White light blinds you as your eyes open. As they adjust, you see strangers surrounding you. They take care of you, keeping you in a white room like a safe cocoon. Though when you sleep, dreams that feel so real haunt you, sharing a past that might have been yours and urging you to remember it—a truth you must unravel. During your first evaluation session, the doctor asks you how you are feeling and what you saw in your nightmares. You open your mouth to answer, but then a voice in your head, much like a conscience, urges you to lie. What would you do? This is Emma’s reality and she has a choice to make—trust a past life she doesn’t remember or give in to the tempting lifestyle she has now.
In Archetype, the novel is in first-person narrative, a story told through our protagonist Emma’s eyes. When readers first meet Emma, she is a weak and naïve character. She herself even realizes it, but I believe she is a reflection of her circumstances. Now, comparing her to the voice in her head, which early on I assumed was the essence of the woman she was before the “accident,” I enjoyed this stronger and quirky personality much more. I couldn’t get enough of her. She had quick wit and hilarious sarcasm that eased some of the tension in the story. The voice, or as Emma calls it “Her”, even protects Emma, guiding and helping her through her journey of difficult situations and getting her closer to seeing the bigger picture. Continue reading
On the island of Tarnagar, dreaming labels you as a dangerous lunatic. They lock you up in the asylum if you are defiant or let your imagination run wild. The community that lives on the rest of the island praises the mysterious, unseen man named Dr. Sigmundus. They believe he saved them from being like the barbaric, violent people who came before them many years ago. The people here lead peaceful lives as long as they do what is expected of them. Someone’s status and occupation is determined by the family they are born into. When children reach their fourteenth birthday, they have their coming-of-age ceremony. It marks the start of their daily intakes of Ichor. It is a drug that suppresses dreams and softens the user into obedience.
In The Hollow People, the first instalment of The Promises of Dr. Sigmundus, it follows the story of Dante, a lowly kitchen boy. Brian Keany, the author, reveals that he was influenced by Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy.” The similarity from the epic poem to the novel is the characters Dante and Beatrice, Dante’s ideal woman. In the novel, on one faithful day, Dante meets Beatrice Argenti. She has a secret. She can dream. But her days are numbered as her coming-of-age ceremony slowly approaches. Dante admits that he also has a secret. He has been given Ichor, yet it has no affect on him. He dreams too. Continue reading