Arclight by Josin L McQuein

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Arclight by Josin L McQuein

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Category: Teens
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: While it's rather confusing at times, great world-building makes this sci-fi novel worth a look.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: August 2013
Publisher: Electric Monkey
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1405263948

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Many years into the future, after terrifying monsters called the Fade have taken over most of our world, the survivors have banded together in the refuge of the Arclight. With nowhere to go, they stay within their wall of light - until a teenage girl Marina comes out of the Dark and finds them. Marina, though, has lost her memory. What is her secret, why are the Fade taking such a special interest in her, and can she help her rescuers fight back against them?

I'm not a huge sci-fi fan, and only really picked this up because Josin L McQuein's contemporary novel Premeditated is at the top of my 'must read' list and I was interested in seeing what her writing was like. This is an interesting novel in many ways, and while it doesn't work all that well for me, I think many fans of sci-fi are going to find a lot to like here. In particular, the world-building is excellent, and the Fade are a subtly scary breed of antagonists. It's also a thought-provoking read which doesn't just go for simple answers but gives us complex characters with interesting motivations. The main villain, in particular, is very well-portrayed.

That said, I struggled a bit for two reasons. Firstly is that even though the Fade are chilling creatures, it took me a long time to be able to really get my head around what they were, and I found them confusing at times. In addition, I thought the romance between Marina and Tobin was fairly weak - there didn't seem to be enough interaction between them to make it all that believable.

It does get extra marks for a satisfying ending - something which I think readers should be able to expect from any book, but which isn't always delivered in a series these days! I believe this is going to be a duology - but the ending here is strong enough to read it as a standalone. Recommended to sci-fi fans.

My favourite sci-fi series is Gone by Michael Grant, while The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey is another chilling sci-fi read for teens.

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