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Archetype by M. D. WatersTitle: Archetype
Author: M. D. Waters
ISBN: 9780525954231
No. of Pages: 384
Genre: Science Fiction
Origins: Dutton Adult
Release Date: 6 February 2014
Bottom Line: Absolutely stunning

“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. . . .

The first novel in a two-part series, Archetype heralds the arrival of a truly memorable character—and the talented author who created her.”

Thoughts: Archetype is the rare debut novel that stuns readers with its remarkable text, outstanding characters, and riveting story line. From the minute Emma regains consciousness, one knows that her story is not going to be standard amnesiac fare. As her inner voice warns her against unknown and unseen dangers, the mysteries pile up but at no point in time do they feel trite or contrived. The story remains fresh and exciting and unlike anything previously written.

In many ways, Emma’s confusion mirrors a reader’s own. Everything about the story is seen through Emma’s eyes and filtered through her thought processes. The only advantage readers have over Emma is in figuring out contextual clues because readers understand the body language and other nuances that enrich human interaction. However, individual details about the world in which Emma awakens is different enough for readers to be able to empathize with Emma’s frantic search for comprehension and answers to her internalized doubts.

The answers Emma eventually discovers remove the shades of gray that previously existed within the story. The conflicts tearing Emma apart and forcing her into making choices without seeing the full picture suddenly fall away, revealing a tightly-written, fully-realized world of which the reader, and Emma, have only seen glimpses. This very narrow focus sets the stage for the finale in this two-part series. It also serves the purpose of allowing the story to focus on Emma and her recovering memories while keeping the need for world-building to a minimum.

One would never know Archetype is M.D. Waters’ debut novel. There is a maturity in the writing and depth to the characters not typically seen in long-time authors, let alone first-time ones. This thoroughly engrossing story is slightly dystopian, slightly romance, a lot of science fiction, and 100-percent edge-of-your-seat thriller. Emma’s explosive discoveries leave readers gaping with shock and more than a little anxious for the conclusion to this amazing novel.

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