Review of Archetype by M.D. Waters

SFFaudio Review

ArchetypeArchetype (Archetype #1)
By M.D. Waters; Read by Khristine Hvam
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publication Date: 2 February 2014
[UNABRIDGED] – 10 hours, 22 minutes

Themes: / dystopia / reproduction / romance / near future / suspense / thriller /

Publisher summary:
Emma wakes in a hospital, with no memory of what came before. Her husband, Declan, a powerful, seductive man, provides her with new memories, but her dreams contradict his stories, showing her a past life she can’t believe possible: memories of war, of a camp where girls are trained to be wives, of love for another man. Something inside her tells her not to speak of this, but she does not know why. She only knows she is at war with herself.

Suppressing those dreams during daylight hours, Emma lets Declan mold her into a happily married woman and begins to fall in love with him. But the day Noah stands before her, the line between her reality and dreams shatters.

In a future where women are a rare commodity, Emma fights for freedom but is held captive by the love of two men – one her husband, the other her worst enemy. If only she could remember which is which….

This audiobook kept me listening until I finished. I couldn’t stop! Comparisons to The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood are unavoidable with this book, but in this world where women are valued and imprisoned in order to bear children, M.D. Waters has also added in an element of romance. This means descriptions of the men Emma is interested in, and sex. I don’t mind romance, but I think if I were a woman being controlled and manipulated by men, I would be less obsessed with marriage and sex. But Emma has very little memory, and at first no reason not to trust her husband. All she wants is to get past her accident and back to normal life.  She can’t fully recover because of her dreams.

I can’t say much more without giving it away, and the best part about the book is how all the details are revealed. Archetype is suspenseful and creepy up until the end, and the end leads nicely into the setup for the next novel (Prototype) while being its own self-contained story.

I enjoy Khristine Hvam as a narrator – I had listened to her performance of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and her voice is well suited to a near-future dystopian romance.

Posted by Jenny Colvin

Review of Podkayne Of Mars by Robert A. Heinlein

SFFaudio Review

[Jesse’s Note: This is a first time review from one of my students. Rose sat down with a tattered old paperback copy of Podkayne Of Mars and a brand new Blackstone Audio CD audiobook of Podkayne Of Mars for a readalong – the result was this terrific review – Thanks Rose!]

Fantasy Audiobook - Podkayne of Mars by Robert A. HeinleinSFFaudio EssentialPodkayne of Mars
By Robert A. Heinlein; Read by Emily Janice Card
5 CDs – Approx. 6 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 1433251612
Themes: / Science Fiction / Adventure / Reproduction / Politics / Family / Gambling / Venus / Mars /

From the author of Friday and Rocketship Galileo comes this classic tale featuring the grand master of science fiction’s most remarkable heroine. Podkayne Fries, a smart and determined maid of Mars, has just one goal in life: to become the first female starship pilot and rise through the ranks to command deep-space explorations. So when she is offered a chance to join her diplomatic uncle on an interstellar journey to distant Earth via Venus, it’s a dream come true—even if her only experience with diplomacy is handling her brilliant but pesky younger brother, Clark. But she’s about to learn some things about war and peace because Uncle Tom, the ambassador plenipotentiary from Mars to the Three Planets Conference, is traveling not quite incognito enough, and certain parties will stop at nothing to sabotage negotiations between the three worlds….

This is the first Robert A. Heinlein audiobook, or Heinlein book, and my first audiobook that I have ever read. I also hadn’t read any Science Fiction before. This was mostly because I thought Science Fiction was just fiction that was “beyond reality,” so I wasn’t really interested in it. However, after reading and listening to Podkayne Of Mars, I found myself considering reading another. Heinlein’s idea, that to freeze babies and decant them whenever the parents want, is fascinating. Since many women are busy with their work and have no time to take care of their babies, I think this practice and technology may come true in the future. One issue for me was I didn’t really like Clark at first. He acts brusquely, seemed selfish and didn’t seem to care about his family. I was, therefore, impressed by Clark when he decided to become more responsible and caring.

Emily Janice Card, daughter of Orson Scott Card, narrated Podkayne Of Mars. Card narrates the whole 176 page story all as Poddy, except seven pages from the end when Clark, her younger brother, takes over. I think Card’s voicing of Poddy was in-sync with a sentimental, skeptical, and ambitious young teen. It made me feel as if Poddy was reading her own story. However, Card’s voicing of Clark wasn’t as harmonious. Probably, this was because she is female. Compared to 1979 paperback edition, Poddy on this cover doesn’t really look like Poddy. Poddy looks quite cynical. I much prefer the 1979 edition because there Poddy looks more of a sentimentalist.

Posted by Rose [장미]