Moving on from the Honoria Whit and Mr. Pace, we come to the last few adults featured regularly in both Arclight and Meridian.
In Arclight, the colonel is the father Tobin refuses to give up on. He's the facility's head of security, and the man who made the final decision to have Mr. Pace shuttle Marina inside while the rest of those who went in search of her stayed behind to guard their escape. He's later found living in the Fade settlement outside human territory, having been saved by the Fade from the injuries he acquired in the fight over Marina. The process of healing him has left his eyes silver, making him appear Fade-touched to those who don't know him
In Meridian, that silver hasn't abated - a fact which still causes friction between him and Tobin. Only, now Tobin's fears have shifted more to whether people will ostracize his father for no reason. Also, with Honoria locked down in the lower levels, the colonel's responsibilities as a community leader have increased.
Like the other adults, Col. Lutrell has been keeping secrets that he believes will protect his family, only to have them exposed under the worst of circumstances.
Not often shown in Arclight, the lieutenant is a young officer who rarely finds the nerve to speak back at his superiors. He's given orders; he follows them. Simple enough, only nothing's ever actually simple inside the Arclight.
In Meridian, we find that his past and the others are intertwined in unique ways - none more so that Honoria's.
The facility's main physician, Dr. Wolff is the man responsible for keeping Marina in the dark about her true origins throughout Arclight. This has caused Marina not to trust him completely now that she knows the truth about the process used to turn her human. He's an older man with a subtle authority that he rarely exercises, except at times where a cool head is needed for intervention.
Obviously in YA the teens are stars of the show, but there's still an adult presence nearby to create the sense of authority that's often at odds with the main characters. With Arclight, there are a few adults who have a real impact on every day life for the teen heroes:
In Arclight, Honoria was the facility's leader, as well as the oldest known citizen. An imposing woman in both size and demeanor, she was battle hardened and absolutely ruthless in her resolve to protect the people under her charge - which was pretty much everyone.
Stand-offish at best, and outright antagonistic at worst, her history proves to be longer and more complicated than any of the main characters could have imagined. And as the layers of lies she's told are stripped away, it becomes clear that ruthless isn't an overstatement. She will literally do anything she thinks gives mankind an edge over the Fade, even if it means kidnapping, lying, or abandoning a handful of her own people and friends to a fate they believe worse than death.
And speaking of death, she's not above murder, either. Not if she thinks the person being killed no longer qualifies as human. For this, and after nearly killing one of the Arclight's children, she was stripped of her authority at the end of the novel, but the others were left with the sad realization that there was no real punishment they could hand out beyond that.
When Meridian picks up, she's living in a sort of self-imposed exile to her rooms in the Arclight-below, but when new events require her unique knowledge of the past (specifically the world before the Fade) following Honoria's lead may be the only choice the humans have left.
Both teacher and protector, Mr. Pace was one of the people who went into the Grey when Marina was discovered. He's the one who brought her inside the Arclight. But when he's not assigned a rifle, he's one of the teenagers' instructors, making sure their lives are more than base survival.
Throughout Arclight, other pieces of his life came into play. He's the father of Marina's best friend, Anne-Marie, and Anne-Marie's brother, though neither call him "Dad." He's also one of the few who will go toe-to-toe with Honoria when she's out of line, eventually earning him the position of one of the few adults Marina trusts.
In Meridian, the family ties are explored in more detail, as Anne-Marie's family is a key part of the story. To both girls' surprise he's a man with secrets of his own, the kind that could make them question everything they know to be true. And for Mr. Pace, he finds that protecting the Arclight is a lot simpler than protecting his own.
In Arclight, his role was pretty much defined by and confined to his relationship to his little sister. He stayed behind to protect her and her friends during the first siege of the Arclight, even though it put him at risk to do so.
He was the means through which Marina first saw how seriously the adults in the compound took exposure to the Fade. He was brought into the hospital with severe burns, and she was horrified to hear that the burns had been intentionally inflicted to "protect" him from the Fade. Later in the story, Trey was the one that allowed people to see that there might be more to the Fade than they realized when one healed his wounds.
His role in Meridian stems from those two points of contact with the Fade, and is larger than the one he had in Arclight. The repercussions of his exposure to the Fade serve as the catalyst for Meridian's main storyline. He brings up new questions about the nature of the creatures that destroyed the world, as well as leading the characters down paths that may answer their greatest question -- are they the last people left alive.
