Archetype by M.D. Waters
Published by Dutton in 2014
Genre: Science Fiction
I am SO GLAD that I just read this book, and get to review it, after my last review was such a shit show.
Archetype was featured in my earlier post, Dollar Dollar Tree, Y’all! Yes, that’s right, I bought this book at the Dollar Tree. For a dollar. That makes me so. Effing. Happy. (Especially now that I know how much I love it. I will happily pay full price for the sequel).
I also want to start with a caveat, which is that it will be really hard to do this without spoilers! If I get vague, I’m sorry. I promise I’m just trying to preserve the magic for you.
The Goodreads Description:
Emma wakes in a hospital, with no memory of what came before. Her husband, Declan, a powerful, seductive man, provides her with new memories, but her dreams contradict his stories, showing her a past life she can’t believe possible: memories of war, of a camp where girls are trained to be wives, of love for another man. Something inside her tells her not to speak of this, but she does not know why. She only knows she is at war with herself.
Suppressing those dreams during daylight hours, Emma lets Declan mold her into a happily married woman and begins to fall in love with him. But the day Noah stands before her, the line between her reality and dreams shatters.
In a future where women are a rare commodity, Emma fights for freedom but is held captive by the love of two men—one her husband, the other her worst enemy. If only she could remember which is which. . . .
Our narrator, Emma, is so realistically developed throughout. Her reactions to her uncertainty feel natural. (This is one area where spoilers would really help me make the point I want to make about why Emma is so great. But I won’t. Le sigh.)
I also want to say that the author does something that is pretty hard to pull off. There are characters we love, really and thoroughly, that we end up hating, really and thoroughly. It is hard to make that transition. Generally, you get a vibe early on if a character is going to turn on you. Not the case here.
The writing itself is beautiful and eloquent. But possibly the most important thing for me, what made it so well-written, was spot on pacing. I started Archetype at six and didn’t put it down until I finished because the pacing was just so that I never had a stopping point I was really comfortable with. Every time I thought a question was answered, I had a new one and I had to know what was going to happen.
This is every writer’s dream, no? Force the reader to read long after they’d have put another book down. I would like to be asleep RIGHT NOW but I’m writing this with the book still fresh in my mind because I didn’t put the book down.
I am a person who likes my science fiction either really hard, or pretty soft. Archetype fell somewhere in the middle, and I was okay with that. It dealt with a lot of scientific concepts, none of which I will bring up because frickin’ frackin’ spoilers, but they were all believable and awesome. Probably because of…
Which, holy shit. THE SOCIAL ISSUES, Y’ALL. Emma’s world is a BAD time and place to be a woman. It’s made all the scarier by how it doesn’t feel all that far-fetched. Take this excerpt:
“I’m afraid you don’t have a choice. Birth control is illegal. Abortion is illegal, with a very severe punishment. Pregnancy is not a choice.”
This is the mildest example I could give you. Girls in the east live in actual “WTC’s”: woman training centers. I won’t go into more detail.
I will say that the terrible dystopia is delivered to us so slowly and with such finesse that at least five times I yelled out “Oh my god!” and I threw around “What the dick?!” also as I continued to learn just how bad this place was.
Archetype to fans of science fiction or anyone who wants to examine the slippery slope surrounding women’s rights and where we could easily be headed.
Here is a link in case you’d like to purchase Archetype through Amazon! *I only link up books I’d give 5 stars and believe in 100%*
What About You?
What’s the last book you read in one sitting?
*Note: My reviews are full of opinions. I may love a book. May want to marry it like the kid in the commercial for Peanut Butter Crunch (1999 was a great year for cereal and commercials, look it up). I may say a book is the best thing to happen to me since I started shaving my big toe. None of these things mean it is objectively good. I recognize that.
Many times throughout my life, I have given a book I swore to be a life-changer to a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/janitor. Shaking, quietly weeping, I’d hand it (and my heart) over. Only to find out several weeks later that for them the book was good, maybe even great, but not the life-giving, soul-renewing magic I’d purported. You may not like a book I recommend. Sue me.
**Please don’t sue me, I just write here.
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