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Introducing a breathtakingly inventive futuristic suspense novel about one woman who rebels against everything she is told to believe.

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...

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Archetype: A Novel

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Introducing a breathtakingly inventive futuristic suspense novel about one woman who rebels against everything she is told to believe.

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.   Look for Prototype, the second novel from M.D. Waters, coming July 2014.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Archetype is the literary equivalent of a big-screen blockbuster with its beautiful but deadly heroine, tragic love triangle and grim futuristic setting. The closest thing in print may by Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, but Emma is Offred with mixed martial arts training...Archetype finished with a cliffhanger made even more tantalizing by Dutton's promise to publish the sequel, Prototype, in six months. The prospect has me more excited than the next "Hunger Games" movie." - Associated Press

"Readers looking for a great thriller with a strong female protagonist mixed with a hint of science fiction should pick this up immediately." - Library Journal (starred review)

"Emotional involvement powers this absorbing gothic thriller in science fiction trappings." - Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly
Emotional involvement powers this absorbing gothic thriller in science fiction trappings. After the narrator awakens from a period of unconsciousness, she is taught that she is Emma Burke, beloved wife of a dashing tycoon. Her husband, Declan, encourages her to depend absolutely on him for protection against the terrorists who brutally attacked her. However, her dreams (and a sardonic interior voice Emma simply calls “Her”) insinuate images of her personally rebelling against an oppressive society that treats women as property. Emma vacillates between genuine love for Declan and passion for another fighter in the resistance, whom she sees, or perhaps remembers, in her dreams. The novel follows a familiar emotional pattern—a woman’s initial need for safety and love, recognition of betrayal, and painful declaration of independence—but it works better than it should because of debut author Waters’s commitment to Emma’s struggle. The second half of the story, Prototype, will be published in late 2014. (Feb.)
Library Journal
★ 11/15/2013
Emma has no recollection of her past when she wakes up in a hospital in Waters's stellar debut. The man who claims to be her husband is loving and patient with her, but she begins to have nightmares that contradict what her doctors and husband have been telling her. Is she the wife of a prominent businessman, or is she a rebel who trained other women to fight back against the establishment? And why does she have vivid dreams about a man named Noah and being trapped in a water-filled glass tank? VERDICT Waters takes a clichéd premise—a woman wakes up with no memories—and transforms it into an original and compelling thriller that takes a look at a possible and terrifying future. Comparisons to Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and S.J. Watson's Before I Go To Sleep are justified. Readers looking for a great thriller with a strong female protagonist mixed with a hint of science fiction should pick this up immediately. The second book in the series, Prototype, will be published in July 2014. [See Prepub Alert, 8/26/13.]—Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L.
Kirkus Reviews
Waters' debut novel explores a future in which fertile women have devolved into a scarce and precious commodity. This is the first of a two-part story arc. The sequel, Prototype, will be released six months after this book is published. Emma knows she was in an accident, but no one will tell her exactly what that accident was or how she ended up in a hospital with her memory wiped clean. All she knows is what she's been told: That she is the beloved wife of a man named Declan. Handsome and successful, Declan seems devoted to her, but Emma keeps having odd and off-putting flashbacks that take her to places she vaguely remembers, even though she's positive she's never been to any of them before. And she can't shake that voice inside her, the one that keeps telling her things aren't what they seem. When, after weeks of preparation, Emma is finally allowed out of the hospital in which she resides, she discovers that the truth about her previous life is very different from the one that Declan and the doctor want her to believe. Ultimately, the person she turns out to be isn't one that anyone, including Emma, could have ever anticipated. She also discovers that she lives in a country divided by civil war and very different ideas of what is acceptable and what is not. Waters' premise and ensuing storyline is interesting, and she competently creates a future where the social order is knocked upside down. However, the novel is hampered by the odd, stilted voice she uses when writing about Emma and Declan, and writing in the present tense only emphasizes the awkwardness of the prose. The first few chapters are also a tough read; the author made a deliberate decision to obfuscate Emma's circumstances in order to gin up the tension, and while the story ultimately works, it's difficult to maintain interest early on. Starts slow but eventually picks up steam.
The Barnes & Noble Review

Press materials for Archetype, M. D. Waters's debut young adult novel, position it as a pinnacle event in the publisher's 150-year history: "When I say this is the biggest debut from Dutton in years, I'm not exaggerating. When I say it's my favorite book we've ever published, I'm serious. And when I say dozens of booksellers across the country are freaking out over this novel, I am understating." Waters's novel may indeed be the next- next big thing (or at least the most commercially successful thing they publish all year), but if it is, it will be because it fulfills the formula for a contemporary blockbuster: action-packed dystopian young adult fiction, starring a kickass, vaguely feminist heroine. Once upon a time, so conventional wisdom goes, the rules for popular protagonists dictated that girls would watch stories about boys, but boys would not watch stories about girls. This led to what Katha Pollitt called the Smurfette principle — if a girl appeared at all, there was usually only one of her, and she was utterly defined by her feminine difference.

