Archetype gives an interesting twist to the opening line. Emma wakes in a hospital with no memory of who she is, but Declan claims to be her husband, while a voice in her head makes her question everything, and she dreams of another life, a darker world, violence, and another love. Nothing is what it seems.
This story is well-paced and suspenseful, as Emma pieces together who she is and tries to make sense of conflicting information. Readers follow the story from Emma’s point of view and are limited by what she knows or uncovers. She lives in a futuristic world where many women are infertile, and the U.S. has split into East and West over how to handle the issue, so any fertile women become valuable property to the highest payer in the East.
Archetype is lighter on the science fiction elements and would especially be appealing for someone new to science fiction or finds this genre intimidating. The focus is more on the characters and their lives and less on the why and how of this world. Waters offers interesting twists on futuristic dystopias, amnesia, the voice in Emma’s head, medical advances, and the story’s love triangle. There is no easy answer when Emma's current life and her past collide making her realize who she thinks she is and who she really was and what her situation means. She acknowledges those changes, that she is no longer who she was before her amnesia and the changes in her current life remain a part of her.
Look for Archetype and its sequel, Prototype, in the VBPL Catalog. There is a prequel novella featuring the two male leads, Antitype. Try Frank Herbert's White Plague for another sci-fi read featuring a crisis involving a shortage of women. Try Jo Walton’s My Real Children about a woman who remembers living two very different lives.