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Most Helpful Favorable Review
8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.
What can I say about Archetype? The premise sounded interesting
Emma is a 26 year old woman who lives in a world were roughly a hundred years ago a war erupted. Women in the west are free to live their life whereas women who live in the east like Emma are few and far between. Women are only considered worth marrying if they are fertile and men are desperate to claim and manipulate them.
Emma is such a fighter. I loved that about her. She goes along with some things, but she does ask questions and she is relentless when it comes to finding out about her past and who she is.
Just when I thought I knew what was going on or what was about to happen, turned out I was wrong. I think that is the re-occurring theme in this book. Expect the unexpected. There were plenty of twists and turns to keep me on my toes. I don’t want to reveal too much, because this is a book where you will want to discover things for yourself.
Archetype is the very first futuristic science fiction suspense/thriller story-line that I have ever read. I am glad I decided to try something a little new and different. Everything flowed at a great pace. The flashbacks of Emma’s past and the goings-on of her present didn’t confuse me even a little bit and I enjoyed getting to know Emma’s life. Pieces were sprinkled in, little by little until I began to see the bigger picture. And that ending? Left me wanting more…like now. Thankfully the second and last book in this series, Prototype releases July 24, 2014. Not too long of a wait.
Readers who enjoy Futuristic Sci-Fi Thrillers will like this one.
**I received this book on behalf of the Publisher in exchange for nothing but my honest opinion. Thank you**
posted by TheLifeofaBookAddict on February 6, 2014Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.
posted by 8888649 on March 16, 2014Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 28, 2014
Not the greatest
I normally don't stop reading a book if I don't find it interesting and I didn't give up on this one but after finishing the book I wouldn't have missed a thing if I had gave up on it.
1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 16, 2014
TL;DR: Three out of five stars. The book has a really strong
<b>TL;DR: Three out of five stars. The book has a really strong core concept and really good writing, but there are significant issues with characterization, worldbuilding, and theme that detract from the novel. Full disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from Penguin.</b>
I thought this was an interesting book that, while enjoyable, suffers from what I often call "first book problems." The first half of the book is a bit of a slog, but things improve markedly by the end. I think Waters has the potential to be a powerhouse genre author, but in _Archetype_, she sometimes overreaches herself.
This book’s biggest strength is in the quality of the writing. Waters has a strong, unique, and distinct authorial voice; though it took me a bit to get used to her style, I certainly thought it worked in terms of tone and tempo. I was also very impressed with the way Waters handled the temporal narrative transitions. That is a difficult technique for even seasoned writers, but Waters handles it with aplomb. The shifts were smooth, easy to follow, and enhanced the story’s flow rather than hampered it. I also thought Waters’ language was lovely and appropriate; it set the perfect tone for a sci-fi dystopia. From the sentence structure to the word choice, Waters deftly uses connotation and denotation to color the narrative.
Beyond that, I thought the book was tight considering its plot arc. The actual sequential pacing works (though I think the book opens unnecessarily slowly, but more on that later) and shows the hand of a deft editor. Additionally, Waters has an intrinsic understanding of tonal and pacing shifts; the way she writes fight scenes strongly differs from scenes where Emma is alone or contemplative. This was *such* a breath of fresh air—it gets tiresome to read sci-fi novels that lack nuance. Structurally, Waters’ decision to use a first person perspective enhances the feeling of disquiet within the story itself. I was initially a little concerned about the choice, but within a few chapters, it had grown on me. By the end of the novel, I found Emma’s limited perspective to be essential thematically.
That said, there are some issues with the story, some minor and others significant. On the smaller end of the spectrum, as much as I loved the language of the story, there were times when it could cross the line from powerful to overwrought. For example, there’s a moment where Other Emma recollects that “With each passing day, I grew to regret the sunset no matter how progressively beautiful the atmospheric effects became” (97). Not only is that statement a mouthful, but it’s a goofy mouthful; a more powerful sentence might read something like this: “With each passing day, I grew to regret the sunset, no matter how beautiful [it was].” Again, this isn’t a systemic problem. Because the writing is so good on the whole, these moments stick out like a sore thumb.
The book’s most significant issue comes in the form of exposition. It is often clunky, like when Toni says, “I’m Toni Reece and I’m about to make your life here a lot easier” (29). It’s an unnatural piece of dialogue, and the fact that it comes so early in the story is off-putting. More to the point, necessary narrative exposition is often *missing.* Knowing what Emma thinks and feels is essential for creating sympathy with the reader, and the decided lack of useful or relatable exposition in the early parts of the book are a real stumbling block to that end. For example, Emma doesn’t freak out given that *there is a whole separate person speaking to her in her head.* She clearly knows enough about the human condition to understand that disembodied voices aren’t normative, and yet she seems comfortable (or, at least, unperturbed) that she’s talking to herself. Likewise, Emma’s love for Declan is never quite believable. It lacks depth—if you compare her descriptions of the way she feels about Noah to the way she feels about Declan even before she discovers the truth, there’s much less power. She just sort of loves him without any real justification to the reader. That internal narrative is so, so important. If we are going to believe that Emma has to make difficult choices by the end of the book, we first have to believe that she feels strongly for Declan in spite of herself. Likewise, we need to *feel* what Emma is feeling throughout the first two-thirds of the story, not just after she discovers her deep, dark secret. The story’s plot twist is interesting (in fact, the whole book improves markedly after that reveal), but it could be earth-shattering for the reader if he/she only cared about Emma more. The best way to do that is by making the reader feel what Emma does, and you do that through more expository descriptions.
That issue leads to another problem: the love triangle feels contrived. Rather than being invested in Emma’s right to choose whom she loves, which is an important thematic point for the story, Declan is very obviously not the right choice from page one. Waters is too heavy-handed in pushing the reader toward Noah, so when Declan declares his affection for Emma, it already rings hollow. Likewise, Declan’s fate at the end of the story also lacks power since he goes from being slightly unlikeable to completely unsympathetic. A lighter hand with more emphasis on the grey areas of both Declan’s and Noah’s lives would serve better here.
And that leads me to the last two significant issues, which are actually fairly major for a science fiction novel: worldbuilding and themes. The worldbuilding in _Archetype_ is surprisingly weak. Although I understand Waters’ decision to only reveal information to the reader as Emma herself discovers it, its actually quite unfortunate. Even after finishing the book, I’m not sure I understand the machinations of the world behind the WTCs and the Resistance. It’s hard to figure out whether we’re dealing with futurism or an alternate reality; likewise, it’s difficult to know why the Resistance is…well…resisting. What do they want? What is their goal? And more to the point, why do WTCs exist outside of maintaining patriarchal power? There were also significant holes in terms of technology. For example, Emma’s broken finger is healed with a laser, but her body hemorrhages and there’s no advanced medicine for this? People can teleport, but we still use tablet computing? Cell phones still exist in any iteration? I mean, we can already implant people with optical cameras; you don’t think that telecom technology will be seriously altered in one hundred years? Even if you’re making up the world, you still have to consider that social, economic, and natural forces still exist. Thus, the world in _Archetype_ isn’t really believable because it doesn’t really exist—it’s just a two-dimensional backdrop for the characters and themes. I’m not saying that there needs to be pages and pages of description. I would actually point to _The Road_ by Cormac McCarthy as an example of a book that does the same thing Archetype does. It reveals the qualities of the world in small, concise chunks, but the reader still closes the book with a total understanding of McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic landscape.
Thematically, I found Waters’ use of cognitive dissonance at the beginning of the story to be clunky and ineff
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Posted April 3, 2014
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Posted July 28, 2014
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Posted September 24, 2014
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