Claustrophobic and given to speaking far too quickly, Anne-Marie is also fierce and brave, willing to risk her own safety to protect those she cares about. In Arclight, it was Anne-Marie who first approached Marina when no one else dared. She was the one who stuck with her, keeping Marina from being completely isolated. When Marina was assumed kidnapped by the Fade, Anne-Marie was the one who followed, despite her own fears, so that Tobin wouldn't be on his own against the Dark. Despite a lifetime of programming, she was the one who led the rest of her classmates to bring down the Arc and let the Fade inside.
She's a mix of optimist and pessimist, hyper-active and calm, and all she really wants out of life is to become a teacher like her father. And there's no one better to have watching your back.
In Meridian, she's well on her way to achieving the life she's worked for, still living it with her unique "big picture" view of the world. A view that means she makes some decisions that might not make sense to her friends in the short-term. And when not only her friends, but her family, are threatened, she has to make a few that might not even make sense to her. The fallout from those decisions will change the course of her life and make her question everything she ever believed about herself.
It may seem strange to list Cherish as a separate character. She is, after all, Marina's alter ego - the Fade-girl she was before she became human. In Arclight, it seemed like Cherish was the closest Rue could come to defining all of the abstracts that comprised how she was addressed by the Fade.
To him, she was cherished, so it's what he called her. For Marina, Cherish's life was the one she tried so hard to remember.
But that was Arclight. In Meridian, things are a little different. There's still only one Marina, but she's got two very different voices in her head. The memories that had belonged to Cherish still exist, but they haven't integrated into the rest of her thoughts. Cherish keeps herself apart, often displaying a will of her own. She can choose to cooperate with Marina, or - more often - antagonize her.
Marina's still trying to carve a life out for herself, while Cherish just wants to go home. It's not really a spoiler, as the dynamic exists from the first few pages, but Marina's got more than an external fight on her hands. She's also got the one against herself because two consciousnesses can't split the same life, and in her human mind if she allows Cherish a place, then she'll lose control of her own body. So she's left with the conundrum of having to not only fight herself, but also a stranger who knows everything about her.
Continuing on with the Arclight recap in preparation for Meridian's release this month, we come to the other male main character - the decidedly not human Rue.
First off, Rue is not actually his name, because as someone who was born in a Fade body, he doesn't have the kind of name that can be spoken in human terms. The Fade - all of the Dark, really - are a hive mind, so his name is a series of associations and impressions having to do with his relationship to the Dark and those in it. Marina named him "Rue" because he told her he was "Rueful." He was attempting an apology, but as it was the first concrete word she had to attach to him, it stuck.
What can you say about Rue as a character? He's fierce, and loyal, and has a sense of life that's not necessarily optimistic, but certain. He believes that things are set into a specific order, and does everything he can to maintain that order.
A big part of that order is a Fade-girl he refers to as Cherish. She was captured by the humans in the Arclight, and he's willing to move heaven and earth to get her back. Unfortunately, it's not heaven or earth standing in his way - it's biology. Cherish has been fundamentally altered, becoming human against her will, and now existing in a form that can't survive in the Dark or among the Fade as she did before.
Going into Meridian, we find that while it appeared Rue bowed out at the end of Arclight, that's not necessarily the case. Likewise, Cherish isn't as "gone" as Marina thought her to be. Rue isn't the type to give up, and when a new danger appears on the horizon, he's right there by Marina's side, still ready to fight for what he believes in.
Next up in my pre-Meridian Arclight primer, is the human, male main character -- Tobin.
Tobin did not start off as an easy guy to like when Arclight started. In fact, Marina was fairly certain he hated her, but in his mind, he had good reason. She cost him his father, the only parent he had left.
Ironically, when things got dangerous, his father was the same reason that Tobin jumped to Marina's defense. He knew that's what his dad would have done, and he wasn't about to lose Marina after his dad fought so hard to bring her safely into the Arclight. That grudging alliance transitioned into necessary trust, and then began to deepen into something more.
In Meridian, Tobin is the first voice you'll hear as a reader. About a quarter of the chapters are from his POV, allowing you to see some places and occurrences that Marina's not a part of, as well as giving you insight into what he really thinks about people - both Fade and human. I've not done this before, but the second POV was added in edits, so we'll see how it works.
His temper and reckless streak are still causing him problems, but both are under-girded by a fierce loyalty to his friends and family that make him a force to be reckoned with if either comes under attack. And when it comes down it, that protective reflect just might extend to a person or two he never believed he'd choose to save.
The girl with no family, memory, or speakable name is the main character and narrative voice of Arclight. For Meridian, she's one of two narrators.
