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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