t know what to expect from this book. The blurb on the back of the ARC I read was really vague but still intrigued me enough to pick it up. And once I did pick it up…I couldn’t put it down.

From the first page I was totally hooked on this story. The ominous alarm lights, the eerie Fade invading this bright bubble that’s  humanity’s last stand, Marina’s missing past? The action just builds and builds as the story progresses. The twist was really predictable, but that in no way affected my enjoyment of the story. I just kept turning the pages in anticipation of Marina figuring it out and waiting for what her reaction would be.

The author handles Marina’s narrative skillfully. Marina starts off without a past, her only knowledge based on what’s she’s been told by Arclight’s elders. This could’ve made her a vague narrator, but instead we see who Marina really is based on her actions. She’s the girl who tries to keep the peace, makes sacrifices to protect people, and struggles with her desire for a home while facing extreme prejudice. At the heart of Arclight isn’t a dystopian/apocalyptic thriller; the heart is Marina searching for her identity.

My favorite part of the this world by far is the Fade. The Fade are first presented as these horrifying monsters bent on eradicating the last humans. Through Marina’s discoveries, we learn there’s so much more to these creatures. Here is where McQuein really shines. She takes monsters and makes them devastatingly human. Not only that, but they evolve over the story. They’ve made mistakes and learn from them.

The ending actually made me really sad. Without being too spoiler-y, Marina has lost so much. When she realizes what’s happened to her, I felt her pain. It’s really heart-breaking.

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Arclight was an exciting and sometimes creepy read with a lot of heart that I raced through. I’m really looking forward to the next one.

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7 – really good but missing a little something – George Weasley



One thought on “Book Review: Arclight by Josin L. McQuein

  1. I’ve only read one other review of this and it was pretty negative… so glad to see a positive review! I haven’t been overly drawn to this one, mostly because the description was a little vague, but maybe I’ll have to give it a try! Great review!

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