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Arclight (Arclight #1) by Josin L. McQuein

Arclight (Arclight #1)
by Josin L. McQuein
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Format: Hardcover, 403 pgs.
Published: April 23, 2013 by Greenwillow Books
Genre: YA, paranormal/sci-fi

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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?" -Goodreads


“The Arclight’s falling.” (13)

Arclight takes on the existing dystopian concept of a wall separating societies “for their own safety” and turns it around. The light means clarity, the light leads to safety; but if we shy away from the unseen nightmares of the dark, how can you truly be in the light? What if the humans were the threat and whatever’s on the other side is afraid?

“Light means escape. It means safety. It means the monsters can’t follow.” (109)

Well, I do concede that this book turned out quite well. The beginning, middle, and heck even the end, may have confounded me in my ability to comprehend Arclight’s world-building, but my overall emotion in the end felt right. This book still stumps me in how it rollercoastered up and down and all around in confusion and understanding. I have, and I still, find it hard to imagine or visualize the Fade. The descriptions (and there are a lot of descriptions) felt all over the place and contradicted as I tried to place a finger on what exactly I was reading about. But who am I to judge, maybe that was the author’s intent and my brain just refuses to accept it? It was also hard to visualize the Arc and the world within and around it. Again I don’t know if it’s just me and my brain giving off a “do no compute” signal or what. 

“I gulp to keep the bile from rising, exhale the breath that’s started to burn my lungs, and step off the edge into the unknown.” (246)

There were some many moments when I just wanted to stop the book and chalk it up to time wasted as I sought to put it in my “stopped-reading” pile, but then–like a page or two later– something exciting/ interesting would happen and I’d have to read on, only to be later put in the original position I was feeling. That’s what I mean with rollercoastering. Once I got pass the halfway point I figured I didn’t want to consider this book a waste of time, and I chugged along. I’m a little glad I did, because a lot of it started making more sense and the interest–boredom equilibrium neutralized, keeping me in some state of suspense. Although a lot of the book was predictable (In the beginning of the book, didn’t Marina tell us that she knew that wasn’t her real name, that they just made that name up based on where they found her?) in the end, I liked the unique way the plot played out. With this ending, however, it seems kind of final and it doesn’t leave anything desired for the next book. I’m sure that, although I liked this book, I will not go out of my way to read the next in the series. This one book suffices.

“All this time I thought I’d lost myself in the Dark, and it was the Light I’ll never recover from.” (324)

First Line: “Someone’s attention shouldn’t have physical wight, but it does.” (1)

Last Line: “There are no boundaries anymore, only the promise of something new over the horizon.” (403)



“Hate’s a heavy burden; hope is worse.” (1)

“Light is safety; light is life.” (246)

“The amorphous swath of no-man’s-land called the Dark is literally the stuff of nightmares.” (247)

“Separation is the Fade’s greatest fear.” (321)

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