Prototype by M.D. Waters
#2 in Archetype
Genres: Science Fiction
Publication Date: July 24th 2014
ARC Provided by Netgalley and Dutton Adult
Christal’s Review - 4.5 Skulls – A
Warning: This review may contain spoilers for the first book in this series, Archetype.
Prototype was an amazing sequel and I loved how it wrapped up everything in the Archetype duology. There were some very surprising aspects in this entry, some I saw coming and some I was completely blindsided by. I loved the action, the romance, the science, and the characters. M.D. Waters has written a phenomenal set of books and I highly recommend them to science fiction readers looking for a unique story with a hint of romance.
In Archetype, we met Emma and learned that she was a clone created after her host dies. She was taken in by Declan, her husband by law, but soon learned she was actually a member of the resistance and truly married to Noah, the love of her life. Emma 2.0, as she is referred to in Prototype, understandably has a difficult time reconciling herself with the idea that she is just a copy. She can’t be the “real” Emma and, after learning the truth about Declan and the cloning process, she decides to leave Noah to try to find her parents, find herself. Prototype picks up a year after Emma left. I do not recommend reading this installment without first having read Archetype. M.D. Waters does a fantastic job of providing refresher information without it feeling shoe-horned in, but you will miss all of Emma’s personal struggles and true feelings towards everything that has happened to her if you skip the first book.
In Prototype, Emma has not been successful in finding her parents and unexpected circumstances finally force her to return to the resistance camp and, more specifically, to Noah and Adrienne. We see more of the internal struggle Emma faces about wanting to be with Noah, but knowing she is not his Emma. She wants him to love her for her, not because she wears the same face as his dead wife. Emma also has to adapt to being around her daughter who she loves instantly. She wants to be a mother to her, but she’s not sure how or even if she has the right. Externally, Emma is still being hunted by Declan, who she suspects is now also a clone, and she continues to search for her parents. On top of everything, the original clones have started dying and no one can seem to figure out why. As Emma’s nightmares become harder and harder for her to wake from, she begins to wonder if they are actually death coming for her too…
I absolutely adore Emma. I think she is a wonderful, sympathetic character and even when she is making stupid decisions, I still just want to hug her. She has almost no memories of her life before, but the people around her remember and of course they have expectations. I really connected with Emma’s struggle to be her own person in the face of those expectations and just wanted her to have the opportunity to live her life. Everyone around her was trying to guide her or control her, but she could take care of herself – thank you very much. In Prototype, we get to see her make friends and experience real love — she gets to be a mother. These relationships are hers, not Emma 1.0′s, but real relationships based on others accepting her as a clean slate.
Prototype also deals with the complicated feelings between Emma and Noah. While everything ends in a very satisfying way, I just wanted them to get there quicker. I know, I know, there were plenty of people and issues keeping them apart, but it was obvious to anyone with eyes that they should be together. Noah might have had a hard time accepting Emma 2.0 as Emma or even as her own person in the first book, but here he has come to realize how wonderful she truly is and to cherish her in a different way than he did his first wife because they are different people.
There are also some fantastic new characters in Prototype. We still have sweet, loyal Foster and nasty Dr. Sonya, but we also add some new soldiers and even a new doctor to the equation. My favorite new characters were Leigh and Miles, two soldiers who Emma befriends. Emma 1.0 apparently couldn’t stand them, but Emma 2.0 forms a deep friendship with each of them. Leigh was a needed confidant for Emma and Miles helped Emma search for her family, all the while keeping her spirits up with his inappropriate humor. Dr. Malcolm is a new geneticist brought to the resistance to help them study the cloning process. He’s a little quirky and childlike in his unwavering trust, but he was dedicated to help Emma and all the other clones in the process. The last two characters I really enjoyed were only around for a short snippet, but I could see them becoming a part of Emma’s family in the future. Peter was a former resistance fighter that opened his home to Emma during her year on the run. He never asked anything of her or tried to pressure her into anything, he was just simply content to be her friend. The other character, Colonel Updike, had a very close relationship with Emma 1.0 but, unfortunately, Emma 2.0 can’t remember him. Even though they have to start over, it is obvious that he cares for her just as much as he did her host and may become something of a father figure to Emma. Most of the other characters we meet are rather mean to Emma, but we do solve the mystery of her parents. I have to say I was surprised by the reveal, even though I should have seen it coming. I think it worked well within the context of the story and I think M.D. Waters left things with them on a hopeful note.
While the majority of Prototype is devoted to Emma and her more personal, pressing issues, it does still tackle the cloning process and the way women and girls are treated in general. Strides are made for clone rights and the entire program itself comes under scrutiny. The Women Training Centers (WTC) are looked at more closely and decisions about their futures are made. While there were no complete 180° turns made, the first steps to women’s freedom in the East look possible. I would love to follow this society as it continues to develop and change.
Prototype and its predecessor Archetype are definitely on my favorite books of 2014 list. The plots are complex, the characters are lovingly flawed, the politics are dastardly, and the science is interesting. While I am happy for Emma and the way her story ended, I would very much enjoy returning to this world in the future if M.D. Waters decides to make another trip. Again, I highly recommend these book to science fiction readers or really anyone looking for a compelling and complex look into one woman’s journey through an unfamiliar and unwelcoming world.
Thank you to Netgalley and Dutton Adult for providing an ARC copy of this book!