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Arclight

Arclight - Josin L. McQuein This review posted on The Midnight Garden. A harrowing sci-fi thriller about a teen who's survived horrors but lost her memory, for fans of Veronica Roth, Stephen King, and Justin Cronin.When I read that description, I actually groaned. Comparing anything to those authors is just as bad as every new dystopian being coined the next Hunger Games; it nearly always sets up the reader for disappointment. What could possibly live up to those standards?Well, Arclight kind of... does. It's got the dystopian feel of Divergent, the King creep-factor, and a serving of government experiment gone horribly wrong courtesy of Cronin. Marina woke up in the Arclight hospital, with no memory of how she got there. All she knows is what she's been told: they found her in the Grey, hiding from the Fades, and brought her back to the compound. She doesn't know who she is, or where she came from before that--no one does. The Arclight trains its children to fear the dark, but I can't fear the familiar. Darkness is all I know, and the passing weeks don't change that. I don't remember a world before the fluke of my survival was deemed a miracle.I don't feel like a miracle. I feel like a scared and lost little girl who doesn't remember her way home. As far as anyone in the Arclight knows, they're the only remaining survivors of the Fade, the vicious parasites who live in the dark and prey on humans, using their bodies as hosts. Or are they? When a Fade is captured and brought into the compound for observation and research, Marina senses that not everything is what it seems.Arclight is full of twists and turns, and while I did figure out where we were headed fairly early on, the end was still a surprise for me, which is hard to accomplish. McQuein built a solid world, and gave a depth to her characters that had me consistently changing my opinions. But what I enjoyed more than anything was the grey area she developed between good and evil, right and wrong. Dystopian/post-apocalyptic stories were what first drew me to YA, and my interest has yet to wane. But even so, I've been tiring of the same post-war/natural disaster, or social experiment gone wrong scenarios. With the addition of a sci-fi element, Arclight brings a refreshing change to the genre--one that tip-toes over the line of plausibility, but still has you asking yourself what if?