But the success of Bella, and — even more so — Katniss has changed all that. Veronica Roth, the now twenty-five-year-old author of the Divergent trilogy, proved that one didn't even have to write well to sell over 5 million copies of 400-plus page novels that may have well just doubled as mediocre film treatments.

Plotwise, Waters'z novel is a mishmash of now familiar tropes: It borrows some some feminist philosophy from Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale (our heroine, Emma, lives in a not-so- distant future where wives are for sale to the highest bidder), some gadgetry (i.e., transporters) from every sci-fi flick since Star Trek; and some mind games from, say, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (though Emma's husband insists she has always loved him, memories come to her in dreams of her previous life in a concentration camp–like training center and the mysterious man she once loved). There is, of course, a war between technocrats (here the east) and the scruffy rebels outside the gate (here the hinterlands known as the west), and dueling love interests — Emma's husband, Declan, a clean-cut, rich-but-sweet guy cut from the same cloth as Andrew McCarthy of Pretty in Pink; the other a rakish Han Solo type who demonstrates his love by trying to kill her off a few times (at first the identity of dream boy is not entirely clear — we'll avoid a spoiler alert and just call him Han).

As a novel, Archetype falls somewhere between its recent predecessors. It's not nearly as cynically indifferent to all but the barest commercial concerns as the Divergent novels, but also clearly indebted to the originals from which it takes its form. Waters's greatest strength as a writer is her considerable attention to character development and emotional depth. Her willingness to create nuanced, ambivalent characters gives the novel an emotional suspense that is missing in Divergent's one-note action- adventure Take Emma's husband, Declan, a boardroom-alpha business type, but also (apparently) caring husband who claims he wants their home life to be a respite from the gender inequality and brutal force that rules the outside world. In contrast, the scruffy rebel dude we agreed to call Han has a few anger management issues and is, as previously stated, not shy about expressing them with possibly lethal force. In this way, Waters creates a more complex, credible portrait of a young woman who might possibly be in love with two men, rather than relying on easy tropes of the powerful, callous villain and the martyred, sensitive underdog. Oh, and another thing: Unlike some other YA novelists, her sex scenes do not rely on coy euphemism, and they do go on a bit (nothing racier than Cosmo or Harlequin, but maybe we're seeing the Fifty Shades shadow here).

Waters's novel is not about to establish a new archetype of literary dystopic fiction (for that, the best are still the original Handmaid's Tale and Lois Lowry's superb quartet for young adults, beginning with The Giver and ending with Son, released in 2012). But for readers who are craving a return to a dark tomorrow, Archetype isn't a bad choice to keep one up all night.

Amy Benfer has worked as an editor and staff writer at Salon, Legal Affairs, and Paper magazine. Her reviews and features on books have appeared in Salon, The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, The Believer, Kirkus Reviews, and The New York Times Book Review.

Reviewer: Amy Benfer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781410469311
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 6/25/2014
  • Edition description: Large Print
  • Pages: 531
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

M.D. WATERS lives with her family in Maryland. Archetype is her first novel. Its sequel, Prototype, will be published in July 2014.

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Read an Excerpt

***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof.***

Copyright © 2014  by M.D. Waters

C H A P T E R  1

My mind wakes, but the words essential to describe the stirring of my consciousness escape me.

I blink.

White light fills my vision, blindingly bright, darkening my peripheral to pitch. I have no words for variations, either, because while I understand shifts of color and luminescence in my surroundings, I cannot hold knowledge in my mind.

Voices articulate words—No, we don’t need her anymore; put her with the others—and I struggle to make sense of them to no avail. I know what they say is important. So important. Vital. Yet all meaning flashes through the vast darkness of my mind, fleeting streaks of lightning. Alluring, coaxing, but gone before I can decipher patterns in the chaos.

I blink.

Dust particles float in the air, a fluid, graceful contrast to the vibrating hum of the light hanging above me. The motes dance around my slim, pale fingers, escaping my grasp, frustratingly transitory, like everything else I experience.

