Review – Prototype
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  • Posted:
  • February 20, 2014


prototype

Archetype was among my favourite books of 2013. It was one of those books that I read very early and then had to wait to be able to put it into people’s hands. Whenever someone asked me to recommend a thrilling book I told them to watch for Archetype in February 2014. I would tell them how absorbing it was and that I couldn’t put it down. And here I am, months later, simply dazzled by the follow-up book, Prototype, which I was fortunate enough to acquire early.

Dazzled, I say, because it’s a tremendous sequel.

 * Spoilers for those who have not read Archetype *

Emma has escaped Declan Burke and fled their home after discovering that she is a clone. When he offers a sizeable reward for her return she must turn to her past for help. Now, with the resistance, she struggles to forget her time with Declan. She also begins to experience overwhelming moments of panic and obliteration which she brushes aside as trauma. In the midst of her adjustment Noah, her former husband before she was cloned, has moved on with another woman, Sonya. Sonya is raising Adrienne, Emma and Noah’s daughter whom Emma has never known. Emma, displaced and broken, tries to learn who she is and where she now belongs.

Emma fights fire with fire, turning Burke’s own manipulations back on him whenever she can. She is resourceful and courageous even in the face of insurmountable odds. She is the perfect blend of weak and malleable, strengths and flaws. She’s polarizing through and through.

 The biggest thing about this book is the theme of identity and how Emma molds herself to her own, both past and present. Everyone has expectations of who she was and who she is now. This is a hard road to travel as she does not feel as if she identifies with Emma pre-cloning. Emma 2.0 (as she is jokingly dubbed by the members of the resistance) cannot reconcile the confusion of her own heart and is constantly pulled in every direction. As a result her conflicts are largely internal and the book reads as such. However, she finds ways to defy expectations and forges new paths for herself. Through it all she achieves the duality that comes from someone who has lived and lost, and fought with every step.

Emma’s gains are the reader’s gains, and her pain rings true as well. With every turn her endeavors become crucial, significant moments in the book. These moments are what makes Waters books so impressive; moments of incredible depth that stay with a reader long after the book’s conclusion.

Prototype is striking and poignant; a beautiful and terrifying glimpse of possibility. These books cannot be dismissed merely as potential, speculative fiction. They are plausible in every way.

5 out of 5 stars.

– BP

* Prototype releases July 24, 2014 from Penguin/Dutton Adult.

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