Blinded By The Light (+Giveaway)

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My son (who is 9) is almost debilitatingly afraid of the dark. At first I thought this was a result of mine (and his fathers) relentless need to torture him with stories about Bloody Mary when he was only 7. (Yes, we deserve awards for being fantastic parents.) But recently I realized something. He’s not necessarily afraid of the “dark” it’s the “unknown” that actually troubles him. With the lights ON he can assess. Formulate. Internally plan his next move (whether it be get a glass of water, or tie his shoes.) But when the lights go out? His surroundings become instantly less familiar…unknown. Without the knowledge of what is directly in front of him, he panics.

As we get older, our fear of the dark itself usually (not always) dissipates, but not the fear of the unknown. It’s there, and  much like our childhood fear of the dark it finds a way to manifest itself.

In McQuein’s novel Arclight, light, dark, and the inability to accept change (or the unknown) is what drives the characters in their journey. Hinders or helps their general existence. Yes, it is a YA novel, but sometimes it takes fresh unbiased minds (like those of a teenager) to make the biggest impact. Tell the most relevant story. Teach the most important lesson.

Arclight’s lesson: things are not always as they appear.

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?

As a self-admitted dystopian whore, you’d be surprised by my excitement when I realized (a few chapters in) that Arclight is NOT a dystopian novel. Despite its bones being set in a destructed world, and the characters civilization being based (or formed) around a strict precedence of “never ever get caught in the dark” McQuein’s very first leap into the wide world of  literature is actually a science-fiction thriller with a creepy horror kick. A science-fiction thriller that I read in 1 sitting. (All 403 pages of it.)

Why?

Because it was incredibly original, which…is slightly hard to come by these days. Especially when it comes to young female protagonists trying to “find themselves.” So what set this one apart from all of the other attempts currently out there for your reading pleasure? Simple…the intensity.

McQuein chose to leave her characters blind. Not in the literal sense (though it wouldn’t have made much of difference through-out the majority of the plot.) but instinctually. Marina (the lead in this little story) has zero idea who she is. She can see, hear and adapt to things others can’t, but she has no recollection of a past. Her appearance is sudden, and soiled by death. So she becomes an outcast. Not by choice, but by situation. Tobin (her counterpart) knows who he is instinctually, but not emotionally. He rages against his circumstances without really understanding them, and makes choices based entirely on gut feelings. Separately they are rather bland. Almost predictable, but together they range from toxic to intoxicating. Pushing and pulling at each-other like magnets. Which is quite perfect for the situation they find themselves in, which happens to be face to face with the dark, or more accurately…a Fade, who is the villain in this story. (Or is he…?)

With the introduction of the Fade comes both the creepy and the science that drives this story into “unknown” territory. Forcing the characters to explore, question and doubt everything they have ever been taught. This is also the point when the readers skin will begin to crawl.

“Whatever I knew is gone. Thoughts don’t matter anymore. Neither do headaches, double vision, or the light show going off inside my brain. The wall beside Tobin’s head shimmers, moving with grace and precision only possible for a living thing. It’s crawling toward the floor with an all-too-familiar click-clack I wish I could blame on my meds. I take one shaky step, and like before, my movement makes the Fade move. A fraction of a turn, the smallest shift in the way it distributes its weight, and it’s out of sight. Click-clack. Click-clack. It’s happening again, only I’m not asleep this time, and I’m not alone.”

Now, while I’d like go on to explain the science, or at the very least how completely, beautifully, screwed up the plot gets with the introduction of the Fade, I’m going to refrain. Not because I’m feeling inadequate at the tasks (though that may be at least 1% of the problem) but because of the way in which McQuein lays out her plot (and explains the intricacies of nano-bots.) McQuein is very detailed. She is also very sneaky. I didn’t realize until the last 30% (when I was lying on the floor in a puddle of snot and saltwater) just how taken in I actually was. This is entirely due to plotting techniques. Revealing secrets at certain times, throwing curve balls at others. Though the ending wasn’t all that big of a surprise, the slightest spoiler will likely ruin a spectacular experience. Which I’m not a big fan of.

So I leave you with this…

Arclight is one of a kind. Blending science, spook and heart it is bound to mesmerize you from the very first chapter. Well worth your hard-earned money.

Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: a name does not make you…your heart does.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Overall: 4.5

 

  The Giveaway

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About Misty

Your friendly neighborhood narcissist. I'm sarcastic, cynical and a bit cranky. I own a soap box so big that sometimes I have difficulty stepping down off of it, and I'm about 94% certain I have multiple personalities. I don't sleep enough, and I read more than any person should ever consider normal. I have anger management issues, especially when I'm stuck in traffic and I have an unhealthy obsession with my Kindle. I am a vampire lovin', zombie obsessed, book-in-hand, iPod freak. You either love me or hate me. You be the judge.

6 thoughts on “Blinded By The Light (+Giveaway)

  1. Oh yes, a little science in the creepy makes it even creepier LOL adds that tiny touch of what if? Thank you for sharing with us and for this treat of a giveaway.

  2. I love these kinds of books! But sadly for me I never win giveaways on blogs 🙁 BUT I will always keep on trying! Lol Happy Reading everyone.
    ~Samantha

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