I received this book for free from Publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Meridian by Josin L. McQuein
Series: Arclight #2
Published by Greenwillow Books on May 27th, 2014
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
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.
When I read Arclight last year, I enjoyed it immensely. I’ll be the first to admit it was one of my favorite debuts of the year. The writing was vivid and beautiful, and the story was unique and haunting. However, almost a year later, my interest in the series has sadly waned. Meridian definitely did not live up to its prequel.
First off, I will say in all fairness that I could hardly remember anything that happened in Arclight. And yes, my memory is not the best, but it was truly a unique case in the extent to which all memory of Arclight had faded. While its story is unique and intricate, it’s told in a vague, embellished manner that does not exactly keep its events at the forefront of your memory. Some things that happened I could piece together from clues in the first few chapters of Meridian, but be warned that it would be better to re-read Arclight before attempting Meridian.
So that might have been my fault, but what is not my fault is that right after reaching the end of this book, I could honestly not tell you what happened in it. That’s not to say that nothing happened. I just don’t get why. what. how. when. HUH?! I tried following along to the best of my ability, but I just didn’t get it, and I’m not sure I can aptly explain why. Meridian picks up right after Arclight left off. Marina is now aware of Cherish, her previous Fade self, who is also still residing in her mind, and the Arclight is patching itself back up after the climax of the previous book. Now… from what I can gather, there are two types of Fade. The Fade like Rue are actually not evil, and though they live separately from the humans, they mean them no harm. On the other hand, Meridian introduces another type of Fade that has the good Fade frightened. They call it the Darkness, and it threatens to destroy everything.
At the beginning of this far too long novel, this evil Fade, the “Darkness” has infected a couple of kids from the Arclight. They move to quarantine the infection and try to find out more about the Darkness from the Fade. And then… stuff happens. Which I really don’t get. Honoria (who I’m pretty sure was evil in the last book, but okay) decides they need to embark on a mission of some sort, because somehow they find some signal that there might be life at this school building outside of the Arclight. Why couldn’t they just leave it be and stay in the safety of the light? Why force yourself into the Darkness which you’ve now clearly seen is harmful to you? I DON’T FUCKING KNOW.
So they go there. And things happen. And there’s some people. And there’s a battle. And then darkness attacks them. … I don’t know guys. This book is just a series of events thrown together, and I can’t for the life of me seem to connect the dots. It doesn’t help that I was under the impression that this was a duology, and that this would then be the conclusion of the series. It’s NOT. This is at least a trilogy, so I can also safely say that Meridian suffers heavily from middle book syndrome. Arclight had a clear story arc, which I appreciated, but it did leave a lot of unanswered questions about the world building and such. Meridian just completely ignores all those questions and just serves to confuse you even more. And when you’ve finally reached the end of the 450 pages, you’re met with the kind of ending like, “This is not the end. The war is coming.” BUT WHY? HUH? WHAT? WHAT HAPPENED? I DON’T GET IT DUDEWTFBBQ.
And if the plot did not confuse you enough, the storytelling definitely will. Meridian is told from the alternate perspectives of Marina and Tobin. This doesn’t help, because they don’t have distinctive voices, but the worst part of all is the NAMES. I don’t know why, but the author apparently feels like she needs to show a variety in word choice in the names she uses. So one character, within five pages, is referred to as “Dominique”, “‘Nique”, “Anne-Marie’s mom”, and “Mrs. Johnston”. Almost every secondary character has at least 3 names they are referred to by, depending on whether it’s from Marina or Tobin’s perspective, or just completely at random, because why not. Guys. I already had enough trouble trying to remember who these people were from the first book. This is NOT HELPING.
And the only thing that possibly could have saved this vaguey mess of a novel for me – the romance – was completely insufferable. A love triangle developed in Arclight and the wrong ship set sail. Rue, in this book, is freaking Rue-tastic, the only good part of this entire book, and even though Marina for whatever reason did not choose him, he’s a protective, supportive badass. Tobin meanwhile is a whiney whiney bitch, all too insecure about Marina’s feelings for Rue, putting Rue down any chance he gets. And Marina tells him a million times not to worry, she chose him. But why? I get absolutely zero feels for this romance. It’s boring. It’s bland. It’s whiney. And there’s no hope for the right ship. Tobin can GDIAF.