A hand pushes aside the sterile aluminum lamp seconds before a face appears. Cold fingers pry up the lid of one of my eyes. Gray eyes stare, unblinking, between a green cap and surgical mask. A pinprick of light forces tears. I squint and jerk my head, but the strong hand catches me around the forehead, fingers snagging on attached wires, and repeats the process on my other eye. I feebly bat his hand away.

The man leans straight-armed onto the table and stares at me. “Hm.”

Hm, what?” This voice comes from a man out of my line of vision but sounds very close.

The gray-eyed man lifts his head and pulls down the mask, revealing a bulbous nose and pockmarked skin. Matching gray whiskers shade his upper lip. He glances between me and the man who has yet to show himself. “It’s too early to tell.”


“But . . .” The gray-haired man trails off and sighs. He scans me from head to toe, eyes narrowing. “But I think we have finally done it.” A soft chuckle sounds behind me. “You, my old friend. You have finally done it.”

This gray-haired man reaches for my face. I instinctively jerk my head away, but he only pulls colored wires off my forehead, gathering a group of them in his palm. “Only time will tell,” he says.

The moment drifts away as the words are absorbed into the vast space of my mind. By the time I think to be frustrated, it is too late. Nothing has meaning. Not time. Not words. Not the reason I am here.

I am simply tissue, blood, and bone.


In the beginning of life.

The vibrant green leaves turn into shades of orange, red, and yellow. Sweltering heat becomes cool breezes through narrow slits in large, square windows.

With the passing of time comes a lasting comprehension of language, color, texture, and scents. He says I knew them all along, and what I have yet to learn, he will teach me. I think he will reward me one day if I can only get my lessons right. Except today he tells me something new, and one word I do not understand.

“You are my wife,” he tells me.

I study his lips while they frame the words. He has a lovely mouth and I reach out to touch it often, but he never lets me. He says I must focus on one thing at a time.

“I am your wife,” I say carefully, and the words sound right, so I smile.

His head falls forward and broad shoulders lift with a heavy sigh. Dark hair spills forward, hiding his expression. He is upset with me but I do not understand why. I tell him what he asks of me and only that. Is this not what he wanted?

“No, Emma.”

He lifts his head, and eyes the color of seawater stare back at me. I know this color because it is in a large photograph in my room. They tell me the photograph is of the sea before, but they do not tell me before what.

“I do not understand,” I say.

He leans back in his chair and combs hair away from his face with long, slender fingers. The dark strands slick back and hold in their usual style. “You’re repeating my words only to please me.”

He turns his head and squints into the sun shining through the windows. With an elbow propped on the chair’s arm, he raises a hand to his chin and massages his jaw.

Leaning forward, I attempt to catch his gaze with my own. “This is what you wanted,” I whisper.

Those beautiful eyes turn my way and he stops rubbing his chin, still saying nothing. He only watches me in agonizing silence. Then, abruptly, he stands and buttons the front of his suit jacket. It is dark blue today. I like this color on him.

Bending over me, he presses a whisper-soft kiss to my temple. “One day you will say it and believe it.”

He leaves the room and now I understand. I must learn about this word “wife.”

We spend day after endless day in this lounge, and I think I finally understand. “You are my husband, Declan Burke. I am your wife, Emma. We were married in a small ceremony with only our closest friends atop our mountain.”

His smile, after so many weeks of frowns, warms my heart and brings a flutter to my stomach. He has an amazing smile. When he smiles, his cheeks crease deeply around the corners of full lips.

This particular smile brings a gleam to the sea in his eyes. “Yes, Emma, that’s right. You were absolutely beautiful.”

He reaches forward, carefully, and slides loose strands of my hair behind my ear. A tingle follows the trail of his fingers across my skin. I want more. Have wanted more than these fleeting touches.

“Do I frighten you?” I ask.

He chuckles and leans away, draping both arms over the top of the beige couch with red accent pillows. His fingertips dip into the beam of sun from the large windows. “No. Should you?”

I match him gaze for unblinking gaze. A smile twitches the corners of his lips and I cannot imagine why he finds this amusing. Is not a husband supposed to touch his wife? Am I not allowed to touch him in return?

I pull my feet up into my chair and twist to prop my elbow over the cushioned back. With my free hand, I pick at an imperfection of thread in the knee of my white scrub pants. “Is touching forbidden?” I ask him, casually raising my gaze to peer at him through my eyelashes.

I am learning about these rules, which they say are for my safety. Some I do not understand. Why should I not leave my room after seven each night? I want to see the stars. Need to see the stars. They pull at the core of me for reasons I cannot explain.

“I don’t want to rush you,” he says. While the amusement still tugs on his lips, he averts his eyes.

