Where to start with Arclight?
I fell immediately in love with the story, the characters, the plot, the setting. The only flaw was the love story, it was too predictable and obvious for my liking. Though to give credit where it's due the love story didn't impede on the pace of the story, my love of the characters themselves or the way the story read.
McQuein has a lyrical gripping way with words that sucks you into the story and make it very hard to leave the story even for a little break. Her whole plot is unique and original from the setting to the characters within the story; you won't find yourself comparing the leading girls or the 'villains'.
Arclight explored many themes but the one that stood out for me, maybe because it was the most prominent and obvious, was light vs dark, good vs bad. Arclight really explored what happens when people don't question what they have been told, when they assume that the bad is really 'bad', it told the typical story of the bad really being the good, or at least less corrupt, than the good had become. Confusing I know, but I can't think I can put it any better! It also explored the issue of identity, which centred around the main character Marina, who through a series of circumstances (which I can't disclose as it would spoil it for you) has to question who she is, and whether she should really be that person. For me Marina as a character came to the wrong decision and I think McQuein could have done a lot more with the situation she created, and it felt like she chose the easy way out, and the way that would make it easier for her to write the second novel, I.E. from a human point of view rather than a Fade.
'I take his face in both my hands, testing the temperature of his skin, the way it feels under my fingertips to see if there's any movement besides his pulse - anything to prove this is Tobin, and not some Fade-riddled imposter.'
Arclight is based in a post-apocalyptic world after a terrifying race of monsters called the Fade have taken over the world. The Arclight is the last refuge for the human survivors, but only as long as they remain in the light. The connotation of the pure human with the light and the 'evil' contaminated Fade with the Dark lended the novel a sense of thrill and danger, as I don't know about you but I'm always a little afraid of the Dark and the monsters hiding in the shadows. McQuein cleverly used the setting to instill the senses of right and wrong, good and bad, and also when the perception of the Fade began to change McQuein managed to make the oppressive Dark a thing of beauty, no mean feat!
The characters are all brilliant to follow, I felt like McQuein played on the fact they were only young and teenagers well throughout the novel as it always infuriates me when the leads are ridiculously self assured, brave and omniscient despite the fact they are in impossible situations. Basically McQuein made them easy to relate to and believe in. The main characters are the confused loner Marina, the only girl to appear alive from the Dark, Tobin, the angry messed up fiercely protective kid, Anne-Marie the only human willing to give the 'freak' Marina a chance and a hand of friendship, and Rue the misunderstood boy from the wrong side of the Light. Together these guys form a gang that we follow through the novel, though Rue is a slight exception, and I look forward to seeing them again in the next installment of Arclight.
Arclight is a good chance to indulge yourself in a more than decent dystopian post-apocalyptic novel of a ..... wait for it..... DECENT LENGTH!!! No stupidly quick ends from this one! And is well worth the trouble. Amazon.co.uk offer it for the bargain price of £5.57 or the amazingly cheap price of £3.84 on the Kindle. It's published by Egmont and please read the guest post by Josin L. McQuein on this blog as well as it gives you a little taster of what Arclight can offer: http://justthisteenager.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/blog-tour-josin-l-mcquein.html It earns a 5 star and would have been more if not for the slightly unexciting, too predictable, love story. (Although it had its fair share of twists and turns I knew who Marina would choose halfway through the book - however do not let that detract you from Arclight!)