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.