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. . . .
As I’ve stumbled upon a few books with this same basic premise, I was pretty skeptical. Uncomfortable subject matter doesn’t necessarily turn me off, but I find it hard to root for submissive, meek heroines even if the submissive and meek parts aren’t necessarily her fault. But I’m also a sucker for complicated love triangles, so hey, how could I not try this one on for size?
Without her memory, Emma is gullible and malleable, and the huge influence the powerful men in her life have over her started to wear on my nerves very quickly. I wanted to shake some sense into her and get her to punch someone or set something on fire, but hindsight is 20/20. Declan, for his credit, is not unlikeable (in fact, if it weren’t for that niggling feeling I had that something fishy was going on, I’d probably think he was pretty swoon-worthy), but that just highlights how great Waters is at subtle foreshadowing. It takes a long time for all the pieces to click into place, though — more than halfway through the novel, I’m totally confused and Emma has made very little, if any, progress toward finding out who she is or why she can hear voices in her head. I wanted to start skimming ahead but I resisted the urge. Something (although definitely not a sentient voice) told me that the payoff was coming… and boy, did it ever!
The climactic point of the novel had me on edge the entire time. Seriously, I did not see that coming, not for a million years, but the big reveal answered every single one of my questions (yay, foreshadowing). The dynamics between Emma, Declan, Noah and Foster are so complex and intimate and the novel really benefits from that. At the beginning of the novel, I didn’t feel empathy for any of the characters… by the end, I was fangirling like you wouldn’t even believe. Noah and Emma need to get their acts together… You don’t see a lot of romance between them for obvious reasons, but what you do see is pretty awesome.
There’s a lot going on in this book, and the complex blend of politics, science-fiction, romance, and mystery creates a vivid world that had me begging for more. I’m really glad that there’s going to be a sequel. And that cliffhanger ending… my god, is July here yet? Science fiction tends to go right over my head, but this blended sci-fi and adventure perfectly.
Rating: 4/5 Slow start, but the author masterfully layers the plot to create a stunning and unique conclusion.
I received a digital copy of this novel from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.