Assumed to be human, she was reported found and rescued in the Grey - the buffer zone between the Arclight and the Dark. Her arrival through the Arclight into a kind of chaos they hadn't known in generations, as she was the first survivor brought inside in decades. She gave the humans hope that there was a way to survive - or even fight - the Fade, but also brought them closer to danger, as the Fade weren't letting her go easily.
But as Marina and her tentative ally Tobin unraveled the truth of her origin, it became clear that she wasn't rescued so much as she was kidnapped. Her memories hadn't been suppressed by trauma, but were being blocked by a chemical administered by the Arclight's medical staff on orders of the facility's leader: Honoria Whit.
In fact, she discovered that Marina wasn't even her name. Honoria gave her the name because "the marina" was where she was found and captured while still a Fade.
In Meridian, Marina is now dealing with the long term repercussions of her decision to stay with the humans, rather than return to the Fade. She believed herself incapable of living as a Fade in their territory, but as more of her memories resurface, she's reminded of everything she left behind. And when those memories take a nightmarish turn, her concern is for everything she has to lose - in both the Arclight and the Dark.
Marina will have to find a way to reconcile both sides of her personality if she's going to help her friends and family.
With MERIDIAN coming out later this month, I thought it might be prudent to do a recap for Arclight, since this is the sequel. It's been a year, and that's long enough for the details to fade. (no pun intended)
So here goes. I'll start with a sort of broad recap and then go on to more specific aspects on different days.
#1 - the Arclight.
Title, setting, and inanimate character of the first book.
Arclight is short for 'Arc of Light,' meaning the weave of high powered lamps that serve as a barrier against the darkness. It's the only known safe zone for humans left in the world, as creatures called the Fade have taken over pretty much everything else. Since these creatures are photophobic, and have violently adverse reactions to direct sunlight, the Arc functions as a wall.
The Arclight itself isn't a single building, but a military base where the Fade were developed as medical tools. In the early days of man's fall to the Fade, this base was the only facility with containment equipment rigged to handle the Fade, so it's where people from the surrounding areas were taken as refugees.
There are strict rules about when people are allowed outside of the buildings, and how far they can venture, though the younger citizens of the Arclight often challenge these boundaries. Inside, there are dormitory wings made up of apartments (for families) and single rooms (for people living alone). There's a common hall for meals; the kids have classrooms and nursery rooms for infants. Everything is arranged along a grid of colored lines to designate which sections are off-limits to those without security clearance.
Marina, the MC of Arclight discovers that there are also hidden sections to this facility that almost no one her age is aware of. The first such section - the Well - is the secret refuge of her nemesis-turned-ally Tobin. It's an interior courtyard specifically built to dampen the lights and keep the night sky visible, but the tunnel system used to reach it has been walled off in most places. One of the original doors is now located in Tobin's linen closet, and was a secret his father shared with him as a boy.
The second hidden sector is an underground facility that's at least as large as the one topside. This underground area consists of bunkers, for safety, but also the areas where the Arclight's food and clothing are stored. And most terrifyingly of all, it's the home of the White Room, the torture chamber where captive Fade are held under pain of intense lights to see what makes them tick.
That's just a quick recap, but hopefully it'll jog your memory well enough to get you back into the swing of the story. Tomorrow, we'll move on to Marina, the story's main character.
And one final note, for some reason people have gotten the idea that Arclight was a standalone, or that it and Meridian are a duology. That's never been the case. The books were always meant to be an oddly structured series. I hope to not only finish out Marina's story, but to also get the chance at a prequel, and cover Honoria's story of watching humanity fall to the Fade. So don't be surprised that there's more story to tell after Meridian.
I wanted to put a note up here to clarify one of MERIDIAN's details. For months, it's had different release dates showing up in different online databases. One of those dates has been causing the book to show up in several April release lists. I don't know how the double dating happened, but the correct release date is: MAY 27.
I'm sorry for those of you who saw the April date and thought it would be out this week. I didn't even know which date was correct until I double checked with my editor, or I would have made this post sooner.
That's all for now, but in a few days I'll be starting my pre-release posts. I think I'll do some "refresher" points from ARCLIGHT to catch people back up for MERIDIAN.
Yep, I'm still alive, despite the lack of bloggable evidence to that effect. My viking alter-ego Blogger the Terrible has returned and it took some serious bribery to get this post past her, but here goes.
Last week, I received a box of Meridian ARCs in the mail (That's the sequel to Arclight, for those of you who don't know.), and in celebration, I'm giving one away - YAY! But, I'm not ONLY giving away a copy of Meridian. I'm going to be giving away the ARC of Meridian, a hardback copy of Arclight, and a hardback copy of Premeditated! So, if you want 'em, shout it out in the comment section.
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