Review + Giveaway: Arclight by Josin L. McQuein

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on April 15, 2013 | 17 Comments

Review + Giveaway: Arclight by Josin L. McQueinArclight by Josin L. McQuein
Series: Arclight #1
Published by Greenwillow (4.23.2013)
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: ARC, 403 pages
Source: From Publisher
Buy on Amazon

3 Stars

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

*Huge thanks to Harper for providing a review copy!

This one was very original, and I seriously love the concept. I do. BUT – the execution kind of ruined it for me.

I’m going to be honest here, the world building was pretty crappy. I was confused about a lot of things, and I had a really hard time grasping the world. I couldn’t picture anything in my head, and much of it was so vague on description that I didn’t really understand the world that McQuein was trying to create. It made my brain hurt. Which saddens me, a lot, because like I said it was extremely original. This novel had SO much potential. I’m kinda hoping it will end up being a series just so that the holes in the world building can be filled in. *sigh*

I would have liked to have seen waaay more background. How did the Arclight come to be? Why? When? What happened to the sun? What exactly are the Fade, anyway? Because I didn’t really get the whole ‘nanites’ explanation. And what does ‘aged up’ mean (what is their method for aging)? What is the significance of the year-patches – how are they counted? Maybe I’m just thinking too much into it. But I’m a world building whore, for those of you who didn’t know, and I get distracted from the story very quickly if I’m asking too many questions about the setting. It tends to ruin the book for me. 

I didn’t really connect to the characters, either. Marina was just meh. Tobin was vanilla. The only one that stood out was Anne-Marie, because she was a scatter-brained spaz. I was very interested in Rue when he first came into the story, but he ended up not being very exciting to me, either.

I did like the twist regarding Marina and her identity, that actually caught me by surprise. But at the same time, I didn’t really get her background, either. (major spoiler, highlight to read – this is only for people who have already read the book) Was she born human? Or Fade? I didn’t really get that part…
I feel like there should have been much more characterization in general, especially when it came to our main character.

Again, going back to the originality: It was the saving grace for this book. The idea of the Fade was unique and seriously awesome! Their markings (the nanites, I think?) and the way they communicated as a hive mind was fascinating. They lived in the Dark and were hurt by the Light, and they could make themselves appear invisible to the human eye. Like I said, awesome! These parts really stood out to make this novel different from all the others I’ve read. 


Plot: 3.5/5 
Writing style: 3.5/5 
Originality: 5/5 
Characters: 3/5 
World-building: 1/5 
Pace: 3.5/5 
Cover: 3.5/5 

Overall rating: 3/5 starfish



This giveaway is for an ARC of the book, not a finished copy.

Please read the Rafflecopter directions very carefully, as I do check the entries and faked entries will be deleted. Because I pay for shipping out of my own pocket, you must follow ASR by at least one of the following ways: email, NB, or Linky. If you are not following, your entries will be deleted. Unfortunately, this is open to US only due to shipping costs.

Thank you and good luck!

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Jessi (Geo)

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17 responses to “Review + Giveaway: Arclight by Josin L. McQuein

  1. Megan R

    Boo! I’m sorry the world building was such a disappointment! It sounds like a very cool world, which makes it even more of a bummer!

  2. Erin F

    Thanks for the honest review. I’ve been eying this book too as it has a very original sounding premise. Still gonna add it to my wishlist :)

  3. AAAWWW Man! That’s so sad. I’m gonna be reading this in the next few’s to hoping I like it better! The cover is so intriguing and I agree! The original concept is really unique! I’ve also heard rumors that said book is gonna be a movie. I think it was optioned. I guess I’d be interested if they could pull it off. Haha.

    I Am Your Nator Twin.
    <333 Inky

  4. Molli Moran

    Ugh, well, lacking world-building is a huge gripe I tend to have with sci-fi/dystopian novels. The world-building has to be GREAT, and really pull me in or the book as a whole isn’t one I’ll ultimately love. I’ve read some good and some so-so reviews of this one. Sorry you didn’t love it, Jessi!

  5. I’m bummed the world building wans’t that great, it is a huge part of building a great novel. I’m glad that overall you enjoyed it though and that it was an original concept! I’m still pretty excited to read this =)

  6. I have been dying to read this book, it sounds different then a lot of other books I have read! Thanks for the honest review but 3 out of 4 is Not bad per say! Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  7. This is my next read and from the reviews I’ve heard so far, it’s going to be pretty average :/

    Bad world building? Bah… I really hate books without that.

    So I thought it’d be cool to highlight the yellow thingy becuase I’m like that and ALMOST read what it said, BUT seriously, that thing is cool and fun :D (me being totally normal)
    Another stunning review, Jessi!


    I heard about this one during Epic Reads ARC Party! It sounds like it could be a really good read! :)

  9. Ashley Rogers

    I have heard a lot about this book. It has such a unique synopsis that drew me straight in. What really caught my eye was the amazing cover! I am sad to hear that there is not that great of a world built. It hate when such a great concept falls short ):! With that being said, I am big on relating to the characters in the book. If I cannot connect with them, the book falls through for me. I am hoping that when I read this it clicks for me and doesn’t fall short of my hopes. Thanks for your amazing review!

  10. phantasmicreads

    I’ve heard a little bit about Arclight. Thanks for the honest, thoughtful review. I’m still on the fence about reading it, but maybe someday. :)

  11. Tara

    I’m on the fence about this one also, so maybe I’ll just place it towards the bottom of my TBR pile!

  12. I’ve heard so many great things about this book. The idea behind it definitely sounds original and unlike anything I’ve read lately. I really want to read it and I hope I’m not disappointed. The Fade sounds really interesting and creepy.

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