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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Meridian by Josin McQuein

A quick heads-up:  Meridian is the sequel to Arclight.  You can read my review of Arclight HERE, and there may be slight spoilers for Arclight in the review below.

When Meridian opens, the Arclight community is relatively stable.  Folks are back to somewhat regular routines.  Anne-Marie is now a teacher, Tobin is a perimeter guard, and Marina works in the Arbor.  Everyone knows now what Marina was, and what she is now, and most are ok with it.  At least they tolerate her.  And Marina is discovering that she may not have been 100% "cured" anyway.  For about 8 pages, the reader thinks that things may have finally settled down in the Arclight.  Marina even seems moderately happy when working in the Arbor, and with Tobin.

Then everything goes nuts again.  Of course!  It wouldn't be a very exciting book if Marina and Tobin and Anne-Marie simply grew up and lived happily ever after, right?  Before you can blink an eye, Tobin and Marina start having horrible, horrible nightmares.  In them, the Fade form a flood and drown them.  Anne-Marie's brother, Silver, and Dante all start to turn Fade.  What is going on?  The Fade are supposed to be somewhat neutral now- they keep to their own place in the Dark, but they're not active enemies, either.  So why are people starting to turn again?  How are the Fade even getting into the Arclight, with the perimeter back up and running?

This is a NONSTOP book.  Every time you start to think that the characters have the next challenge figured out, NOPE.  There they go again- change in plan, change in challenge.  In Arclight, they thought they'd figured out the Fade in general- turns out (in Meridian) that there might actually be an even bigger threat.  One that even the Fade they know are frightened of.  On a positive, there might also be other human survivors out there.  I'm reflecting back on the book this evening, and I don't think that any of the main characters sleep at all for the last 2/3 of the book.  That's how much action is in there!

(On sort of a side note to all the action... a coworker recently challenged all of us to come up with a list of YA books that don't involve romance.  While Tobin and Marina definitely care about each other, there is absolutely no time for any romance in this book.  I think there was one quick kiss.  No handholding, no declarations of love, no monologues about how beautiful the other is.)

As I wrote in my review of Arclight, Marina is a difficult character to connect to/empathize with.  It took me most of Arclight to start to empathize with her, and I never really came around to fully liking her.  Same in Meridian... maybe she's just hard to read?  But her actions and words never came across as very emotionally available.  She comes across very cold and indifferent.  Perhaps also there's just too much going on.  Only half of the chapters are from her point of view (the other half are from Tobin's), and there's so much plot going on that character development takes a backseat.  I couldn't even physically describe most of the secondary characters to you, they're so underdeveloped.

On the plus side- lots of plot!  As I mentioned, tons of action.  There's also plenty of description of setting.  Y'all, this is a very dark book.  Literally.  Most of it takes place at night, of course, and the characters are being pursued/attacked by clouds and swarms of dark nanites.  These are described as being black, like grains of iron, that drip off of the Fade and off of the trees and puddle in the ground.  I'm so glad that the author spends time on description.  The whole theory of sentient nanites that can be in a person's blood or in their skin, or even operate independently, is so foreign to my worldview that I needed the descriptions to be able to picture it at all.  There is, however, very little explanation of the theory or origin of the nanites in Meridian; you'll need to read Arclight first to understand.

Overall, not a bad read.  I definitely flew through it, because I couldn't put it down in the midst of all the action!  However, there was very minimal character development or growth, so that takes a few half-stars off my rating.  Also, the ending really feels like it sets up a third book, but the author's website makes no mention of any more Arclight books.  Bummer!

Marie[inlinkz_linkup id=611473]

Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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