Audiobook Review: Arclight (Arclight #1) by Josin L. McQuein
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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?[/note]
I have written and rewritten this review at least five times. Arclight is one of those novels that in theory sounds absolutely amazing but in the end was just not for me. I tried to love it. I tried to get on board with The Fade and our MC Marina. But alas, I couldn’t fall in love with the world the way I desired. *sighs*
Let’s start with what I liked…the first ten or fifteen chapters where the world is introduced and we get a glimpse at human life after the epidemic? hit mankind. People are truly scared because no one is safe from The Fade. The creatures that come out at night and infect you with organisms and can take over your entire body (at least this is my assessment of them; it’s still something I’m trying to grasp). It started off as it should, frightening and with me on the edge of my seat wanting to know what was going to happen next. And then…
It all unraveled.
What began interestingly weird, then got even more peculiar, turned out to be a (WEIRD) twisted science fiction read. Arclight is a bizarre take on experiments gone wrong and creatures that go bump in the night. It’s eloquently crafted and the words spring from the pages, however despite having an immense amount of heart, it still manages to leave a sour taste in my mouth.
WTF The Fade? WTF is up with the heroine? WTF is really going on in this book!?
Okay, if I am to be a hundred percent honest, I have no idea how I feel about this book. It’s super crazy and tries to wear many different hats and wears none of them really well. The mystery is predictable. The Science Fiction is hard to understand. The love triangle is creepy. Arclight is an epic freak-show of friendly/not-so-friendly monsters and terrified humans with parental issues. Had I actually been reading this instead of listening to the audio I’m almost a thousand percent certain I would have DNF’ed it.
Why? Because if I had to keep rewinding my audio, think about how many times I would have had to re-read something in the book. Probably twice as many just so I can try to comprehend the main characters inner dialogue with The Fade. Don’t get me wrong, I liked how she communicated with the Fade, heck I was on board up until the big reveal. What I didn’t appreciate, is how she responded to the big reveal. She knew she was different. And yet when the answers to her questions presented themselves, she pretended like it was impossible. Um hello, didn’t you and I just experience the same thing about 50 pages ago?
Though what really ticks me off about the whole thing is the ending. There is a semi-LOVE Triangle and I absolutely hated it by the time the story was over. Both leading boys are likeable and I didn’t really see anything that I disliked about their character or personality. I just loathed the rationale our character chose for picking her man at the end. This is probably the only book I’ve read where I’ve been pissed off beyond belief at our characters choice.
This might be spoilery but I will just go ahead and say it: It seems that our character flat-out disowned her people when she made her choice. Because her eyes had been “open” so to speak to the human world, she decided to stay and forgo her life as one of THEM. She had a sister, true love, and a family with them yet she wanted to stay with humans why…I’m not exactly sure. I had to rewind and re-listen to it over and over again to grasp the concept that she didn’t go back. And this is a series? At the very least she should have been sad! *sighs* I won’t be returning for the next one. I have no interest as her life as a human unless she plans to go back to The Fade and we get to see how they live and interact.
Clearly I’m despondent. Maybe even disgruntled. I wanted to LOVE it so bad but I couldn’t. Had I not been confused and then aggravated at the ending I think this would have been an excellent 5 Controller read. However, my rating is based upon what’s presented. And what’s presented, while not terrible, is unlikable. At least by me anyways.
Overall, give it a whirl if you’re into weird science fiction. I’m definitely interested to know what others think as it will probably appeal to many but not all.
3 out of 5 Controllers