Feb 1 2014 3:00pm

First Look: M.D. Waters’s Archetype (February 6, 2014)

Archetype by M.D. WatersM.D. Waters
Dutton / February 6, 2014 / $26.95 print, $12.99 digital

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…

Hoo boy. I am at a loss. Don’t get me wrong—I enjoyed the heck out of Archetype, M.D. Waters’s twisty, imaginative debut novel. But that’s just the thing—it’s so twisty and so imaginative that I don’t want to give any of its secrets away. I can say this, though: Get your hands on a copy, clear your calendar, turn off your phone, and inform your loved ones that you’ll be taking a few hours to yourself. Once you get started, you will not want to put this book down.

The story begins when the heroine, Emma, awakens in the hospital, confused and disoriented. A handsome and solicitous man named Declan is at her side, claiming to be her husband. She remembers very little of her past, but she is immediately drawn to Declan, who clearly cares deeply for her:

“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…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…

Eventually, it emerges that Emma is in the hospital and suffering from amnesia as a result of a brutal attack. Declan and his team of expert physicians are carefully nursing her back to health, and she eagerly anticipates returning to their home and taking her place once again by his side.


Why is she dreaming, almost every night, about another man, the handsome and rebellious Noah? Whose snarky voice echoes in her head, disapproving of nearly everything that she does? Why does she remember things that couldn’t possibly have happened, i.e., passionate lovemaking on the beach with this Noah, and that’s just for starters? And who is the mysterious Adrienne?

Slowly, Emma begins to remember bits and pieces of her previous life, and realizes that her situation is more complicated—and more treacherous—than she could possibly have imagined. Soon enough, Noah turns up in the flesh, although he seems to despise her, but why? For her own sake, Emma must piece together the fragments of her memory—but what she discovers about herself, about Noah, about Declan, and even about Adrienne may destroy her.

Archetype offers a chilling vision of a future in which women are chattel but anything is possible, as long as you’re willing to pay the price. And I do mean just about anything. It should go without saying that Noah eventually comes around:

His lips brush my cheek and warm air caresses my skin. Shivers race down my spine and branch out into my nerves like a spark that sets my body alight. That light touch of his mouth moves up to the hollow of my temple…I slide my hands down to his neck and feel the quickened throb of his pulse under my palm. It moves in time with the beat of my heart drumming in my ears. Just like that, we are in sync.

But what will happen when Emma discovers the truth about her relationship (oh, yes, she had one) with Noah? Shattering things, that’s what. This book is full of surprises, not the least of which involves Emma’s true identity; I was stunned, and these days I’m hard to impress. In fact, the plot’s bends and twists don’t stop until the very last page.

…Yes, Waters leaves us hanging – big time. I confess that when I read the Epilogue, I startled everyone within earshot by shouting “What? NO!” I need to know what happens next! Fortunately, I don’t have long to wait. The sequel, Prototype, will be published in July.

Learn more or order a copy of Archetype by M.D. Waters, available February 6, 2014:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & NobleBuy at Indiebound



Kate Nagy is Editor at Large of Geek Speak Magazine. She blogs at Kate Holds Court.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Kareni
That does sound good! Thanks for the review, Ms. Nagy. (And best of all, my library already has ordered it.)
Heather Waters
2. HeatherWaters
Your review so intrigued me that I moved this book up on my TBR list and am reading it now. Thank you!
Post a comment