Archetype by M.D. Waters

Dutton Adults | Hardcover, 372 pages
Science Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

“Roughly a hundred years ago,
a civil war broke out and split the
United States right down the middle.
Women in the west live free, while the east
forces women at a young age into society as they see fit.
It’s slavery masked as a training center.”
– Chapter 41, page 325

This version of reality is somewhat comparable to The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood; but while Atwood’s world was clinical and sterile, Archetype relied heavily on computer technology. A lot of holograms and manipulation of the human biological structure; though, it virtually has the same concept: fertile women are scarce and portrayed as subservient species in the mercy of powerful, rich men. Young girls were raised in a training camp as good housewives if they were viable to give birth; or learn a trade if they were barren. Regardless, women were used, abused, and in most cases, [spoiler] cloned [end of spoiler]. This book could’ve easily been a source of much indignation from readers who have had it with this portrayal of misogynistic arches. Luckily, I am not one of those readers.

Archetype utilizes varied virtual reality scenarios, which puts the readers’ imagination into full calisthenics mode. And while the world described in a simulation was easy to conjure, it made for an interesting contrast to the present world the characters inhabit. As much as I’d love to say this didn’t present any problem for me at all, I would be lying. The truth is, some of these simulations confused me. Suffice it to say, this is the only flaw I could fault this novel. Otherwise, it’s by far, one of the best books I’ve read this year!

Emma Burke struggled to find purchase in the world where her memories dictated the pace of discovering her identity. It led to some disturbing nightmares – both in waking moments or asleep. She struggled to reconcile the reality that was being presented to her with the man who claimed to be her husband, and the man in her dreams. [spoiler] Many would take Declan Burke at face value and would instantly write off Noah Tucker as the evil one in the equation. [end of spoiler] The beauty of this puzzling piece is that the readers would be wholly immersed in its mysteries; heck, the entire novel would take you on a fact-finding mission that was breathtaking as it was engrossing. As a reader who finds no love, rhyme, or reason for love triangles, this book features one that was unconventional. It worked; it wasn’t maddening. It was reasonable due to the fact that Emma didn’t purposely sought out to enter a relationship with such complications. Simply put, she was not aware that she was in one.

Readers would find the submissive Emma a little off-putting at first, but she becomes stronger as she learns more about herself.

To summarize, words cannot express how desperately I want you all to read this book. If there ever is a book that I have wanted to re-read soon after I was finished, Archetype, is it. The layers of mysteries would have you hooked, as would the revelation of the real romance  towards the end. This is a well-crafted novel that successfully combined Science Fiction, Romance, Mystery and Suspense. If this is not a buffet, then it is a feast to the reader’s imagination at the very least.

On a personal note, I broke down and re-activate an Edelweiss account that I haven’t used since perhaps, two years ago. Rachel of Readers’ Den told me the sequel is available for request. There is NOTHING. NOTHING that I wouldn’t do to read that book right away.


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  • Oh it sounds really interesting and original. The world and the mystery look amazing! And I’m glad you enjoyed it that much, I’m so impressed by your review and your enthousiasm. Now I want to try it as well. Thank you lady!

  • Ee, high praise! Now I think I’m going to have to get a copy. This just sounds so intriguing and to hear that you immediately wanted to reread and are so desperate for a sequel just sell it even more. Great review Joy!

  • It’s been a looooong time since I read a truly gripping, edge-of-the-seat thriller, so the layers of complexity both to the plot of this novel and the personalities of its characters is a definite plus. I’ll have to pick this one up very soon for sure! 🙂

  • Zoe

    Oh wow! I haven’t heard of this before, but goodness! I’m certainly intrigued! <3 I'm a huge sci-fi / dystopia fan, so I'm definitely going to have to check this out. The premise reminds me somewhat of Anna Carey's Eve trilogy, which I really liked, so I hope this is just as good. Thanks for sharing Joy and, as always, BRILLIANT review! Gah! So glad you enjoyed it so much! <3

  • I am so glad that you ended up thoroughly enjoying this book Joy! I sort of assumed that it wouldn’t be for me, but the more praising reviews that I read for it, the more I want to give it a go. More so though because I’m intrigued about how the love triangle actually worked! Fab review lovely! I hope you get your hands on a copy of Prototype soon!

    • Jas! You must. Must. Must read this! I’m sure you’ll love it too. 🙂

  • Not my type of read, but I have to admit it does sound good! I’m glad you enjoyed it so much. 🙂

  • Oh, really? I remember seeing this book when it was available on EW, but didn’t request it as it didn’t really sound like something I would enjoy…but maybe I should check it out after all. I’m glad you enjoyed this one so much. Margaret Atwood is one of my all-time favorite authors, so I’m always intrigued when comparisons are made. I’m glad you loved this. Great review!

    • Definitely different kind of writing style, but the world in itself sounds so alike. I hope you’ll get the chance to read this one, Natalie. I’d love to read your thoughts. 🙂

  • Aw, I’m so glad you loved this book Joy 😀 One of the best books this year? That is awesome 😀 I am unsure about it. Though you do make it sound amazing. <3 Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • This is probably not going to be a “Carina-book”. It lacks the sweetness you require. 🙂

      • Ack. I do need some sweetness. But I do trust you; so won’t read more about the book, hih ;p but just happy you loved it 🙂

  • I absolutely agree! Wonderful review. Loved Archetype and loved Prototype, which I just finished last night (& I so wanted more after!!!). I think the line Emma has to walk to figure out her place in the world is very interesting and it’s very well written – one of the better series I’ve read recently. 🙂

    • Thanks, Victoria. I loved your review as well. I’m so jealous you got to read Prototype already. I got declined on Edelweiss. :'(

  • Brilliant review, Joy! I’m so sorry you got declined from Edelweiss *shakes fist*!! Ahhh!! I hope the book is at the BEA or that you can get Prototype in some other way. 🙂

    • I know! *cries* I’ve entered the contest on her website, so wish me luck. I really hope I’ll win. *fingers crossed*

  • LOL! I love that you liked this one so much you reactivated your account, that is awesome!

    • 🙂 That’s how much I wanted the book. Lol.

  • Good luck on your eARC request Joy! I gave never been approved on edelweiss *sniff* but then again you have been blogging and reviewing way longer than I have so you’ll get it for sure 🙂

    This is actually the first I’ve heard of this book but the fact that you gave it 5 stars means a lot. I will definitely be adding this on my wishlist! And I honestly don’t think I’ve read anything like this before! Great review!

    • 🙁 I got declined. Have you ever wanted a book so badly you will be willing to do ANYTHING for a copy? Yeah.

  • Woah this is a super passionate review Joy! I love how this novel is full of mysteries! I was unsure of it at first but if you love it, and the combination of sci-fi and romance does sound pretty amazing. Thank you for the great review!

    • Yeah, very few Sci-Fi/Romance books work for me, but Ms. Waters managed to wow me. 🙂

  • This is the first time I read about this one. I’m reading it after I finish the book I’m reading. It sounds really good!

    • Oh I hope you’ll like it, Beth. What are you reading? 🙂

  • Oh my, I want to read this one already! The virtual simulations sound a little like Divergent’s fear simulations. I think that quote your provided at the beginning is so powerful, how can a country be split like that. At first I couldn’t comprehend it, but then Korea popped into my mind. Wonderful review Joy, adding this to my TBR list asap!

    • Well, the ones used here did not induce fear, though. Just difficult to tell when the real world ends and the virtual reality begins. This is really a fantastic book, Joy. I hope you’ll read it. 🙂