Prototype, by M.D. Waters
Dutton Adult: July 24, 2014 (Science Fiction / Fantasy)
My rating: Outstanding Adventure! (5/5)
It’s no secret that I loved Archetype. The Archetype duology has been one of my favorite series and two of my favorite books so far in 2014.
The love triangle
Not your typical heroine waffling “Edward is so sexy, but Jason keeps rescuing me!” or “Ranger is so hot but dangerous, but Morelli is also hot, and a man with a mortgage and a dog…” The outcome may never be in doubt (one of the men is revealed as self-centered, possessive, and sociopathic early on), but that’s not what makes the love triangle interesting. And honestly, love triangles often feel contrived and stale to me. Waffling and indecision frustrates me, and I find a suspenseful love triangle is a rarity. Most of the outcomes can be easily predicted. Anyway, Prototype relies on its depictions of the characters and their feelings for tension and suspense.
The emotional impact
Obviously, this section is mostly about the romance. The atypical love triangle. But in this section, I write about passion and emotional investment that comes about as a result of the prose, pacing, and plot. For me, this book had an incredibly high emotional impact. I felt closely connected to Emma and what she felt as she overcame her fears and insecurities while encountering new circumstances and difficult obstacles. Her emotions, her love and inner turmoil are clearly evoked through the prose.
The plotting, pacing, and intensity
This book has a completely absorbing plot, with different storylines that come together to create a well-formed, fast-paced, exciting novel. Most of the intensity comes from the characters and their relationships. The tension as Noah and Emma circle each other, the creepiness of Declan’s maneuvers to get Emma back, and Emma’s discovery of her new/old allies and friends in the resistance. Not all stems from the romance and character development, though. There are tense moments of chase and escape, teleporting in the nick of time, and capture and rescue. Plus, there’s a dangerous and costly raid on a WTC. One of the many things this book does well is ratchet up and maintain the tension and action.
The world building
For me, the world building wasn’t the highlight of this story. (Can you guess already what was?) While it felt mostly real, there were scenes (e.g., Mexico) when the futuristic/dystopian looked very similar to our own times. That said, not all societies have reacted to the reduced fertility rates as the east coast of the former States have, which I liked. This seemed intentional, and worked for me – different countries react to sociological stimuli differently. The world is built convincingly enough to support the plot and the romantic arc. Everything revolves around the uber-powerful Declan’s scheme to clone women to improve fertility rates, Noah’s people’s resistance to such treatment of women and girls, and the effects those actions and beliefs have on the protagonists. I think the setting does what it’s meant to – provide a backdrop to the technological innovations and the character and relationship development.
Admittedly, I haven’t read anything about cloning practices or experiments since Dora the sheep (was it Dora? I can’t remember), I found the cloning technology intriguing. Possibly, if you clone something/someone, that thing/person doesn’t end up tied by the soul to the original being, thus negating the need for a second external conflict in Prototype, (the first being her conflict with her ex…es). However, the way it’s written it does continue the crucial theme that began in Archetype. And without that, you might not have Emma 2.0’s internal dialogue with Emma 1.0, which dialogue I personally enjoyed. This spiritual, fantastic technology mix adds another storyline to Prototype, so you’re not just reading about how Emma ran away from everyone and then decided she had to come back because her ex-husband Declan relentlessly hunts for her, and how she and her other ex-husband, Noah, get back together (it’s a given, no surprise, so I didn’t just spoil anything, I promise).
I may be missing some details, some well-that’s-not-exactly-its, but overall I loved this book so much, couldn’t put it down, got so involved in the story and the characters, that I don’t feel like getting into all of that.
So there you have it: Why I loved Prototype.
Recommended for anyone who enjoys romantic science fiction or emotionally intense novels, as well as fans of romance and dystopia. As for me, I’ll definitely read more of M.D. Waters’ works!
The more serious version of an oppressive society’s reaction to low fertility rates in futuristic America would be the well-known The Handmaid’s Tale. If you’re into dark and thought-provoking science fiction, and want to read more about restrictive societies where women are forced into specific roles, this would be a good classic to check out.
While Cast in Shadow is a fantasy, with less romance in it, I was equally drawn in and captivated by the protagonist and secondary characters, as well as their relationships. Full of excitement and action, this is a gripping tale of different species working together to solve crime and stem the eruption of evil into the world.