Rush me, I want to tell him, but do not. He knows what is best for me, but I believe I am ready for this step. No, I know I am.

Unfolding myself, I stand and hold out a hand. “I would like to see the gardens. And I wish for you to hold my hand while we walk.”

He watches our hands meet, his twice the size of mine and barely a shade darker. Olive toned he calls it. He says when I am in the sun more, my skin becomes golden and rich in color, but for now, my skin is dull by comparison.

We leave the lounge where we meet every day, entering a sterile white hallway. The only color comes from a wall of paintings with random splashes of color. Declan calls it art, but the canvases look as if a child was set loose with a paintbrush. On more than one occasion, the idea that I could have done far better flits through my mind.

Opposite the wall of paintings, sunlight glares at us through large, square windows, but no worse than in the lounge, where the rays reflect off car windows in the parking lot. A rectangular lot cluttered with the same cars, day in and day out. Parked in the same exact places. Nothing changes in the surrounding manicured lawns sprouting trees and perfectly square hedges. Only the changing colors of the season. From my vantage point fifteen stories up, in this U-shaped building, these colors are my only proof that time passes at all.

We enter the enclosed garden area with exotic flora and a great domed roof with only a tease of sunlight through opaque windows. The space is heaven in shades of every color imaginable. The men in blue lab coats leave us to our walk without interruption. No one looks us in the eye, and I wonder why, but do not ask.

I wonder if I am scarred from the accident. Declan assures me I worry needlessly, but I have yet to see my reflection for myself. I only catch the short, angled tips of straight dark brown hair when it falls forward. I cannot recall my appearance at all, actually, so it pleases me to know this much.

“You’re in a better mood today,” Declan says mildly, which is saying something for a man with such a deep voice. “No nightmares last night?”

I shake my head. “Only good dreams last night. I think.” I chuckle and pull close to him, hugging his arm. My hands wrap around a tight biceps. The top of my head just reaches his shoulder. Touching him like this, being this close, brings a warm sensation to my chest. “They must have been if I do not remember, yes?”

“Yes, I should think so.”

“Maybe I have seen the last of them.”

He kisses the top of my head. “We can only hope.”



I float upright in a tank full of water. The occasional bubble sneaks past me and pops just above my head, but I cannot move my head to follow it.

I cannot blink.

I can only float and watch the world around me go on as if I do not exist. People come and go in silence, never staying long. They speak in whispered tones, leaving me to guess at their conversations. Any attentions they pay me are with furtive glances.

The room is pale gray with cracks snaking up walls into the ceiling. Unevenly stacked boxes rest in the middle of a tiled floor heavily decorated with black scuff marks. Tables topped with laptop computers line the outer walls of the large space. A monitor nearby beep . . . beep . . . beeps. Another, separate monitor beepbeepbeeps a quicker rhythm.

A woman, thin and tall, wearing a dark green jumpsuit under a white lab coat, checks the monitors regularly. Everyone calls her Sonya or Dr. Toro. She is dark skinned with hair cut nearly to her scalp. Like the others, she rarely looks at me. She watches the monitors and occasionally she watches . . .


He sits in a folding chair at an angle to my tube of water, head bent forward, elbows resting on his knees. I cannot see his face. Layers of dark blond waves curl to his chin.

“Noah,” the woman says. “You should get some rest.”

The man does not turn around, but lifts his gaze to where I float helplessly in a tank of water I cannot escape. And I want to escape. I need to escape. But he will not let me out.

He never lets me out.

C H A P T E R  2


I wake up panting and clawing at my sweat-soaked tank top. For a long moment, I believe I cannot breathe, that I float in water. But as my ragged breaths grow harsh against my raw throat, I remember where I am and tell myself for the millionth time that the nightmare was not real.

“Lights,” I say, and the word is a croak.

Square panels on the lower halves of the walls flicker on with a soft hum and glow, illuminating my small room. Even the low setting makes my eyes water. I squint until they adjust.

I stand on shaky legs and clumsily run into the table with my pitcher of water and empty glass. The room-temperature water soothes my dry throat.

“Everything okay?” a male voice asks.

The abrupt sound startles me and I turn narrowed eyes up to the speaker protruding at an angle from the tan wall. The speaker is the only thing in my room that stands out and forces me to remember how I am never truly alone. The camera from which they watch me, I cannot find.

“Fine,” I say.

Perched on the edge of my bed, I lean into the bouquet of indigo flowers delivered earlier in the evening. I had admitted my love for them to Declan on our walk and he had them arranged. The petals add color to my otherwise lifeless room, where even the green leafy plant in the corner is fake.

