*ARC c/o Dutton Books
Archetype begins with Emma waking up after a terrible accident, unable to remember anything – even her husband, Declan. She recovers physically, but has terrible nightmares and confusing reoccurring memories playing out in her head. Emma is loved and doted on by Declan, but as time goes on she realises the memories he has fed her are not true, and she begins to find out that other parts of her life are just as inaccurate.
I’ll be honest – within the first few pages of this book, I was certain that I wasn’t going to like it. It started off very wordy, using longer words that weren’t really needed. Everything was described in ways that took a few sentences, when they could have taken a few words. Thankfully, as this book moved forward and the plot began to take off that thinned a little.
In Emma’s world, women are owned by men, their bodies subject to the every whim of their husband – or rather, their highest bidder. This is the result of a historical population boom which was then followed by a fertility decline. Women who can reproduce are in short supply, and just like any type of expensive capital, belong to the richest in society. It’s a glimpse into a terrifying but thankfully fictional future, and a very unique plot for this story.
Without giving too much away, throughout the book you have two different camps of people vying for Emma, her mind and her body. For a good portion of the book I was confused who to like, who to trust and it felt like there were way too many twists and turns for my liking. As a reader, I had no real sense of what’s going on until about half way through, which meant that I wasn’t hooked until half way through (but from then I most definitely was). However on completion of the book I realise it had to be that way – I was just as confused as Emma was, learning things as she did. It certainly made the book have a lot of suspense.
One of my reading goals for this year was to read things I wouldn’t typically pick up, and I wouldn’t usually pick up an adult dystopian/science fiction novel. It’s great to have finished one of such a book before January is even over. I really enjoyed this book, and am impatiently waiting for its sequel!
This post was written by regular reviewer Kath, get to know her here.