An electronic copy was provided in exchange for an honest review
Archetype is an adult novel so contains mature themes and sexual content.
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. . . .
I requested Archetype because of a recommendation of a fellow blogger. It is not my normal genre and I honestly wouldn’t have requested it without the recommendation. The ‘held captive by the love of two men’ part wasn’t exactly screaming ‘read me’ but I gave it a go regardless.
Overall, this was an enjoyable, fast paced read. Water’s writing was engaging and kept me wanting to continue to read. I believe this is categorized as an adult suspense novel? Not sure, but that would fit it very well. The basis behind the storyline is science fiction and it is set in a future world, a world havocked by civil war and lacking in fertile women. The main character, Emma, wakes up with no memory of the past and nightmares that seem to give some insight into her life prior to her accident. There is something about an amnesia story that intrigues me (when well done). Waters succeeds in creating a character that is lost in her past but also strong willed and demanding to understand her life.
The aspect I wasn’t very fond of was the amount of time dedicated to the romance, love scenes and Emma’s struggle to figure out which man she trusts. I should have known from that summary, but I had hoped there would be more suspense, mystery and science elements. There was nothing about this story that surprised me and I felt that it was fairly easy to figure out who was good and who was not very early on. I wish there had been more world building and a lot more time spent on the real issues people were facing in this society.
The undertones of women’s rights and the lack of control over their fertility was well done though not a topic I enjoy delving into all that much. I prefer reading of a future world ravaged by disease, lack of natural resources, war, monsters or machines. This all goes into my personal taste and not the merit of this particular book. It exceled at what its goals were but I, personally wouldn’t want to reread it or go further in the series.
I was sympathetic to Emma’s struggles though it was hard for me to really feel that much towards her. With her memory loss she seemed (for a large portion of the story) to float through her own life. This made it difficult for me not to feel that I was floating as well and so I didn’t really have a level of connection to her as I would have liked. Once she began to have a deeper sense of self I did enjoy her passion for painting and her eagerness to learn the truth of her life no matter how comfortable it was now.
Her romance with both men had enticing moments though I wasn’t overly invested in either relationship. I could see major issues with both men and would have preferred if the novel spent much less time emphasizing Emma’s attraction to each. As I mentioned above, I felt very sure of who was good and who was bad early on.
I believe I’ll be in the minority for not loving Archetype. It was well written, easy to read and fast paced but I had trouble connecting to the characters, saw the twists early on and there was too much romance for my personal taste. The future society Water’s eluded to was interesting though I came away from the novel knowing very little about the how and whys. I’m confident this novel will appeal to a large number of readers, just not this one.