I spend the next few minutes searching the one large photograph in my room for something new. A dip in the sand I may have never noticed before or a new color in the sunset I may have just learned about. Are there more seagulls today? There never are, of course, but I still look. It calms me to look.

“Will you need a sedative?” the voice asks.

The time I take to consider this offer is short. I am too frightened to sleep on my own and need to sleep so I can be rested for Declan’s visit tomorrow.

“Yes, please,” I tell the speaker.

A whoosh of air precedes the arrival of a tube in the narrow air lock by the door. A tiny door opens and I reach inside for the slim aluminum cylinder. The top rolls aside and I tilt the end over my palm. One tiny, round white pill falls into it, wrapped in a clear plastic square.

A knock on the door startles me, a sign my nerves are still raw. I press a button by the door and Dr. Travista’s face appears on the screen: spectacled gray eyes and pale skin scarred from some pocked ailment in his youth. He is much older than Declan, though Declan acts as if they were childhood friends.

“Yes?” I say into the tiny microphone under the screen. “May I come in?”

His voice grates and I am too unnerved to listen to him and answer his many questions, but I cannot tell him no. I press another button and the door slides open with a barely audible shiff.

“Are you working late?” I ask amiably.

He nods, rocking slightly on the balls of his feet, and tucks his hands into the white lab coat he wears over a teal button-down shirt. I do not like this color teal. “You had another nightmare.”

This is not a question, so I do not respond.

He motions for me to sit in a nearby chair. He kneels before me and begins taking my pulse with cool fingers. “Can you tell me about it?”

No! a voice yells inside my head. Don’t you dare!

I listen to the voice because the voice belongs to me and why would I not listen to myself? I must have a reason to hide the truth, but I cannot think it is anything more than my uneasiness with this doctor, who is my husband’s closest friend.

“I cannot recall,” I say, if for no other reason than to calm the voice. She is always nervous I will tell Dr. Travista too much.

Gray eyes glance up at me over the rim of wire-framed glasses. “Hm.” This is always his response. I dislike this, too. “Odd.”

I tilt my head. “What is odd?”

“After all these months, you never recall the details of this nightmare you experience nearly every night. It’s odd.”

I shrug a single shoulder. “I suppose it is.”

Dr. Travista continues checking my vitals without another word but watches me carefully. I cannot begin to guess what he looks for in my expression, which I keep carefully neutral. Experience has taught me that the calmer I act, the quicker he leaves.

Finally, he slaps his knees and stands. “You have your sedative and water. Is there anything else you need?”

I affect a pleasant expression. “No. I do not believe so. I will take it right now and go back to sleep.”

“Good. Call if you need anything more.”

I walk him to the door I am not allowed to pass through and lean into it when it slides closed behind him. The metal is cool against my warm skin and I roll my forehead over the flat surface.

“Stars,” I whisper a moment later. “I should have asked to see the stars.”

The stars shone bright tonight, but they always did this far from the city. These trips were always about taking the good with the bad. I hated them, but they were necessary.

“Time?” I asked.

“One hour.”


I lay down on the grassy knoll, ignoring the uncomfortable attachments to my black uniform. Or I tried to. I didn’t dare remove anything.

Foster laughed. “What are you doing, Wade?”

Tucking my hands under my head, I settled in with a sigh. “I’m looking at the stars. Don’t you miss the stars? They tell stories, you know.”

He dropped to a knee beside me, a grin spreading over his face. His black curls peeked out from under a black cap and night-vision goggles, and his warm chocolate complexion looked darker under the night sky. Only the pale gray-blue hue of his eyes remained true in the dark of night, reflecting the moonlight.

“You can be such a girl sometimes,” he said.

I reached up and smacked his uniformed shoulder. “I am a girl.”

“No, you aren’t,” he said and shrugged. “Well, not always.”

“My husband would tell you I am all the time.”

“Your husband gets to go places no man has gone before.” With a grunt, he dropped to his butt next to me. His heavy gear rustled and shifted while he settled.

I rolled my eyes. “Jealous?”

“Absolutely.” Foster leaned back on his elbows and dropped his head back to look up at the sky. He released a deep sigh. “Wow. That is nice.”

The tiny pinpricks of clustered light must have reached past a billion, more than I would ever count. In the city, I never saw this many. “It’s hard to believe men used to guide themselves using them,” I said. “I would get lost.”

Foster swiveled his head toward me and shot me a lopsided grin. “Not you. You’ll always know your true north.”

