August 8, 2013

Arclight by Josin L. McQuein: Book Review

Arclight (Arclight, #1)
Release Date: April 23rd 2013
Genre: Young adult dystopia, science fiction
Rating: 3/5 stars
Source: Library
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: To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this book. The synopsis of the hardcover version of this book (the version I read) is so vague. All it says is that Marina survived a species called the Fade and that the world is now divided into three parts-light,gray and dark. A very simple concept and the perfect premise for what is sure to be a next dystopian hit. *cue the eye rolls* This book felt so typical I had to remind myself that I was almost done reading it. Basically, this book will leave no lasting impressions on me.

The plot of this book was fairly standard and typical for a dystopian novel. Girl wakes up with no memory. Girl starts to live in a world where she's injured. Slowly girl settles in. Girl likes boy and boy likes girl. New boy enters shattering girl's concept of the world. etc. I predicted the plot twists chapters before they happened. Not to say that the book wasn't interesting, it was just predictable. A lot of elements in this book reminded me of another dystopian book. In particular, Enclave by Ann Aguirre. The basic setting in Enclave is that a tribe of humans lives in a secluded underground where they are the only human colony that they know of. Meanwhile, attacks from monsters outside their walls attack them. Basically, it's the same as Arclight. Both books share the fact that the setting is the only human colony and that creatures attack them. The creatures in Arclight, however, remind me of the Borg from Star Trek-an odd combination, I know. The Borg, like the Fade, is a collective of creatures that are all connected and all the gist of being intertwined. That of course is not all the Borg is but it is the easiest to explain. Anyway, the Fade and the Borg are both a collected/connected race (I forget the actual term). Each organism in these races is connected to others and they are all aware of each other. I felt like these elements make Arclight seem unoriginal and these similarities irked me.

Now onto the characters. The main character, Marina was OK. Other than a unique memory loss and an early dislike of very bright places, she was pretty boring. That's all I can say. Marina was so unmemorable that I don't even remember any defining characteristics in her. Now onto the love interest, Tobin. Tobin is basically the typical love interest. A little angry at Marina but he quickly forgives her and their relationship goes beyond friendship *gag*. Tobin is nice and wants to protect her and he doesn't have any of the badboy wishy-washy nonsense. In general, the characters lack a certain depth and they are unmemorable.

By now, you should be questioning my rating of 3/5 stars. I made this book seem pretty uninteresting, right? Well, even though this book did lack in-depth characters and it did seem pretty unoriginal, this book was not totally bad. It still had some redeeming qualities such as a good ending. While we are discussing the ending, I should mention that the ending of this book does not call for a sequel. I genuinely feel that Arclight would be very good as a stand-alone novel but with current dystopian novel trends, that isn't the case.

Last but not least, let's discuss the romance. The romance in this book was a little confusing and very annoying. I admit, some parts were cute but other parts made me want to punch several characters in their lovesick faces. The love triangle was annoying and so typical that I'm surprised that no one has said "Fans of the Hunger Games will love this book!" (yes, I am referring to the constant trend of dystopian novels with love triangles being compared to the Hunger Games)
Overall
- this book was somewhat interesting and very predictable
- the setting reminds me of the setting in Enclave by Ann Aguirre
- the romance was confusing and annoying
- the main characters were OK and lacked depth
- Arclight would be fine as a stand-alone novel and I have no idea why there is going to be a sequel
- the point of view was well-written but somewhat boring

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