“Unfortunately,” Declan says to the small gathering of reporters, “what we hoped was a breakthrough in Emma’s whereabouts ended shrouded in mystery. But at least I know she is still alive and trying to come home where she belongs.”
He looks directly into the camera, the sea in his eyes bordering on a storm. “Emma, if you’re hearing this, I will find you.”
– Prototype, M.D. Waters (Page 46)
In Prototype, the second installment to the dystopian novel Archetype, M.D. Waters finishes the story of Emma Wade. Emma has escaped the clutches of Declan Burke and is on the run looking for clues to her parents’ whereabouts. She is desperate to put her past behind her and create a new life. Emma has accepted that she shares DNA with the “original” Emma, but wants memories of her own instead of the woman’s she was cloned from. (Spoilers ahead)
However, in this futuristic America, surveillance is everywhere and fertile women are in scarce supply. Declan, who fell to his death at the end of Archetype, has awakened as a clone and will do everything in his power to get Emma back. With the whole world searching for her, Emma knows she only has one place left to turn – the Resistance and Noah Tucker, the man who was Emma’s first husband.
If like me, you were rooting for Emma and Noah by the end of Archetype, your heart will break when you discover Noah has moved on with another woman, Sonya. Sonya has emerged as a mother figure for Adrienne, Emma and Noah’s daughter. Emma’s feelings for Noah are complicated as she struggles to come to terms with how she fits into this new family portrait.
Once again, Waters’ main theme is Emma’s identity. As a clone, Emma struggles to come into her own because everyone has preconceived expectations based on whom she was. Some of her old friends from the Resistance are accepting and even nickname her Emma 2.0. In Archetype the reader was as confused and blind as Emma. It’s exciting to see her character build as Waters’ masterfully unfolds Emma’s road to self-discovery as she attempts to define herself.
In Prototype we get a glimpse of a future America, but I wish Water’s took a few more pages to more thoroughly explain this dystopian world. As readers, it is left up to our imaginations to determine why the United States is divided, why not every country’s government is regimented to the slavery of women, or what other new technology exists beyond cloning. Since these questions remain unanswered, Prototype is more of a dystopian romance rather than strictly a science fiction novel.
Once again, Waters effectively paints a frightening picture of women’s struggles in a future that faces a population decline due to infertile women. Prototype is a thrilling story filled with betrayal, romance and action-packed fight scenes. It will keep you up all night reading.
Author: M.D. Waters
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Penguin Books provided this book in exchange for a fair review.