Khanh the Killjoy

It started off so well...

Archetype - M.D. Waters
He sighs and slows to a stop. “There are a lot of things about the world we live in that you don’t understand. Things you’ll find out in time.”

This is such a strange book. I didn't hate it, but it was just too much, too confusing. This book is like a strange mixture of Gone Girl and The Handmaid's Tale.

For me, this book was so anachronistic. I liked it, and I didn't like it. It was somewhat original while being completely predictable. There was nothing outrageously terrible in this book. There's a love triangle that didn't bother me at all because for the latter 50% of the book, I was like...dafuq am I reading? D:? The last half of the book was a journey into what-the-actual-fucks-ville.

I'm just so utterly confused. This book reads like a contemporary but it turned out to be a dystopian. It started off fantastically. The first 25% held my attention rapt. But sadly, this book didn't live up to its initial promise.

It's a little difficult for me to express my exact feelings on it, so allow me to describe it to you through the use of Digimon.

It starts off interestingly enough. There's an egg! You don't know what it holds! Oh, the possibilities!

The egg is cracking open!! Oh, it's so interesting! How neat! You, the reader, are intrigued. However will it evolve next?!

AND WE'RE ON A MOTHERFUCKING HORSE! YEAH! YEAH! This is going to be a hell of a ride. It's hard to believe that this thing hatched from just a tiny little egg, right?

Wait. What the actual FUCK?! How the hell did we get from a horse to...THIS?!

The Summary: Emma doesn't remember anything. She has been in an accident. Nobody will tell her what happened. She has to relearn everything. Her handsome husband tells her what she needs to know. Emma repeats and believes what she is told. Declan, her husband, is so kind, so loving. She just wants to please him.

“You are my husband, Declan Burke. I am your wife, Emma. We were married in a small ceremony with only our closest friends atop our mountain.”
“Yes, Emma, that’s right. You were absolutely beautiful.”

Emma is attracted to her husband, but Declan is strangely reluctant to touch her. He rejects her advances. Emma feels safe in his embrace.

His arms wrap around tight and hold me as if I would run away and he could not bear it. But I will not. Not ever. I want to be with him always.

Emma undergoes tests after tests. She doesn't feel like a patient so much as a lab rat. She absolutely hates these tests. Emma has nightmares, she has flashbacks, in which she is someone else. After these nightmares, doctors try to question her about them. Emma always lies; there's a voice inside her head that tells her not to trust these people. This voice is called "her," "she." Emma and her mind are at war.

I told you to lie, She says coolly. You don’t understand yet, but you will.
I only understand that I am at war with myself, and I do not know why. One way or another, I will win.

Her days are a litany of tests, medication; for some reason, the doctors feel that Emma needs to be restrained.

When I look down, I find I am bound to the table by Velcro straps. Instinctively, I jerk and the bindings burn and pinch my wrists.
“What are you doing?” I ask, panicked.
“I’ll remove them when I think you’re no longer a danger to yourself.”

Nobody will tell her what happened. What is this accident? Why did Emma lose her memories?

Very soon, we realize that something's rotten. Something's not right. This is not our world, as we know it. There is strange technology.

Those take you out of the building, She tells me. Probably to other floors, too. They’re teleportation units. Teleport. Teleporting. Teleportation. You know, teleporters.
They split you into a million different pieces and send your bits to your destination. You tell it where you want to port and it sends you there. Get it? Tell—a—port.

Stranger still than the existence of teleporters is the slow buildup of knowledge that something is deeply wrong with this world.

I recognize the acronym from one of my earlier dreams with Toni. “WTC?”
“Women’s Training Center. Where all our young women are prepared for marriage.”

There are so many questions here. There are no easy answers. Who is Emma? What is her husband hiding from her? Who is the mysterious people who appears in her dreams? Why is she in danger?

“You know what I am talking about. Why do you insist on keeping my past a secret from me? If you are trying to protect me, stop. I do not need your protection. I need the truth before this gets any worse."

The Setting: This is a rather unconvincing dystopian setting. There is absolutely no info-dumping at all, but it doesn't feel entirely convincing. It started off feeling like a contemporary, but we're slowly given the buildup that this world is not what it should be. Slowly, we uncover the details. It's intriguing, it is. Here we are, presumably in the future. We have teleportation technology, we have huge-ass television screens...and we have an issue with female infertility?

“The women who are fertile these days,” he continues while he stands and moves to one of his bookcases, “are only fertile into their late twenties, early thirties at most. It isn’t disease or genetics, just the unfortunate way things have progressed.”

This world is extremely vague, and I don't quite understand it. The background is pure telling, not showing. We're expected to believe that this happened, that that happened, without much of an explanation. Part of the frustration comes from the narrator, because of her amnesia, and her innocence and placidity and acceptance of everything as fact.

The world itself is very two-dimensional. We have vague laws tossed out without much of a backdrop.

He slaps his hands to his knees and stands. “I’m afraid you don’t have a choice. Birth control is illegal. Abortion is illegal, with a very severe punishment. Emma, pregnancy is not a choice. I’m sorry.”

We have inconsistencies in technology and medical advancements. Her finger is healed with lasers...

A couple of nurses arrive, take our vitals, and clean up our scrapes and cuts. One uses some kind of laser to heal my knuckle.

While there's still trouble with using blood thinners to fix a hemorrage. We have teleportation technologies, but we're still using phones and tablets and 21st century technology. I mean, these days we're starting to have Google Glass, and etc., don't you think in a future where we can teleport around, telephones would be obsolete?

The Characters: I had a lot of sympathy for Emma in the beginning, because she is so innocent, so trusting, so naive. My sympathy for her had severely diminished before the first half of the book is through. Emma makes everything feel underwhelming. She just doesn't feel like a real person with human emotions, to me. Emma ended the novel like she started, a pretty doll, slightly beaten up.

The Plot: I have a problem with the flashbacks. We are pelted in every single chapter with memories, flashbacks. I get that these are important, but it felt like I was reading two separate books at the same time, without knowing what exactly was going on in either. There was no infodumping regarding the world, but there was a massive amount of infodumping regarding the characters in the flashbacks and dreams.

The story itself became intriguing, to uh-oh, we're not in Kansas anymore, and then quickly turned into a clusterfuck of tremendous proportions. The book completely lost me around the 50% mark.

The Romance: Very unbelievable, since from the very beginning, we are set up to hate and distrust one of the love interests. I didn't have a problem with the romance because it was unconvincing, it had no subtlety. It, like the book itself, is completely predictable. A good love triangle works because the emotions are convincing, the characters are likeable, and the reader is caught holding his or her breath to see who will emerge the victor. There was no question as to who would win in this book, it was that obvious.