I wake with a start but remain perfectly calm. This was no nightmare. I liked this dream. It had been so real I could almost feel the items on my belt pressing into my hip and back. But it is the stars I want to remember, so I close my eyes and attempt to bring the image back. It is not the same but is good enough for now. It is more than I could have asked for.

A knock on the door brings me out of my dreamy half sleep. “Yes?”


I slide out of bed and am surprised to find the floor cooler than normal. I hiss and pick up the pace on tiptoes to press the unlock and open buttons. Randall, expression as impassive as ever, strolls right past me and sets my tray down. Like all of Dr. Travista’s nurses, he wears gray scrubs over his skeletal frame. Thankfully, the orderlies wear yellow scrubs, or I would never know the difference between the two groups of his all-male staff.

I eye the plate of fruit and whole wheat toast and stifle a groan. Randall hates when I complain, and it does me no good anyway. He is simply doing what he is told despite the fact that he considers it below his job description to serve me breakfast in bed, as he so curtly muttered under his breath a time or two.

Randall lifts the tiny cup of pills and holds them out with a glass of water. The routine never changes. Swallow the pills in silence, open mouth and lift tongue to prove they are really washed down. Then he takes my blood pressure and shines a light in my eyes. He asks me questions about my hearing: better or worse? Does my sense of touch feel any different? More sensitive? Less? Any aches or pains? He checks my reflexes.

I do not understand the expectations. Nothing ever changes and I say so every morning.

I follow through these steps without question, ignoring his bored expression, trying not to take it personally. He simply hates his job and it has nothing to do with me.

Randall leaves me within heartbeats of finishing his notations on a computer tablet, and I cross the hall to the mirrorless bathroom. The space has many stalls and a shower area around a corner. It is meant to be shared, but I am the only patient on this floor.

I wash up and return to my cold, bland breakfast. The fruit is tasteless, probably not in season, and I long for something sweet.

I remind myself that it will not always be like this. My life is in a house in the mountains away from all this. I am much better now and they will let me go home soon.

Until then, things will continue as they always have. One new day at a time.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 35 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 6, 2014

    What can I say about Archetype? The premise sounded interesting

    What can I say about Archetype? The premise sounded interesting when I first read it. I mean I thought that I would like it, but I was unprepared for how much I ended up enjoying it. Even when I put the book down to go about my day, I was still thinking about the story and its characters. I loved it.

    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**

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    First off I should probably say that I won this book from Pengui

    First off I should probably say that I won this book from Penguin Books First to Read program. I bid on several books, but am SO glad I was given this one to read. Now on to the review.

    The story was well written and had plenty of twists and turns that kept me guessing. You are in Emma's head and know nothing of the world only to learn how things work along the way with her. Through about half of the book we have two Emmas, one brand new to the world and one that has her memory but is locked inside the new Emma, but once she starts to learn the truth of her situation her personality blends into one and we lose the duel Emmas. She is a strong character that is torn between the lies and truth. She doesn't know who to believe, trust or love. She is torn between Declan and Noah, and even after finishing the book I am too. I know one of them, hell both of them have done things to make them the 'bad guy' depending on your p.o.v., but still a part of me wants both of them to win. From what I learned in another series there is always three sides to every story, yours, theirs and the truth that lies someplace in the middle. Both men are a product of their environments and the world they live in and I am not ready to condemn either one of them just yet. I want to know more. 

    This was great, and what a cliffhanger at the end, definitely going to be keeping an eye out for the next book. About half way through the book I had to look up the author's page on Goodreads to see what else she had written. Was surprised to see this is her first book! Then I looked at her read book list and compared books, 72% of the same titles read for what we rated. No wonder I loved this story. I am definitely a fan and am going to be recommending this one to my friends. The book reminded me of The Handmaiden's Tale and many of the dystopian novels that are popular in the YA books, but this one is written for adults. Not that I don't think some mature younger readers won't enjoy it as well. 

    Bottom line, it is a great story that brings up some interesting ideas about society and control and what is acceptable for the greater good. It has plenty of intrigue, romance and plot twists. It moves at a good pace and kept me reading when I should have been doing something else. Thank you for the excellent read Ms. Waters, I can't wait to read more.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Archetype is one of those rare books that transcends its genre.

    Archetype is one of those rare books that transcends its genre. If you're like me sci-fi isn't usually on the top of your reading list. Yet I LOVED this story.

