Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Title: Meridian
Author: Josin L. McQuein
Series: Arclight, book #2
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Source: ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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Marina thought that she had solved all of the Arclight’s mysteries. She had found her own history—that she was one of the Fade, that she never should have been human. She knows that the Fade who surround the Arclight don’t want to be the humans' enemies at all. She knows that the leader of those inside the Arc, Honoria Whit, never told the whole truth. But there is so much more that Marina is just discovering. There are more survivors out there. Only Marina—and her friends, all of whom have connections to the Fade they'd never known about—can lead her people to them. But there are also darker dangers, things that even the Fade fear. And Marina slowly realizes she may never have been “cured,” after all. The sequel to Arclight, Meridian is an intense, action-packed page-turner about the lines we draw between right and wrong, light and dark . . . and the way nothing is ever that black and white.

I'm just going to be upfront and say that if it's been awhile since you read Arclight, you're going to want to re-read it prior to picking up this sequel. Or listen to the audio like I did. Tara Sands is a solid narrator, and I enjoyed my re-listen as much as I enjoyed reading the novel the first time. Also, I feel like I should mention that this is now a series. When I read Arclight, I was under the impression that it was a stand-alone, and that's part of the reason I enjoyed it so immensely. I was impressed that the author could tell her science fiction tale in one book and leave it at that. I'm not upset that there's a sequel by any means because I definitely thought there was more story to tell at the end of the first book, but I do feel slightly disillusioned by it all. Especially after reading Meridian, thinking that at most this was a duology, only to come to that ending and realize that there has to be another book coming. I haven't seen anything official, and I'm not really complaining about this fact; I just believe it's always better to know what you're getting into when embarking on a story like this.

As I've said, I loved Arclight. I loved Marina and the Fade and discovering what importance each held to each other, as well as to the world after the fall of civilization. In Meridian, the tide has turned. The Fade are no longer the enemy the humans of the Arclight feared them to be. Instead, a far more destructive enemy lurks in the Dark, and it means to assimilate all who cross its path. With the Arclight down for that short period, it's decided its next target.

The Fade were creepy to me in the beginning, what with that click-clack Rue's claws made as he ghosted along the wall, but knowing what they are now makes them less so. Not true of this new presence. But it didn't affect me in the same way; it wasn't horror movie scary. It was simply the end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it, run-for-your-life kind of terror. There were lulls in the story for sure, but whenever these things were around, I couldn't turn the page fast enough, if only to get to the next scene so that they wouldn't be there.

So...new enemy...check. There were some other new characters, too, but they matter little in the scheme of things, so I'm just going to pretend like they never existed. What does matter in the long-run is the sheer volume of information we get regarding the days before, which we're privy to by way of none other than Honoria Jean Whit's journal. By providing the info this way, the author avoids one massive info dump, and it also serves to humanize Honoria when we all know she's done some pretty monstrous things along the way. I hated her character before, and I don't hate her any less now, but I do have a massive amount of respect for her.

Rue has also proven to be more than just a foil for Tobin's character. He is completely self-sacrificing, at least when it comes to Marina and what she wants. Which means he takes the safety of those in the Arclight very seriously, much to the chagrin of Tobin who just wants him to accept the loss of Cherish and accept that Marina is his. I'm okay with this love triangle. It feels legitimate, since Marina wasn't Marina when she was Rue's mate, and she wasn't Cherish when she fell for Tobin. And now, that dividing line isn't so divisive. Marina is Cherish and Cherish is Marina, and each feels pulled in a different direction, toward a different boy. I have to admit, I do lean more toward Rue as the better choice, especially after certain developments in this book. Rue and Tobin continually snipe at each other throughout this book, but Tobin is so worried about Marina returning to Rue, and he comes off as whiney a lot.

This is probably where I should mention that this novel is told from both Marina and Tobin's perspectives. And if the author's purpose in providing us with Tobin's point-of-view was to make us like him less, it worked for me. It's not that he's a bad guy. It's just that Rue makes so much more sense. Then again, I didn't get his perspective, so I only know what he broadcast, not what's going on with him internally. Still, actions speak louder than words, and considering Rue doesn't like human speech all that much, he takes a lot of action. I wished this book had only been told through Marina's eyes again like the first book. For one, I just didn't find each voice distinctive enough. For another, I just think it would have made for more cohesive story-telling, had we been left with the original narrator.

Especially since I really liked the direction the author took with Marina's character. She's really grown as a character, a much-needed change from who she was when we met her in the first book, when she barely knew herself, let alone anyone else. I love her tenacity, her willingness to go to bat for the Fade, and I love how now she could choose to live her life on either side of the Arclight because of who and what she is.

This sequel isn't perfect, but it held much of the same allure for me as the first book did. I found it nearly impossible to quit reading each night, desperate to know what would become of these former enemies, allied together in the face of a common foe. I also enjoyed how often morality was called into question, how nothing is ever as black and white as it seems, which is saying a lot when everyone thinks the shadows are out to get them. Like I said, so far this is only listed as a two-book series, but there is definitely room for more story. Meridian ends on the right note, a resounding call to arms, as the enemy is surely not done with the humans of the Arclight yet.

GIF it to me straight:
Creepy and somewhat terrifying at times, but so totally worth the nightmares. =)

About the author:

Josin L. McQuein was born and raised in Texas and can trace every place she's lived in by the movies that were filmed there. She currently lives with three crazy dogs in a town so small that the buffalo outnumber the people and things like subways and consistent internet service are creations of that far away fantasy land called "Civilization."

Find Josin:

Website | Twitter | FacebookGoodreads


  1. I didn't read book one yet, so I skipped reading the review so I wont get spoiled but I absolutely adore that gif. lol

  2. You know, I loved Arclight so very much. I'm scared to pick this book up! I have a copy staring at me but I've not had the heart to start it. I know that I need to reread the first and don't have the time. A friend of mine was not impressed with Meridian at all so that really freaked me out. so happy to see that you enjoyed it. I really think a reread is a must for this one. I was happy with it being the one book but like you I could always use a bit more. Great review!

  3. I've never read Arclight, but the creepy environment has me curious. Great review, Jen.

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