    What makes Archetype such a fantastic read is that you don't have to be a fan of the genre to get sucked into the story. There's plenty of futuristic advancements for those who love that about sci-fi, but it never makes the average reader feel like they're living in a world they can't possibly relate to. (Think "Back to the Future 2" with far more danger & intrigue, way less cheese, and no Michael J. Fox)

    The action is fast paced and the mystery of who the bad guy really is, and the suspense on whether or not Emma will figure it all out before its too late, means this is a story you shouldn't start late at night if you have somewhere to be early the next morning.With a complex-in-her-simplicity main character you can't help but root for and several swoon-worthy men (who for all their swoon-worthiness still come with the inherent flaws of men) Archetype is definitely worth the read. You won't regret it. Promise.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2014

    I love how this book has a mix mystery, romance, tension, advent

    I love how this book has a mix mystery, romance, tension, adventure - all wrapped in dainty paper with a razor sharp bow. The storyline is tight and flowing with unexpected surprises you never see coming.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2014

    This is an absolutely amazing book. It is also an extremely dist

    This is an absolutely amazing book. It is also an extremely disturbing book. Set in our future, the United States no longer exists. It has been divided between the East and West. This story takes place in the East where women are the property of their husbands.

    Human fertility has been on the decline for decades and only women who are able to have children can become wives. Wives are second class citizens at the best and the unmarried women have it even worse.

    Emma suffered a terrible accident which left her without any memories. She is under the care of a doctor and her husband Declan. All she knows is what they have told her. Fortunately, Declan loves her and is unfailingly kind and gentle with her. She knows they had a wonderful relationship (after all, he told her so) and begins to fall in love with him again.

    But what about her dreams?

    Emma has dreams (or nightmares) about another life and another man. She doesn’t know who he is, but she knows she loves him even more than she does Declan.

    What she doesn’t know is what is real.

    As you can tell, I loved this book. It reminds me a little of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, another truly disturbing book about women’s roles in a dystopian future.

    It doesn’t have a cliffhanger ending, but I cannot wait for the sequel. Prototype is due out on July 24, 2014 and I will definitely read it.

    DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2014


    Absolutely loved this book. I can not wait for the sequel.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 24, 2014

    AMAZING read! i love this book!

    AMAZING read! i love this book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2014

    Great concept

    Interesting topic turned to an intriguing story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2014

    Plot spoilers

    Why do spoilers think they have to reveal every last detail of thebook then brag how they got their book for free for their so called honest review? You spoiled the book for those of us who have to buy our book. Thank you so much for that. Please give some thought and consideration to the other readers before you write a readers digest condensed version of the book in your post. The rest of us would like to read a book and be surprised by what we read....not have you ppl read it and tell us what happens.

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Wow! This book is a sleeper if ever there was one! I wasn't ex

    Wow! This book is a sleeper if ever there was one! I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did. What a great first novel it is for M. D. Waters. I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel, "Prototype" which comes out this summer. I highly recommend you read this one soon.

    A sort of combination Stepford Wives and Frankenstein's daughter, this is a thriller that kept me guessing until the last chapters. It's a powerfully imagined story with a brilliant love triangle mingled in. The book is fast-paced and catches us up with a couple of viewpoints that are haunting and heart-breaking.

    Ms Waters use of characterization is strong. It is easy to identify with the main female character, Emma, as she works to sort out her strange existence. And, I felt a great deal of sympathy for her husband, Declan, although it may have been misplaced! Such was the golden touch of this writer.

    Haunting and eerie, this is a book that will keep your interest for hours. I found it very difficult to put down. Its futuristic theme makes one think...feminist issues are at the core of the book.

    There's a twist that's killer at the end making me die to read the sequel! A great weekend read.

    4 stars Deborah/TheBookishDame

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 7, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Oh wow... I don't know how to review this or where to begin. I

    Oh wow...

    I don't know how to review this or where to begin. I am not even sure on how to do it without spoiling the book, but I will try.

    Emma wakes up in a hospital with no memory what so ever from what happened before she opened her eyes. All she now knows is what this man Declan, who claims to be her husband tells her about her past. But her dreams shows her another life, life with another man who isn't Declan. Life of war and a camp for girls who are trained to be the perfect wives and love that transcends everything she ever knew.

    I haven't read an Adult Dystopia yet and I was pleasantly surprised. It has science-fiction elements in it because the story takes such a long way into the future into a world divided and where it's the West versus the East. Where there is an abundance of man, and not enough women to go around and fertility rates are astronomically love. The science-fiction elements weren't hard to follow M.D Waters does an amazing job explaining them.

    Not only that but M.D Water does an fantastic job overall. The story is compelling from the first breath of the first chapter and it doesn't let you go. Riveting and emotion, M.D Waters has taken me for a ride I don't think I will forget. I found myself alongside of Emma wanting answers, wanting to know the truth behind her dream, memories or nightmares and who the other man Noah is to her.

    Thought I did have an idea what was going on in the first few 100 pages that only scratched the surface of what M.D Waters had in store for me in the end. Her writing was wonderful, the story well woven and an ending that had me gasping in tears.

    All of M.D Waters characters were I loved Emma, and I couldn't help rooting for her to find the answers. To find Noah. To find herself.

    Beautiful story, heart-breaking ending.

    There was really only one thing I struggled with, but remembering that this was science-fiction was the key. It was in the end and kind of the whole big point of the story, so I cannot go into it without spoiling the book. But it didn't take away from the story for me at all, I have decided that in the end it made it original, imaginative and creative!

    I was surprised that it is a duology but at the same time glad, because that means in the next six months the next book is here and I'll get to learn the the conclusion of Emma's Fate! I for one, cannot wait.

    Thank you Dutton Adult for providing me a physical copy in exchange of an honest review.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2014

    Great book

    A page turner! Reading prequel then the last book Prototype• Can't wait

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2014

    Engaging, fast-paced, future world

    Archetype by M D Waters

    Emma wakes with no memory of her past. As she recovers, she is told that she is the wife of Declan, a powerful man. She grows to love Declan and they begin their life together. But Emma is keeping a secret from Declan and the doctor who has been monitoring her recovery - she gets flashes of another life that conflicts with what she has been told by her husband and the voice in her head keeps telling her not to trust him.

    Set in a future world where the US no longer exists, female births are a rare occurrence and fertile young women are raised in centers to be “wives” to those who can afford it, Water’s novel revolves around the ideas of freedom and choice for women. As Emma begins to remember more, the audience glimpses the reality of the world Emma’s husband is trying to keep her from - one where women are sold to the highest bidder, where there is a resistance movement and her husband’s company is making technological strides but at a cost few would want to pay.

    Narrated by Emma, the novel moves between her present and flashes of her past. The flashbacks are well paced, and intriguing enough without being confusing. As the past is filled in and things begin to make sense, Emma has a chance encounter from someone from her memories, but their reaction to her makes her question those memories and she is less sure than ever about her past and who she is. Ultimately, she has to decide what and who she wants, and who she is.

    Overall, Waters tells a good story. The characters are believable and the story unfolds at a good pace. I was not particularly surprised by the ‘twist’ but Waters left plenty of clues and I think the surprise was more for the characters than the audience. The book was somewhat reminiscent of Atwood’s Handmaids Tale and more recently, Hillary Jordan’s When She Woke, as speculative fiction based on the story of one individual caught in a dehumanizing system. While lacking Atwood’s brilliant wordplay and political insight, Waters still touches on hot topics like runaway science, the role of women, and personal identity in an interesting way. The story doesn't get bogged down in the science and the big political arguments about it, but is much more engaged in the personal toll of that science.

    While tying up the novel satisfactorily, it definitely sets up the sequel due out this summer. Archetype is a good, quick read - part thriller, part sci-fi, and part journey of self-discovery with a dose of thought provoking ideas to keep things interesting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • 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.

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  • Posted March 16, 2014

    Great Book! A brilliant debut from a phenomenal author. I was fo

    Great Book!
    A brilliant debut from a phenomenal author. I was fortunate to read Archetype while it was being written. The second I read the first line I knew I had to know Emma's story. Not only is the voice of this book so completely unique, but the story itself provides so much internal and emotional conflict that you don't want to put it down. The setting is a futuristic dystopian world where women are a rare commodity. Girls are raised in camps to be wives and Emma has memories of a life like that. Of a distant self she doesn't know. Of a man named Noah. A man that is NOT the husband she sleeps beside every night. This novel is a thrilling ride you have to experience for yourself. An emotional roller coaster that will leave you haunted by Emma's struggle to learn the truth. A Must Read of 2014.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2014

    Beware the ten page review

    This is or so it seems one of the new serial nor series if I read the blurb right. And believe me to buy a e book and find a serial is very annoying M.A.Sparta.

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014



    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2014


    OK for s daily deal or a free Friday. An interesting sci-fi, but sometimes doesn't mesh well even w/in the same chapter. But it did hold my attention enough to finish. The characters need to mature a bit.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 11, 2014

    I wouldn't give this a rating.

    This is a wierd book. Not worth reading as far as I am concerned. A waste of time.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • 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 &quot;first book problems.&quot;  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

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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